Preparedness to reduce damage in earthquake
Thursday, 10 July 2008

Recurring mild to moderate tremor has been a common phenomenon in Bangladesh. The most recent earthquake shook the northern districts at about 11PM on Saturday, measuring about 5.1 on the Richter scale and lasting several seconds. The epicentre of the earthquake was located about 290 kms north-northwest of Dhaka . The impact of the quake was felt in Chapai Nawabganj ,Rajshahi, Natore and Pabna. districts . Many people ran out of their homes in panic , including and around 300 students of Rajshahi University and local colleges staying at a six-storied private hostel at the centre of Rajshahi city . Around 30 old buildings of the north-western part of the city developed cracks. This calls for undertaking preventive measures to minimize damage to buildings and grievous injury , and death of the people. The government needs to formulate effective plan and programmes for disaster preparedness in the event of cyclones , earthquakes and floods. While , till today ,more stress has been laid on tackling cyclones and floods, the preparedness for earthquakes has been minimal. Bangladesh is very near to the severe earthquake zones in the region .Furthermore global warming and the ensuing climatic changes can make our country more vulnerable to earthquakes in the future.  To make a start in formulating effective plans for earthquake preparedness and damage control, building design ,particularly that of high-rise buildings must be earthquake—proof . The Building Code now existent must be revised to ensure adequate protective measures for the builders of faulty buildings that can be severely damaged by earthquakes, causing grievous injury to the occupants as well as the passers-by in case of building collapse.  Also highways and bridges must be adequately reinforced. Warnings of earthquakes need sophisticated equipment which have to be procured and installed in meteorological stations , more of which have to be built to cover the entire country. To ensure adequate damage control we need to learn from the experience of countries prone to regular earthquake occurrences such as Japan and Indonesia

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