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5 November, 2018 08:13:23 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 5 November, 2018 11:41:33 AM

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China to donate earthquake warning devices to DU

Anisur Rahman Khan, Dhaka
China to donate earthquake warning devices to DU

China Academy of Science and Beijing University will donate seven devices to Dhaka University for prediction and early warning of earthquakes free of cost. According to sources, the devices could predict an earthquake seven to 30 days prior to its occurrence.

Besides, they would also provide early warning 20 to 30 seconds prior to an earthquake in the country.

“A research institute on earthquake forecast would be set up at Dhaka University (DU) where researchers and students from Bangladesh, China, Nepal and Myanmar would conduct joint researches,” Prof. Maksud Kamal, dean of DU’s Faculty of Earth Sciences and Environment, told The Independent yesterday.

Kamal, who will coordinate the joint researches on behalf of DU, said it was a pilot project and the seven devices will be set up in different earthquake-prone areas in the country. “The devices will be set up at key points on a trial basis. Transmission lines of electricity and gas will be automatically shut down centrally after getting an early warning of an earthquake,” he added.

“We will sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with China Academy of Science and Beijing University in this regard on November 19,” he said.

According to Prof. Kamal, Chinese scientists had installed three such devices in their country, out of which two were successful.

“Many lives and properties were saved in China in the past several years due to the use of earthquake forecast technology. The land structure of Bangladesh is prone to risks of earthquakes. At present, quite a few tall structures, including an atomic plant, are being built in the country. If a warning is given 20–30 seconds before an earthquake, losses can be minimised by taking preparatory measures,” he said.

“It is very difficult to predict earthquakes. Considering that Bangladesh is a quake-prone country, our main objective is to minimise casualties during such an event. Once we succeed in doing so, we will take a broader route to set up such devices across the country,” he added.

According to Reshad Md. Ekram Ali, former director of the Geological Survey of Bangladesh (GSB), said such devices are also used in many countries like US and Japan. “We think it would help people to come out of their buildings after getting early warning 20-30 seconds prior to an earthquake,” he added.

He also said a powerful earthquake may cause havoc in Dhaka by destroying or damaging many high-rise buildings.

Experts warned that if an earthquake measuring 7 on the Richter scale was to hit Dhaka, it would kill at least 131,000 people because of the fragile and faulty structures of residential buildings and commercial centres in the city. Some 72,316 houses out of the total 326,825 houses will be ruined completely, thereby wiping out 32 per cent of the country’s current ADP of Tk 16,000 crore, they added.

According to a recent survey, around 250,000 buildings in the three cities of Dhaka, Chattogram and Sylhet were extremely vulnerable to earthquakes.

These include some 142,000 among 180,000 buildings in Chattogram, 24,000 out of 52,000 in Sylhet; and 72,316 out of 326,000 buildings in Dhaka.

Experts observed that though disaster assessment has moved ahead with the survey, the authorities concerned have hardly taken any tangible measures in terms of preparedness.

According to Chinese research organization Institute of Care Life, Mymensing, Sylhet, Rangpur, Lalmonirhat and Kurigram are highly prone to earthquakes.

KK

 

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Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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