Bangladesh being situated in a seismically active region is vulnerable to earthquakes. With the threat of seismic activity remaining omnipresent, it has become crucial for the country to stay prepared for any potential earthquake. The devastating impact of the latest earthquake in countries like Turkey and Syria, including their difficulties in the rescue operations and high number of casualties, underscores the need for effective measures to minimise the impact of earthquakes in Bangladesh, as well as rises an obvious question as to what is the current state of Bangladesh’s earthquake preparedness and what measures have been put in place to minimise the impact?
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Unfortunately, it is a well-known fact that Bangladesh has not been fully prepared for massive earthquakes in the past, and has struggled to cope with the aftermath of seismic events. Despite being located in a seismically active region, the country has yet to fully implement adequate measures to mitigate the risk and impact of earthquakes. This year saw a devastating earthquake in Turkey and Syria, which have highlighted the necessity of adequate preparedness and response. The loss of life and property has also underscored the importance of being fully prepared for such disasters. Given this, it is imperative to assess the current state of Bangladesh’s earthquake preparedness and to examine the measures that have been put in place to minimise the impact of earthquakes. While the country has made some progress in this area, there is still much work to be done to ensure that the people of the country are protected from the dangers of earthquakes.
Is Bangladesh at High Risk?
As a South Asian country, Bangladesh is facing a major challenge as it is one of the most earthquake-prone countries in the world. The country’s geographic location puts it at high risk for earthquakes, as it lies on the boundary of the Indian and Eurasian tectonic plates. The movement of these plates creates significant seismic activity, putting Bangladesh in danger of devastating earthquakes.
According to a study by the Bangladesh Meteorological Department (BMD), the country has experienced more than 20 significant earthquakes in the last 10 years, with magnitudes ranging from 4.5 to 7.5 on the Richter scale. These earthquakes have caused widespread damage and loss of life, and have highlighted the need for preparedness and increased earthquake awareness. The most recent earthquake to strike Bangladesh was in 2017, with a magnitude of 5.6, which resulted in more than a dozen injuries and caused significant damage to buildings and infrastructure.
Experts in seismology state that small earthquakes, known as aftershocks, are often indicators of the possibility of a larger earthquake in the future. It is commonly believed that another major earthquake can occur within a hundred years of a large seismic event. Based on this understanding, there is a possibility of a significant earthquake occurring in Bangladesh in the near future. It is important for the country to be prepared for such an event and take necessary measures to minimize its impact.
- UNDP says Bangladesh is ranked as the 11th most vulnerable country in the world to the impacts of natural disasters, including earthquakes.
- The Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies (BCAS) estimated that a magnitude 7.5 earthquake in the country could result in the loss of up to 100,000 lives, and cause damage to over 200,000 buildings.
- The Bangladesh Fire Service and Civil Defence reported that over 90% of the country’s schools lack earthquake-resistant features, putting students at risk in the event of an earthquake.
- A survey by the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS) found that less than 40% of Bangladesh’s population is aware of what to do in the event of an earthquake, and less than 30% are aware of the importance of earthquake-resistant buildings.
Lack of preparedness a real concern!
Despite its high risk for earthquakes, Bangladesh remains inadequately prepared for a major seismic event. The country’s dense population, poor infrastructure, and lack of earthquake-resistant buildings make it particularly vulnerable to the devastating effects of earthquakes. A recent study by the BMD found that over 60% of the country’s buildings are not earthquake-resistant and would likely collapse in the event of a significant seismic event.
Despite these concerns, the government of Bangladesh has taken steps to mitigate the risks posed by earthquakes. The government has implemented building codes and has undertaken retrofitting projects to improve the earthquake resistance of existing buildings. In addition, the government has launched public awareness campaigns to educate the population on earthquake preparedness and response.
To sign off, it can noted that although Bangladesh is vulnerable to earthquakes, the government’s initiatives show promise in reducing the impact of future seismic events. It is essential that these efforts are continued and expanded, and that the public is properly educated on how to prepare for and respond to earthquakes. The safety of Bangladesh’s citizens must be a priority, and steps must be taken to ensure that the country is prepared for the inevitable seismic event.