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'Asteroid hit can cause catastrophic loss of life in India'

Last updated: 30 June, 2011
London, Jun 30, (PTI): 19:32 IST

If an asteroid hits India, the country will face a catastrophic loss of life and it would be almost impossible for it to recover from the crippling blow, British scientists have warned.

India is among the ten countries "most at risk" in the event of an asteroid strike in a list compiled for the first time by researchers.

Apart from India, the other nine countries are China, Indonesia, Japan, the US, the Philippines, Italy, Britain, Brazil and Nigeria.

The researchers from the University of Southampton have identified the countries which will suffer catastrophic loss of life or be so crippled it will be almost impossible for them to recover, the Daily Mail reported.

The list has been compiled by the researchers using software called NEOimpactor, short for NASA's 'NEO' or Near Earth Object programme.

The threat of Earth being hit by an asteroid is increasingly being accepted as the single greatest natural disaster hazard faced by humanity, said Nick Bailey who developed the NEOimpactor software.

Developed countries make up the majority of those on the list, but India and China are there too because of the sheer number of people who would die.
Looking at population loss, the US, China, Indonesia, India and Japan are most in danger.

Those countries which face massive devastation to their infrastructure are Canada, the US, China, Japan and Sweden.

The threat of asteroids was illustrated on Monday when a rock as large as a small house soared within 7,500 miles of Earth.

Red-faced astronomers only discovered it a few days before and until then they thought it was a piece of space junk.

"Our results highlight those countries that face the greatest risk from this most global of natural hazards and thus indicate which nations need to be involved in mitigating the threat," Bailey was quoted as saying.

According to DailyGalaxy.com it will take an asteroid bigger than 19 kms in diameter to destroy all plant and animal life.

Such an asteroid is thought to have been responsible for the extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago -- a rock up to 16 kms in diameter hit Earth at 25,000 an hour with a force of 100 megatons, the equivalent of one Hiroshima bomb for everyone on the planet.


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