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Earthquake jolts Dhaka, other parts of country

Published : 03 Dec 2023 04:56 PM

A moderate earthquake jolted Dhaka on Saturday morning. The tremor was also felt in Chattogram, Rajshahi, Sylhet, Rangpur, Chuadanga, Noakhali and Kushtia as well as other parts of the country. 

The earthquake, measuring 5.6 magnitude on the Richter scale, was felt at 9:35 am which lasted for a few seconds. 

The epicentre of the earthquake was in Hanubais village under Darweshpur Union at Ramganj upazila in Lakshmipur, said Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) of Ramganj Sharmin Islam. 

According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the epicentre of the earthquake was located 10km east-northeast of Ramganj upazila. The USGS measured the earthquake at magnitude 5.5 and at a depth of 38.5km.

Meanwhile, the earthquake’s magnitude was 5.8 according to the German Research Center for Geosciences (GFZ).

However, the Bangladesh Meteorological Department (DMD) said that the earthquake was 5.6 magnitude on the Richter scale and its epicentre was located in Cumilla district.

“We initially reported the earthquake’s magnitude as 5.8. However, after analysing various data, it was found to be 5.6 on the Richter scale,” said Golam Mustafa, an officer of the BMD.

The distance of the epicenter was 86 km from the BMD Seismic Centre at Agargaon in Dhaka, according to the BMD.

Many residents of Dhaka city came out on the streets and roads in fear during the tremor. On the other hand, some people were injured in Cumilla and Chandpur as the eartquake strongly felt close to the nearby areas of epicentre. 

The eartquake also strongly felt in Jamalpur, Rajshahi and Khulna, report our correspondents of the regions.

In Cumilla, some garment workers were injured when they tried to rush to exit a factory building at Chauddagram upazila of the district. The incident took place at Amir Shirts Limited in Supua area of the upazila.

The injured RMG workers were taken to hospitals. However, all except four workers have been discharged from the Chauddagram Upazila Health Complex, where they took primary treatment, reports our Cumilla Correspondent. 

Meanwhile, three more people, including a student of a college, was also injured while coming out of buildings in separate places of the district.

On the other hand, cracks were developed on a mosque in Cumilla. Besides, three of the tiles of the building fell off. However, there were no casualties reported. The incident took place at Bagbaria Jame Masjid at Laksam municipality of the district.

Cracks were also developed in three residential halls at Comilla University, impacting Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Hall, Kazi Nazrul Islam Hall, and Nawab Faizunnesa Chowdhurani Hall.  However, Sheikh Hasina Hall experienced minor cracks in its reading room.

In Chandpur, about ten people were injured while coming out from a multistoried building during in the district town. However, all of them were slightly injured, said sources at Chandpur District Hospital.

In Noakhali, panic forced residents of high-rises to rush to the roads in the district town and other parts of the district.

Deputy Commissioner (DC) of Noakhali Dewan Mahbubur Rahman said that the earthquake was felt strongly in the district. However, no damage was reported. All UNOs have been asked to keep watch on the situation, he informed.

In Lakshmipur, Mohammad Solaiman, officer-in-charge (OC) of Ramganj Police Station of in Lakshmipur district; said that people came out on the road out of panic.

Deputy Commissioner (DC) of Lakshmipur Suraiya Jahan said that she was preparing for a programme when the earthquake jolted the region. It lasted about 15 seconds. No damage was reported in the district, she added.

Mohammad Emranul Haque Bhuiyan, UNO of Chatkhil upazila of Lakshmipur, said that the tremor was so strong in that area. The UNO rushed down with his family from his government residence.

With Saturday’s 5.5 magnitude tremor which shook Dhaka and nearby areas, Bangladesh has witnessed six incidents of earthquakes over magnitude 5 since the beginning of 2023.

Earlier on October 2, the country experienced a 5.4 magnitude earthquake originating from Sherpur.

On September 11, Sylhet was struck by an earthquake measuring 5 in magnitude.

The country felt the impact of a 5.0 magnitude earthquake originating from Golapganj in Sylhet, affecting Dhaka and other districts on June 16.

The first seismic activity recorded this year was on January 23 with a 5.1 magnitude earthquake originating in Sylhet.

According to experts, mild to moderate earthquakes are felt in the country due to the opposing movement of the Burmese Plate and the Indian Plate. They said that there is a significant accumulation of energy at the junction of these two plates, which is seeking a way to be released, causing frequent earthquakes.

Experts highlight that Bangladesh is located in an earthquake-prone zone. The amount of energy accumulated beneath it suggests the potential for a major earthquake in the country. They, however, said that Chattogram Hill Tracts, Dhaka, Rangpur, Mymensingh, Netrakona and Dinajpur regions are particularly vulnerable to earthquakes.

Aside from Bangladesh, areas such as India’s Meghalaya, Assam, Manipur, Mizoram, and those near the Myanmar border are also vulnerable to face significant damage from an earthquake with a magnitude exceeding 7 on the Richter scale.