Disaster Management Officer
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Society
Bangladesh has recently been subjected to a couple of earthquakes where several hundreds of people were injured. This goes to show the lack of preparation we have in cases of natural disasters.
Earthquake is not imminent but inevitable as sections of the earth’s crust press against one another. Hence, there’s no way to predict when a country will be struck by an earthquake.
Since Bangladesh is located along the Indian and Eurasian plates, it’s very much susceptible to earthquakes. Moreover, Dhaka is developing through primitive measures, which gives rise to the growth of unregulated building construction abounds, heavy industries, power plants and residential areas. In addition to this, flood, cyclone and climate change also serve as a catalyst to make Dhaka one of the most vulnerable cities in Bangladesh. According to Earthquake Disaster Risk Index of Stanford University, Dhaka is one of the 20 most vulnerable cities to earthquakes around the world.
In addition to this, several studies have shown that urban amenities such as electricity, gas, power supply, water and drainage system in Dhaka is not capable of bearing the brunt of earthquakes. The lack of quality in these necessities could lead to major damages after earthquakes. Apart from the geographical setting, the other pressing issues are poor building infrastructure, over population along with little or no capacity to manage a standard of living. In order to control the situation, Department of Disaster Management (DDM) is working closely with different stakeholders to reduce the vulnerability to earthquake. DDM and Bangladesh fire service and civil defence has taken initiative to create 62,000 trained urban volunteers to manage any earthquake mishap and already brought a number of tarpaulins for emergency shelter management. DDM is also working to develop different guideline for urban settings, especially the debris management immediately after an earthquake. In addition to this, UN agencies, Red Crescent, INGOs and NGOs are also closely working for earthquake management in different urban settings of Bangladesh.
However, the question still arises as to whether or not these measures are enough to manage the risks from earthquakes. During such trying times, it’s essential for individuals to be well aware of earthquakes and prepare their families. When facing an earthquake we should prepare in a way where no one is left behind. Being united during this situation, unity could help reduce the sense of fear and panic. Working our way towards earthquake management could help build a safer environment for the long run.