Guwahati and Srinagar fall in what is called "very severe intensity zone", or zone V, the highest-risk earthquake zone.

Eight cities, including Delhi, fall in the "severe intensity zone" or zone IV, according to a seismic zoning map issued by the Bureau of Indian Standards and quoted in a National Disaster Management (NDM) report.

The other 30 cities fall in the "moderate intensity zone", or zone III. "India has highly populous cities, including the national capital of New Delhi, located in zones of high seismic risk," said the report.

"Typically, the majority of the constructions in these cities are not earthquake resistant. Thus any earthquake striking in one of these cities would turn into a major disaster," it added.

Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh appear to be the most vulnerable states, with six cities each in earthquake-prone zones. Both the states have one city each under zone IV and five cities marked under zone III.  Maharashtra is next with four cities in zone III.

The Bureau of Indian Standards (IS-1893 – part – 1: 2002), based on scientific inputs from a number of agencies, including earthquake data supplied by Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), has grouped India into four seismic zones, II, III, IV and V.

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