CHITTAGONG, Apr 21 (UNB): About 70 per cent of high-rise buildings in the port city will collapse if an earthquake of 7-8 magnitude on the Richter scale hits the city, says a new study of Chittagong University of Engineering and Technology (CUST).
The survey, conducted by Earthquake Research Centre of the university, predicted that the greater Chittagong region is at risk of a powerful earthquake of 7-8 magnitude due to its geological position.
If a moderate to powerful tremor occurs in the Chittagong region, most of the city's buildings will collapse due to unplanned urbanisation, it said and warned that school buildings of the port city are highly vulnerable to earthquake, putting schoolchildren at risk.
The research found that the Chittagong region is located at an earthquake risky zone due to Eurasian and Indo-Australian plates, which are still active.
Another survey of a private firm - Development Design and Consultant (DCC) - shows that a moderate to high magnitude earthquake may originate anytime from the Sitakund-Teknaf fault, one of the two most active seismic faults in Bangladesh, or Rangamati-Barkal fault or Mirsarai-Teknaf fault.
Former vice chancellor of CUST Prof Md Jahangir Alam said if an earthquake of 7-8 magnitude on the Richter scale shakes the Chittagong region, about 70 per cent of buildings of the port city may collapse while the school buildings are highly vulnerable.
He said about 78 per cent buildings of the port city were built violating the Bangladesh National Building Code (BNBC) and the designs of Chittagong Development Authority (CDA) which makes these buildings highly vulnerable to tremor.
On January 03, 2017, an earthquake of 5.5 on the Richter scale jolted Chittagong, creating panic among city dwellers.
Seismic experts said frequent light tremors give a signal that a powerful one is coming up, which is a matter of concern for all.
They said that Chittagong seaport, Shah Amanat International Airport, Sitakund, Chittagong University, Khulshi, a residential area of the city and Madunagat areas are located at an earthquake-prone zone due to four active fault lines beneath the surface. Urban planner Prof M Ashraf Ali said Dhaka-Comilla-Chittagong-Sylhet-Cox's Bazar belts are highly vulnerable since the region was hit hard by earthquakes in the past.
He said a number of seismic fault lines, which may originate earthquake any time, are located near Chittagong.
Citing the findings of a study of Comprehensive Disaster Management Programme (CDMP), head of the Civil Engineering Department at Southern University Bangladesh Ashraf Ali said about 1.42 lakh buildings of Chittagong city are vulnerable to earthquake.
According to the experts, a powerful earthquake needs at least 100-150 years to be originated for a particular region and in that sense it is overdue for Bangladesh and parts of Assam. About 112 years have passed since a heavy tremor from Dawki Fault hit the region.