Vol. 4 Num 76 Mon. August 11, 2003  
Front Page

3 tremors jolt Borkol
Study fears strong quakes in Ctg region

Three aftershocks rattled Arabunia in Rangamati district yesterday, stirring panic in a region reeling under frequent jolts since a moderate tremor on July 27.

Arabunia is closer to Kolabunia in Borkol upazila which according to the find of a study disclosed yesterday sits on an epicentre.

Kolabunia took the strongest shakes by the July tremor.

The first aftershock hit at 4:10am followed by the second at 2:12pm and a third at 4:43pm amid driving rain, high winds and lightening which have been battering the region since Friday, locals said.

The hilly terrain of Borkol upazila is witnessing fatal landslides in the wake of the moderate quake that locals say loosened hilltop stones and giant piles of mud.

Some 50 families fled their homes from the south part of Arabunia village for fear of mudslides, villager and political activist Mohammed Ali said.

Some 20 tribal families have shifted their homes to Longdu upazila, a neighbouring upazila, said villagers Aoshuk Kumar and Phool Mohan Chakma.

About 400 tribal and non-tribal families live in Arabunia, locals said.

Deputy Commissioner of Rangamati Dr Zafar Ahmed Khan said two quakes hit the region on Thursday.

Meanwhile, a five-member unofficial taskforce has come up with a 20-point recommendations and a 10-point technical observation after a daylong survey in Borkol upazila on August 8.

They said the epicentre of the tremor lurked 11 km below the ground in Kolabunia and all 10 upazilas of Rangamati district ran the risk of strong tremors.

"It is not a new topic, the Chittagong Hill Tracts was marked vulnerable to quakes during the British rule," said Dr Jahangir Alam, chief of the taskforce, at the deputy commissioner's office yesterday.

The Bangladesh Institute of Technology (BIT) in Chittagong of which Jahangir is the chief conducted the post-quake study.

He held violation of the building code responsible for the damages caused by the July 27 quake that killed two people, injured another 25 and flattened 500 houses in the Chittagong region.

He suggested construction of houses in the quake-prone region with light materials, relocation of the homeless and immediate medical support for the victims to prevent the spread of diseases.

The briefing was attended by the deputy commissioner, Director of the local Geological Survey Mir Fazlul Karim, Municipality Chairman Habibur Rahman and members of the taskforce Dr M Shamsul Alam, Dr Ehsan Ahmed, Reaz Akter Mollik and Quazi Zulfiker Ali.

The findings of the taskforce will be submitted to the government soon, Jahangir said.