The main source of dangerous earthquakes in the country is the Dauki Fault in the Jaintapur area of Sylhet. The epicenter of the 10-point earthquake that struck Sylhet in the last 10 days was at Dauki Fault. Experts say this is a cause for concern.
A magnitude 7.8 earthquake shook the eastern end of the Dauki Fault in 1897, but no major earthquake shook the western end of the Dauki Fault for 400 years. Sylhet and Sunamganj are located at this end. An earthquake was felt in the same area in January 2019. In April 2020, another earthquake struck the Sylhet region. These were also small scale earthquakes.
Experts say that mild tremors can usually occur before or after a major earthquake. As a result, Sylhet is at extreme risk of earthquakes. The location of the capital Dhaka is not too far from Sylhet. If there is an earthquake of more than 8 magnitude, it will have a big impact on many parts of the country, including the capital.
The capital Dhaka also ranks second among 20 cities in terms of earthquake risk in the United Nations Earthquake Disaster Risk Index. The Iranian capital, Tehran, has the highest number of earthquakes. This risk is determined by combining the occurrence of earthquakes and the preparedness to deal with them.
It is known that Bangladesh is an earthquake prone region of the world, i.e. located in the Himalayan belt, so earthquakes have been happening in this country since ancient times. According to the UN index, population density, overcrowding, unplanned infrastructure, lack of open space in urban areas and narrow alleys, poor condition of lifelines are the reasons for the earthquake in Dhaka.
Dhaka University Professor of Geology has been doing research on earthquakes for a long time. Syed Humayun Akhtar. His research model says that Bangladesh is located at the junction of Indian, Eurasian and Burmese three dynamic plates. The two main sources of dangerous earthquakes in the country are the 300 km long Dauki Fault and the Teknaf-Chittagong Hill Tracts Subduction Zone. The epicenter was reported below the ground, however; no tsunami alert was issued. The epicenter was reported below the ground, however; no tsunami alert was issued. So there is growing concern about the Dauki fault, which is at risk due to small earthquakes.
Professor Humayun Akhtar told Kaler Kantha, “The way energy is stored in two regions inside Bangladesh can cause earthquakes of magnitude 7.2 to 6.9. However, this earthquake can happen once, it can break again. But as we have seen, 60 to 70 percent of the energy stored is released at once. This can lead to large earthquakes. Today or tomorrow this energy will come out. And if there is an earthquake in Dauki Fault, it will have a big impact on Dhaka as well.
“Earthquakes are not predicted,” he said. However, as the United Nations, Bangladesh is at extreme risk. But it is not possible to change the way houses have been built in Bangladesh if one wants to. In addition, there are many areas where the roads are very narrow. It is also difficult to conduct rescue operations there. We do not have public awareness to reduce the damage caused by earthquakes. The government is not adequately prepared. So we have to put more emphasis on the exercise now.
Muminul Islam, a senior meteorologist at the Dhaka Meteorological Department’s Earthquake Observatory, told Kaler Kanth, “The Sylhet region is geographically at risk for earthquakes. Small earthquakes usually precede a large one. Seeing the small earthquakes of the last few days, we felt those symptoms. The Dauki Fault was also the epicenter of the earthquake in 1897. After that earthquake, Dauki Fault has already saved energy again. There could be a big earthquake at any time now.
According to a survey conducted by Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) at different times, there are a total of 13 lakh multi-storey buildings in Dhaka district, three lakh in Chittagong and one lakh in Sylhet district. Eighty-five percent of these buildings are six-story or more. These buildings and their occupants will be the most affected by a magnitude 6 earthquake.