Earthquakes are some of the most unpredictable of natural disasters that any country can face.
And Bangladesh is no different.
The recent earthquake in Mexico, which cost the lives of almost 400 people and injured 6,000 more, is a stark reminder of how devastating such an event can truly be for a nation.
Scientists have concluded that Bangladesh is currently on the verge of experiencing an earthquake like it hasn’t before, one that could potentially cause 50,000, hundreds of thousands of injuries, and billions in damages.
As a result, it has become imperative that the government take precautions in this regard.
A huge problem that remains is that, when it comes construction, we have yet to shift the focus to building structures which will hold up in case of an earthquake. Construction technology still relies heavily on techniques which make the buildings, and subsequently the people residing in them, vulnerable to such a disaster.
Additionally, we must also take the initiative to retrofit existing buildings so that damages are minimised and people remain safe.
And while it is commendable that the government has taken the initiative to train “urban volunteers” to help with rescue operations and provide aid, this is nowhere near enough.
The main obstacle in this regard remains the fact that we lack the road access required for responders to reach disaster sites in time.
Creating awareness about earthquake preparation would go a long way. So far, many still remain in the dark with regards to how to respond when disaster strikes, and how vulnerable the structures are in which they reside.
A major earthquake could potentially destroy over a quarter of the structures in the capital, to say nothing of the uncountable human loss.
Let us make sure we are prepared to handle such an event.
Dhaka Tribune, October 14, 2017