Thursday, April 12, 2012

Lifting of tsunami alert brings sigh of relief in Bangladesh

SALEEM SAMAD

WITH A big sigh of relief the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center and Japan Metrological Agency has withdrawn the tsunami watch issued in the evening issued for Bangladesh and other Indian Ocean countries following a powerful earthquake and two strong aftershocks off Indonesia on Wednesday.

Meanwhile Bangladesh capital and other places experienced two medium tremors at around 14:38 (local time), but authorities said there appeared to be no threat of a tsunami.
The center also lifted the warning from India, Sri Lanka and Indonesia shortly afterwards.

The tsunami warning came in the wake of an earthquake followed by aftershocks that jolted various parts of the country, including the capital, triggering widespread panic among people.
Shamsuddin Ahmed, an assistant director of Bangladesh Meteorological Department, said earlier the Pacific Centre issued a tsunami warning for Bangladesh other countries of the Indian Ocean.

Dhaka University's earth observatory's caretaker Professor Humayun Akhter said, "The tremor in Bangladesh resulted from the earthquake in Sumatra. The tremor registered a 3.8 magnitude on the Richter scale."

The quake was felt as far away as Singapore, Thailand, India and Bangladesh. There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage in Bangladesh.

Prof. Humayun Akter, head of the Earthquake Observatory Centre said after Wednesday’s earthquakes that Bangladesh will remain safe from any devastating tsunami.

“The tsunami route is East-West. Bangladesh is situated at the north of Indonesia. So, Bangladesh will remain safe from tsunami,” said Dr Humayun. 

Dr Humayun said a devastating tsunami hit Indonesia after a 9.1 earthquake in 2004 claiming 230,000 lives in 13 nations and that tsunami did not affect Bangladesh.

Saleem Samad, an Ashoka Fellow in journalism, is a Bangladesh based award winning investigative reporter. He is student of Islamic militancy, forced migration, good governance, press freedom and elective democracy. He was twice detained and tortured. Once in 1982 and second in 2002. Later he was expelled in 2004 from Bangladesh for whistle-blowing of the arrival of Jihadists from international terror network. He recently returned home from Canada. His email: saleemsamad@hotmail.com