Wednesday, 29 March, 2023

Turkey’s quake a warning for us

Turkey’s quake a warning for us

One of the most powerful ever-recorded earthquakes in Turkey’s history is shocking as well as pathetic for the world. The 7.8-magnitude quake, followed by dozens of aftershocks including a 7.5-magnitude one, wiped out entire sections of major Turkish cities and Syria. The death toll that has so far gone up to 4,300 could rise eight-fold, the World Health Organisation has warned. We mourn the death of the victims and pray for the quick recovery of the injured.      

The major earthquake classified by its magnitude broke along about 100km (62 miles) of the fault line, causing serious damage to buildings near the fault. Thousands of buildings across both countries have collapsed and many buildings that were as large as 12 storeys high are now flattened, roads have been destroyed and there are huge mountains of rubble as far as the eye can see. A similar or worse scenario would be seen if an earthquake hit our country because, like Turkey, Bangladesh is also at high quake risk since five geological fault lines run through the country.

If a massive earthquake of 7 or greater magnitude hit our country, it would lead to a major human tragedy because of the faulty structures of many buildings across the country, including the capital Dhaka, and the lack of people's awareness of what to do during and after an earthquake. It is estimated that more than 72,000 buildings in the capital are vulnerable to any earthquakes of 7.0 or greater magnitude on the Richter scale, but no initiative has been taken either to demolish the shabby buildings or retrofit the weaker ones. Moreover, no visible action to make people aware has been taken, though the Rana Plaza collapse pointed out our inability to manage such catastrophes.

We have no scope to take the probability of a massive earthquake lightly as it is learned from history that in every century a massive earthquake struck in this region, and the last one was in 1897 which means another massive quake is now overdue.

So, authorities should take necessary steps to close down its loopholes without dilly-dallying to keep the loss as minimum as possible. Besides, awareness campaigns should be conducted regularly in educational institutions and factories to increase people's quick response capability during such a situation. There is no scope for going slow in this regard.