Thursday, October 13, 2005

Karachi: in Danger???

Northern Areas of Pakistan have suffered one of the most devastating earthquakes of the century and more than 41, 000 feared dead and over 120, 000 injured and over quarter million rendered homeless!

The response of the world community as well as people of Pakistan in the four corners of the country has been prompt and helpful in coping with the catastrophe. In July this year three tremors had shaken southern localities of Karachi The first measured 1.6 on the Richter scale and the other 3.6. Their intensity was too low to cause serious damage or to determine their exact location by the Pakistan Meteorological Department, whose equipments are too old and outdated. Again on October 11 a large number of people, particularly those living in Karachi’s southern parts, came out of their apartments and homes when a mild quake (4.5on Richter Scale) shook the area after Tuesday midnight. The tremors frightened people in the Defence Housing Authority, Clifton, Gulistane Jauhar and Seaview areas and they spent many hours outsie their homes and apartments.

According to a report by Syed Ashraf Ali of Star - Monday 10th October 05 the DISASTER MANAGEMENT PLAN FOR KARACHI CITY has been shelved. Karachi is in high-intensity earthquake zone and if and when such calamity hits the city, there is no disaster management plan as Ashraf Ali reports.

The Karachi Disaster Management Plan has been hanging for 15 months and the city government had shown no interest to set up such a control center. There are more than 800 katchi abadies and countless high-rises, majority of them are not earthquake-proof, but the authorities have no plan to save the mega polis.Experts said that Karachi is in the 2B zone and could experience up to 6.5 on the Richter scale. If earthquake of such intensity ever hits the
city, 90 percent of Karachi's building will be in danger". Although the city Government has a community development section but so far the work in this regard has been disappointing and competent people do not appear to have been hired to undertake this kind of work properly.
It is hoped that the newly elected Nazim will look into such neglected matters. According to the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences based at CU-Boulder (USA).

"Fifty percent of the world's supercities now are located near potential future magnitude 7.5 earthquakes," Many experts say that Karachi is one of them. "Today, the world is facing disasters on an unprecedented scale: more than 255 million people were affected by natural disasters globally each year, on average, between 1994 and 2003, with a range of 68 million to 618 million," The researchers say. They work at the Center for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters at Belgium's l'Université catholique de Louvain. According to their research, an average of 188 million people a year were affected by disasters between 1990 and 1999. Asia was affected by about 43 per cent of them and accounted for almost 70 per cent of all lives

"Earthquakes don't kill people, but buildings and builders of inferior buildings do.'