Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Relief after scare

Bangladesh Jolted
Relief after scare
Two major earthquakes and a series of strong aftershocks near Indonesia’s Sumatra Island yesterday jolted various parts of the country, triggering widespread panic among people.
Immediately after the first quake, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre (PTWC) and Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) issued tsunami alert for at least 20 coastal countries including Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka and Thailand.
The warning was withdrawn hours after the alert was issued.
The first quake measuring 8.6 magnitude shook Dhaka and other parts of the country at 2:38 pm while the second quake of 8.2 magnitude happened just over two hours later.
There had been no immediate reports of damage or casualties.
However, meteorology experts, after analysing the data, ruled out any possibility of tsunami in Bangladesh before the international agencies formally withdrew it.
According to the warning of PTWC and JMA, the coastal areas of Chittagong could have experienced a tsunami wave at 10:51 last night on the aftermath of the quakes.
Immediately after the declaration of the alert, panic gripped the people of char areas in Cox’s Bazar and they started to leave their houses.
The Civil Aviation Authorities suspended flight operations and all other activities at Shah Amanat International Airport in Chittagong while the Chittagong Port Authority asked to keep all the vessels anchored.
The flight operations resumed at the airport after 8:00pm last night soon after the tsunami alert was withdrawn.
“According to the PTWC and Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Service (INCOIS) there is no tsunami threat for Bangladesh coast,” a statement of the met office said.
The earthquakes that occurred beneath the sea were great, experts said.
Prof Syed Humayun Akhter said, “There is no chance of tsunami this time as the displacement in the sea floor was horizontal, and it did not affect the water column in the sea.”
Prof Humayun, director of the Earthquake Observatory Centre of Dhaka University and a teacher of geology department, said it was a preliminary alert.
Sensing the quake, many people in the capital left their offices and homes in panic and ran into the streets.
Bangladesh Meteorological Department asked all related agencies especially government officials of the coastal districts and upazila headquarters to be watchful from 3:00 pm to last midnight for the sake of safety of the coastal people.
According to the PTWC, the earthquakes of this size had the potential to generate a widespread destructive tsunami that can affect coastlines across the entire Indian Ocean basin.
The level of ground shaking of the earthquake was 324 on Modified Mercalli Intensity (MMI) scale in Bangladesh, said Prof Humayun, reports UNB.
“The tsunami route is east-west. Bangladesh is situated in the north of Indonesia. So, Bangladesh will remain safe from tsunami,” he said.
Our correspondents in Cox’s Bazar, Chittagong, Gopalganj, Barisal districts report of chaotic scenes as panic-stricken people rushed to the streets soon after they felt the quakes.
The Armed Forces Division said army, navy and air force installations particularly in Chittagong and Cox’s Bazar were asked to get prepared to launch rescue campaigns in line with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s directives, reports BSS.
The control room of the disaster management ministry in a release yesterday said they were monitoring the situation in every hour.

-With The Daily Star input

 

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