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Old April 16, 2013, 09:59 AM
Gladiators Gladiators is offline
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Join Date: February 9, 2013
Posts: 432

Originally Posted by roman
Same here. A magnitude of 5 can be fatal for Dhaka. Don't know if Dhaka has any sophisticated disaster management system in place.
We would be fine with a 5 - High 6's and low 7's would start to cause disaster.

Most urban centres in Bangladesh are ill-prepared for earthquakes due to lack of awareness and unplanned urbanisation, say experts. “Total disregard for the national building code by the builders has left Dhaka extremely susceptible,” said earthquake expert Mehedi Ahmed Ansary, professor of civil engineering at Bangladesh University of Engineering & Technology (Buet).

In a “worst-case scenario”, more than 100,000 people may die and numerous others need hospitalization if a 7.5 magnitude earthquake from the nearby Madhupur Fault were to hit the capital, according to a 2009 study by the Comprehensive Disaster Management Programme (CDMP) under the Ministry of Food and Disaster Management.

Some 400,000 buildings in the country’s three largest cities – Dhaka, Chittagong and Sylhet – are extremely vulnerable to earthquakes and would be damaged “beyond repair” in the event of a major quake, according to the CDMP study.

Bangladesh experiences minor jolts now and again, most recently on March 18, when a moderate quake measuring 4.6 on the Richter scale shook the capital and nearby areas. But most people continue to regard earthquakes as a minor talking point rather than a looming threat. The reason for this complacency is obvious: Bangladesh has not experienced a major earthquake in over 90 years.

“The last major earthquake with its epicentre in Bangladesh was the Srimongal Earthquake of 1918,” says Prof Mehedi Ahmed Ansary. “This tremor occurred on July 18, 1918 with a magnitude of 7.6 and epicentre at Srimangal, Maulvi Bazar. A lot of damage occurred in Srimongal, but in Dhaka only minor effects were reported.”

Experts say Dhaka has gone 130 years without a major quake while Chittagong has crossed 250 years and Sylhet about 100 years. This “seismic gap” raises the prospect of a powerful earthquake striking Bangladesh sooner rather than later.

“Bangladesh has some major fault lines, including the Dauki fault, Madhupur fault and the tectonic plate boundaries,” says Dr ASM Maksud Kamal, national expert on Earthquake and Tsunami Preparedness of the Comprehensive Disaster Management Programme (CDMP). “Our research shows that a lot of energy has built up in these fault lines over the last century or so. Small quakes have occurred, but the epicentres of these releases have not been along the fault lines where the energy has built up. So the fear is that the pent up energy will be released soon, triggering a major earthquake in Bangladesh.”

There are an estimated 849 major hospitals in these three cities, but most would be damaged or non-functional in the event of a major quake, according to the World Health Organization office in Bangladesh, which has since 2010 funded a health team to conduct hospital safety assessments nationwide.

’62,000 volunteers’

The theme for the annual National Disaster Preparedness Day on 29th March was earthquake and ‘addressed the youth leadership and partnership of youth, teachers and mass people for building resilience’ according to CDMP officials.

The government is recruiting 62,000 “urban community volunteers” to be disaster responders, of which “7,000 have already been trained and given tools to conduct search and rescue operations,” Mohammad Abdul Qayyum, CDMP national project director, told Dhaka Courier.

Qayyum added that earthquake preparedness has been included in the school curriculum through regular drills as of 2004, and the government drafted its first earthquake emergency plan in 2009.

According to Qayyum, CDMP is also conducting training programmes for masons and builders in cooperation with the government’s Housing and Building Research Institute.

“There are also plans to retrofit selected buildings such as hospitals to strengthen them against quakes,” he said.

Experts calculate that from the design stage, it costs an additional 4 percent to make a building resilient against disasters, but such costs multiply after the building’s construction.
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