Major quake to bring catastrophe in DhakaBangladesh Sangbad Sangstha . Dhaka
Dhaka will face a catastrophic situation in the event of a major earthquake ranging 7 to 7.9 magnitude hits the city damaging most of its buildings and utility services.
Talking to the news agency, professor Mehedi Ahmed Ansary of the Department of Civil Engineering at the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology said a major earthquake within 300 to 500 kilometres of Dhaka city would damage almost 50 percent buildings claiming huge number of lives and destroying vast property.
Analysing the quake history of Bangladesh, he said a major earthquake may hit the country any time as no strong earthquake occurred in this region since 1950.
The country was shaken by seven major earthquakes — Cachar earthquake of 7.5 magnitude in 1869, Bengal earthquake of 7 magnitude in 1885, great Indian earthquake of 8.7 magnitude, Srimangal earthquake of 7.6 in 1918 , Dhubri earthquake of 7.1 in 1930, Bihar-Nepal earthquake of 8.3 magnitude in 1934 and Assam earthquake of 8.5 magnitude in 1950.
Professor Mehedi said most buildings in Dhaka city were not built by maintaining the proper building code and engineering method which are major concerns for disaster in the event of a major earthquake.
Soil test is a must for constructing any building, he said adding that both low and high rise buildings should be built by testing the soil quality to make those resistant against earthquake.
He suggested that the vulnerable buildings should be strengthened by adopting accurate engineering method to avoid the risk.
In a presentation some months back on the earthquake risk in Bangladesh and measures for reducing vulnerability, professor Jamilur Reza Choudhury said nearly 72,000 buildings in Dhaka city would be damaged, if an earthquake of 7.5 magnitude hits the Madhupur fault. The casualties will stand at 88,000, if the quake hits at 2:00am, he added.
Considerable seismic hazard exists for Dhaka city as there is lack of enforcement in the maintenance of building code and preparedness said professor Jamilur adding that Dhaka is among the most vulnerable mega cities in the world.
Meteorologist Md Mominul Islam of Bangladesh Meteorological Department said the country witnessed shaking of seven earthquakes till Wednesday this year while 29 in 2011, 18 in 2010, 22 in 2009 and 26 in 2008.
Mentioning different major quakes that hit the country in the past, he said Bangladesh might experience a major jolt any time as it lies in the quake prone zone.
A recent quake that hit Sikkim and Bhutan has deepened the fear of earthquake as epicentre of the tremor was very close to Bangladesh, he added. National project director of Comprehensive Disaster Management Programme Mohammad Abdul Qayyum said ‘Under the CDMP, we are taking various steps to cut earthquake risk in three major cities of the country — Dhaka, Chittagong and Sylhet.’
He said equipment of Tk 70 crore had already been handed over to the Armed Forces Division and Fire Service and Civil Defence to conduct rescue operation during the quake and equipment of Tk 100 crore was in the pipeline for handing over to the departments concerned.
The government has a plan to train 62,000 volunteers for carrying out rescue operation during the earthquake in Dhaka, Chittagong and Sylhet, Abdul Qayyum said adding nearly 10,000 people had already been given training and the rest would be trained in phases.
Under the CDMP, the ministry of health and family welfare is strengthening its capacity to set up temporary medical centres in Dhaka city for the earthquake victims, he added.
‘We have recommend to the ministry of housing and public works to enforce building code strictly for constructing quake resistant buildings in Dhaka cities and areas of the country for minimizing loses of lives and property,’ Qayyum added.
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