Strong quake could kill 1.3 lakh in city | The Daily Star
11:00 PM, September 11, 2009 / LAST MODIFIED: 11:00 PM, September 11, 2009

Strong quake could kill 1.3 lakh in city

Says study

Some 131,029 people will die instantly while another 32,948 will need to be hospitalised if an earthquake of 7.5 magnitude from Madhupur Fault jolts the city, according to a government study.
In case of an earthquake of 8 magnitude from plate boundary Fault-2, the study says, there will be about 69,874 instant deaths while 81,916 others will need to be admitted to the hospital. In this case, the casualties will be less despite stronger tremor because of distance of its epicentre.
Comprehensive Disaster Management Programme (CDMP) under Food and Disaster Management Ministry conducted the study with the help of Asian Disaster Preparedness Centre (ADPC).
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), UK Department for International Development (DFID) and European Commission provided financial support for the research project conducted from February 2008 to August 2009.
The study reveals that at least 10 major hospitals in the capital will be destroyed completely and another 241 hospitals and clinics partially in case of a quake of 7.5 magnitude, mounting pressure on the city's other hospitals and clinics to treat the possible huge injured people.
It shows that only 24,242 hospital beds will be available on the day the quake will jolt for the use of the already-admitted patients and earthquake-injured people after the 7.5 jolt, which is only 41 percent of the demand.
A week after the shake, only 54 percent of the beds will be available for the use while 72 percent after a month, the study said.
About 37,625 hospital beds, which are only 63 percent of requirement, will be available for the treatment of injured people on the day of an earthquake of 8 magnitude.
About 76 percent of the beds will be back in service after a week while about 87 percent will be fully operational after a month.
Citing four low to moderate tremors, the study apprehended that moderate to strong earthquakes may hit three major cities -- Dhaka, Chittagong and Sylhet -- as those are situated in three separate risky earthquake zones. “Millions of people will die if a strong earthquake jolts the regions.”
Prof Shamim M Haque, contingency planning project manager of Comprehensive Disaster Management Programme (CDMP), however, declined to comment on the outcome of the study.
ASM Maksud Kamal, national adviser on Tsunami, Cyclone and Earthquake risk of the CDMP, told UNB that Dhaka is highly vulnerable to earthquake under Madhupur Fault, as the phenomenal urbanisation, density of population and high-rise structures are growing fast here.
“We can't even imagine how much causalities and economic losses will be there in the city in case of a powerful tremor originating from Madhupur Fault,” he said.
Maksud Kamal, a professor of geological sciences of Dhaka University, alleged that most of the healthcare centres in the capital have been set up for just making money, not for providing healthcare services, as no contingency plan taken for recovery from earthquakes.
“The highly vulnerable healthcare centres were constructed without any plan and maintaining the Bangladesh National Building Code (BNBC),” he said.

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