No margin for error in building safety

Earthquake a reminder of the vital need to reduce risks


Yesterday’s earthquake is a timely reminder of the importance of building safety.

While Rana Plaza has focused much needed attention on factory safety, it is vital to improve  building construction and disaster preparedness across all aspects of life in Bangladesh.

The tragic deaths and damage in Nepal where the quake measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale had its epicentre highlight the severity of the risks posed by earthquakes.

With ever greater numbers living in densely populated cities,  the need for Bangladesh to enforce better precautions is greater than ever.

Dhaka’s rapid growth and dense population means it is rated as one of the 20 world cities whose citizens are most vulnerable during earthquakes. Urbanisation means that even with seismic activity staying within historical parameters, we will continue to have far more people exposed to potentially devastating conditions than ever before.

The government has to treat this risk with the seriousness it deserves by becoming more vigilant in improving and enforcing construction standards and raising safety awareness.

Ultimately, measures to improve public awareness and disaster response systems can only go so far. What matters most is placing more emphasis on earthquake-proofing buildings.

This means doing more to incorporate lessons from countries with greater earthquake activity, such as Japan, into our building codes.

It also makes it imperative to regularly survey and audit older buildings and major public highways and bridges to guard against hidden vulnerabilities.  There is no room for cutting corners in improving Bangladesh’s preparedness against the risks posed by earthquakes.

Source: Dhaka Tribune