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11 August, 2018 00:00 00 AM
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Is the country prepared for earthquakes?

Is the country prepared for earthquakes?

So far a number of earthquakes have left nearly 350 persons dead in Lombok, Indonesia. Indonesia is an earthquake prone country and despite their sound knowledge about earthquakes the casualty figure is so high. One shudders to think what will the repercussions of an earthquake of similar magnitude in Dhaka or other densely populated cities of this country.

Are Bangladeshis prepared for such a disaster, particularly given that several heavily inhabited areas lie along earthquake fault lines? The chaotic manner in which thousands of people tumble out of their homes and offices whenever there is an earthquake provides a clue. Nowhere have we observed any building evacuation plans in evidence. The various strategies supposedly prepared by disaster management authorities have hardly been disseminated among the public, and it is quite clear that many of our urban areas would present an apocalyptic picture if struck by an earthquake.

It is obviously better to be prepared now in order to minimise damage rather than grapple with the consequences of being unprepared when disaster does strike.

The threat of an earthquake is very real as Dhaka ranks among 20 most vulnerable cities to earthquake. The people in general lack knowledge about earthquakes and have little idea about they have to do during earthquake. Reports show that a significant number of the skyscrapers of the Dhaka City are unplanned and foundations of the majority of buildings are sub-standard. Dhaka in particular and the urban areas in general are spreading at a rapid and unplanned rate. This obviously leads to vulnerability to seismic events because service delivery is not keeping pace with the growth.

It is well nigh impossible to predict earthquakes and these cannot be prevented from occurring. However different measures can be taken to ensure prompt and best possible rescue effort. Building code and rules must be applicable for all construction work done by both public and private organisations. Currently, buildings that are in accordance with the National Building Code are able to withstand earthquakes of the magnitude of seven on the Richter scale. The government should implement awareness development programmes. Earthquake shelters should be built.

Bangladesh is internationally recognised for its proactive programmes aimed at addressing the risk of cyclone and flood. Unfortunately earthquake disaster preparedness is far from satisfactory. If the country is to avert a human tragedy of epic proportions the time to act is now.

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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