An earthquake, measuring 6.1 magnitude on the Richter Scale, jolted Dhaka, Chattogram and some other parts of the country in the early hours of Friday. The tremor is being seen as the harbinger of a major quake by experts who call for regular earthquake drills to avoid catastrophic consequences
Bangladesh is known for rural hazards especially flood, but these days urban hazards have become more frequent and harsher. Living in this overcrowded jungle of concrete, it is horrifying to imagine how would this town survive if an intense earthquake takes place? Experts apprehend that a powerful earthquake can claim several thousands of lives and cause huge economic losses through damaging key infrastructures.
There is no alternative to strengthening
capacity of local government to ensure
effective services in emergency situations
Because of rapid and poorly planned urbanisation, big cities in Bangladesh particularly capital Dhaka and port city Chattogram are becoming more and more vulnerable to both natural and man-made hazards. Factors such as poor living standards, construction of infrastructures without consideration of safety measures, lack of public awareness of hazards, and poorly enforced building code are worsening the situation further.
Reinforcing urban governance has become very necessary on the part of the government and city planners. There are numerous facets of current urban planning and development that pose serious threats to the life and wealth of city dwellers. For example, the lack of enforcement of building code, planning permission and regulatory investment, often linked to corruption, allow the transfer of risk from construction companies to those who live and work in the buildings.
Proper implementation of land use plan and enforcement of building code are also important to make an urban area more resilient to disasters like earthquake. Also multi-hazard approaches need to be implemented with a view to reducing risks that will make Bangladesh safer in the long-run. For making the cities safer and reducing urban disaster risks, there is no alternative to strengthening capacity of local government to ensure effective services in emergency situations.