A massive earthquake could be brewing beneath Bangladesh.
According to a study published in the prestigious journal Nature, we could be sitting on top of an active megathrust fault. If it ruptures, Bangladesh could experience an earthquake of magnitude 8.2 to 9.0.
The effects of this would be utterly devastating. For comparison, it is worth noting that the 9.0 earthquake in Japan in 2011 was caused by the same kind of geologic feature.
There is bad news -- most buildings in the capital are poorly built are not at all earthquake resilient.
More alarming is that there is no way to tell for sure when exactly the earthquake will hit.
Given the urgency of the situation, it is imperative that the government start preparing for disaster right now. Regrettably, the Fire Service and Civil Defense, our top rescue agency, has been suffering from a crisis of funding to train volunteers.
The government has initially pledged a fund balance of Tk160 crore through its comprehensive disaster management program, but funds have stopped. The training of volunteers for rescue efforts has had to be downsized.
There can be no room to cut corners when it comes to earthquake safety. We need to be prepared on all fronts -- relief needs to reach people trapped under debris in case of a catastrophic event.
Furthermore, the government must enforce more stringent codes for buildings and new constructions. Builders, property developers, and the government, all need to work together in this regard.
This is not the time for petty personal interests. If a major earthquake hits, every single person will be affected. We need to brace ourselves accordingly.