Shocks spark panic
People across Bangladesh got panicked by multiple foreshocks and aftershocks of the powerful earthquake which jolted Nepal and some parts of India and China yesterday.
Morsheda Begum died in Dupchanchia of Bogra when a wall collapsed on her.
At least two women, in Pabna and Tangail, died of heart attacks during the jolts while over 200 people, including students and workers at garment factories, were injured as they tried to get out of buildings hurriedly.
Cracks developed in some factory buildings while some high-rise buildings in the capital had tilted.
The earthquake devastated Nepalese capital Kathmandu and many parts of India. It left at least 1,341 people killed in Nepal, 45 in India, and 13 in China.
Panicked people of the capital and other parts of the country rushed out of buildings and high-rises to the streets below.
“I was walking down Dhanmondi-32 and suddenly saw large waves in Dhanmondi Lake. The water leaped a few feet upwards during the tremor,” claimed columnist and rights activist Syed Abul Maksud over the telephone.
Former school teacher Rokeya Khanam Eti, 60, died of a heart attack in Pabna, reported our Pabna correspondent quoting her husband Sohrab Hossain.
Housewife Parina Begum in Tangail died of a cardiac arrest in Syedpur village in Mirzapur upazila during the earthquake, reports our correspondent there.
Several buildings were reportedly damaged in the capital and elsewhere in the country, including in Bogra, Narayanganj, Natore and Rajshahi.
There were reports of damaged buildings from the capital's Shakhari Bazar, Bangabazar, Jatrabari, Shyam Bazar areas and on Kamal Ataturk Avenue in Banani.
GM Jainal Abedin Bhuiya, chairman of Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha, said building-259/1 constructed without approval in Bangshal was leaning on the under-construction building next door.
“We have evacuated both the buildings and sealed them off,” he said, adding, “We will check whether Ahmed Tower on Kamal Ataturk Avenue had tilted.”
The 25-storey Ahmed Tower was leaning on the adjoining FR Tower on Kamal Ataturk Avenue. During a visit, The Daily Star correspondent saw that there was a gap of around two feet between the two buildings on the ground floor but the tops of the two buildings were touching each other.
Asha Tower in Shyamoli, Ershad Colony in Islambagh and Barisal Plaza near Bangabazar also tilted and cracks had developed in four buildings in Old Dhaka, Tejgaon and Sheorapara of the capital.
The administrative building of Islamic University and the General Hospital in Kushtia and a 10-storey building in Feni also reportedly developed cracks.
Over 200 people, including garment workers and schoolgoers, were injured in different places in the country when they rushed out of buildings.
At least 50 garment workers were injured inside the 10-storey building of Al-Muslim Group at Ulail in Gazipur when the workers were rushing towards the exit, reports our Savar correspondent.
Our correspondents reported that around 15 workers of a garment factory in Ishwardi EPZ, 20 workers in two apparel factories in Fatullah, 40 in Nilphamari, and 40 in Manikganj were injured. About 40 students of Chatmohar Pilot School, Atghoria Pilot School, and Pabna Central Girls School fell sick during the tremor.
Ten schoolchildren at a Kalikabari Primary School in Dhubaura of Mymensingh and 20 people in Rajshahi were reported to have been injured.
Panic left about 50 workers injured in a garment factory in Savar as they were trying to rush out of the building believing it would collapse. The factory is in the same upazila as was Rana Plaza, which collapsed two years ago killing over 1,100 people.
Shumi Akter, a worker of the factory of Al-Muslim Group said, "We thought that the building was collapsing like Rana Plaza, which was only half a kilometre away from our factory … ."
Farhad Hosen Khan, assistant general manager of Al-Muslim Group, said all the workers of the factory dashed for the exit around 12:15pm.
Following rumours that the Al-Muslim factory was collapsing, relatives of the workers rushed to the factory area and started demonstrations.
They also threw brick chunks at the factory and vandalised its windows, said Farhad.
The injured were rushed to the Enam Medical College Hospital and Savar Upazila Health Complex, hospital sources said.
Experts said Bangladeshis felt the ground shaking really hard this time. The country had not experienced such a high magnitude tremor so close to its border (500 kilometres) since 1934, when an earthquake of 8.4 magnitude hit the same area.
The Met office in Dhaka said the epicentre of the earthquake was at a shallow depth in the Barpak region of Nepal, 745km from Agargaon.
The office recorded eight foreshocks and aftershocks from 12:14pm.
“People who live in houses built on soft soil are supposed to feel the shaking more,” said Prof Syed Akhter Humayun of the geology department of Dhaka University. He has been researching on earthquake for years.
The quake was caused due to the slip of the Indian tectonic plate and Eurasian plate in the shallow depth, just 10 kilometre bellow the ground, he said.