Tuesday, June 18, 2024


Dhaka Tribune

Time to take earthquake threats seriously

Update : 05 Jan 2016, 06:36 PM

Monday morning’s earthquake was a wake-up call for authorities to make sure all buildings in the country are made earthquake-proof.

Even though the epicentre of the 6.7 magnitude earthquake was 351km from Dhaka across the border in Manipur, its effects killed three people in the capital and injured at least 32 others across the country.

The threat posed by the risk of even more severe and intense earthquakes striking the country has to be taken more seriously.

For Bangladesh, the hazard level is increasing not due to unexpected changes in seismic activity, but because of our growing population living in dense urban areas and the poor standard of enforcement of building codes.

The Relief and Disaster Management Ministry has identified 72,000 buildings in Dhaka alone that are at risk from earthquakes, adding further evidence to reports naming Dhaka among the 20 cities in the world most susceptible to earthquakes.

It is high time we did more to make the country more resilient to earthquakes.

Improving public awareness of safety precautions and developing emergency response capabilities is a must to enhance the country’s ability to withstand and recover from any natural catastrophes.

As the government has acknowledged, much more also needs to be done to ensure builders and property developers work to continually improve building standards. It should apply the extensive expertise and knowledge available from countries such as Japan to improve its own earthquake response strategy and building construction practices.

Earthquakes pose a huge threat to human life in the country. We cannot afford to not take precautions to become more earthquake-ready. Awareness needs to be raised among the public, and rescue services have to be made better prepared.

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