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Sunday, January 24, 2010
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Dhaka city at risk of massive destruction

A 6-magnitude earthquake can demolish 78,323 buildings: Study

Some 78,323 buildings will be destroyed completely if a 6-magnitude earthquake shakes Dhaka originating from its beneath, causing havoc throughout the densely populated capital city, says a government study.

In case of a 7.5-magnitude earthquake originating from Madhupur Fault, the study says, some 72,316 buildings in the city will be damaged totally while 53,166 partially.

It says if an 8.5-magnitude of tremor from the plate boundary of Fault-2 hits the region, some 238,164 buildings will be destroyed completely across the country.

Comprehensive Disaster Management Programme (CDMP) under the food and disaster management ministry conducted the study from February 2008 to August 2009.

There will be an economic loss of about US $ 1,112 million for only structural damage in case of a 7.5-magnitude earthquake from the Madhupur Fault, it estimates.

“Economic loss due to damage of structures will be US $ 650 million and US $ 1,075 million respectively in case of an 8-magnitude earthquake from the plate boundary-2 and in case of a 6-magnitude earthquake from under Dhaka city,” the study says.

Some 30 million tonnes of debris, equal to 2,880,000 truckloads (25 tonnes for per truck), will be generated if a 6-magnitude earthquake jolts the city from beneath of it.

A 7.5-magnitude earthquake from the Madhupur Fault will generate a total of 30 million tonnes of debris, killing some 131,029 people instantly and injuring 32,948 others.

According to the study, at least 10 major hospitals, 90 schools in the capital will be destroyed completely and another 241 hospitals and clinics, 30 police stations and four fire stations partially in case of a 7.5 magnitude quake.

Dr Maksudur Rahman, an urban environmental management and planning researcher, told UNB reporter Rafiqul Islam that Bangladesh is situated at a high risk zone for earthquake and an unprecedented human disaster may occur in the city anytime for even a moderate to heavy tremor.

Referring to three major earthquakes of the region, he said a powerful earthquake needs at least 100-150 years to be originated for a particular region and in that sense it is overdue for Bangladesh and parts of Assam, as 112 years have passed by since a heavy tremor from Dawki Fault hit the region. “So, Bangladesh is highly vulnerable to a powerful earthquake.”

He also stressed the need for demolishing old and risky buildings of the city as a first step towards minimising casualties in such natural disasters. “If we can maintain the Bangladesh National Building Code (BNBC) in constructing new structures, we can minimise causalities and damages to some extent,” Dr Rahman said.

Dr. ASM Maksud Kamal, an earthquake and tsunami expert of the CDMP, said, “As a number of moderate to heavy earthquakes are overdue for some parts of the country, including the capital, it is important to get ready for the possible disasters by raising safety awareness of people.”

Kamal, also a teacher of Geography and Environmental Science of Dhaka University, feared that if a quake of lower magnitude lasts for a minute it may destroy 80-90 percent of the urban concrete structures.

“Gas leakage management, power supply control, firefighting, alternative power generation, wireless communication system, heavy equipments for removing debris and emergency clinical facilities are the top priority areas for attention,” he said.

It is Professor Roger Bilham of Colorado State University in the USA who first came up with his recent research findings that major earthquakes might take place in the sub-Himalayan region, including Bangladesh.

Another study of Michigan University has pinpointed that Dhaka is one of the earthquake vulnerable city out of top cities because of its unplanned urbanisation.

A strong earthquake of 8.6-magnitude occurred in Assam on August 15 in 1950, killing 1,526 people. Another 8.1-magnitude quake hit Assam on June 12 in1897, killing 1,500 people. The casualties were less because of low density of population and fewer numbers of concrete structures at that time.

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media should take more initiatives to grow the awareness among the bangladeshi people specially for dhaka.

: salauddin mia

This is just mind-boggling -- report after report is saying that Dhaka is vulnerable to an imminent earthquake and the consequences of it will be catastrophic, and yet, no one seems to care! No one seems to be doing anything about it.



  • azizul
    Sunday, January 24, 2010 05:31 AM GMT+06:00 (315 weeks ago)

    1.there is a chance that , our population could be controlled in that way better than family planning department. Disaster management course might be included in medical curriculum

    2 per capitta increase also may happen because of foreign aid influx

    3 nation might get a rehearsal and training for disaster management via practical experience unlike other nations

    4 Rationality of Copenhagen will come again to limelight again . Rich nation will get a chance to fulfill their Christianity ego of benevolence.Not all bad news.

  • MAS Molla
    Sunday, January 24, 2010 12:27 AM GMT+06:00 (315 weeks ago)

    So the people addicted to living in Dhaka must think thrice before plundering money, deceiving relatives, and the nation as a whole only to fulfill the 'lust' and pomp of having a house in Dhaka!

  • SNH
    Sunday, January 24, 2010 12:33 AM GMT+06:00 (315 weeks ago)

    We may have nothing to do in such a harsh circumstance but watching silently.

  • mohammad
    Sunday, January 24, 2010 02:12 AM GMT+06:00 (315 weeks ago)

    Government & Rajuk should be solely held responsible for this havoc by permitting buildings to be constructed by not following fire & safety standards.

  • Mian Akbar Hussein
    Sunday, January 24, 2010 03:43 AM GMT+06:00 (315 weeks ago)

    Scientists had predicted that it is inevitable Bangladesh is likely to hit by earthquake and other natural disasters; Dhaka, Tangail/ Mymensingh, Chittagong and Khulna are most high risk areas. What has happened in Haiti, could happened in Dhaka or other areas at risks.

    To reduce cost of infrastructures damages and human lives, it would be better if the government take some long-term preparedness measures, such as :

    - stop building new structures in and around Dhaka city.

    - Thinning out population density

    - Moved business,manufacturing industries to other cities( keep minimum trading in Dhaka. Only emergency and govt. offices here.

    -Develop good communication network with other cities, so that all businesses could done easily.

    - Make available power supply and other utilities.

    - Fully decentralize administration

    - Moved out educational institutions/banks etc.

    -Build a second parliament building in a neutral zone.

    This could save time and money in the event of any earthquake in Dhaka.

  • Zafar Sadeq
    Sunday, January 24, 2010 04:23 AM GMT+06:00 (315 weeks ago)

    Education and awareness is essential specially for the owners of the buildings and apartments. Occupent of a property should know how safe his/her dwelling is.

    Parliament need to approve the building code related to the siesmic loading (if it is not done yet) and the government should imlpement it. Our Code can be checked with that of India ( IS 1893-2002) as all states bordering Bangladesh except West Bangel is in the severe earthquake zone.

  • baz
    Sunday, January 24, 2010 01:20 PM GMT+06:00 (315 weeks ago)

    Less houses and people more oxygen for the survivers.





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