Effective plan urged to tackle any possible earthquake in Karachi – No flat in metropolis is earthquakeproof, says expert geologist

KARACHI: Sindh government and Provincial Disaster Management Authority PDMA should adopt a positive approach and devise an effective plan to tackle any possible earthquake that could hit Karachi at any time in the future and may cause mass destruction.

“No flat in Karachi is earthquakeproof. Any possible earthquake could bring mass destruction in Karachi if existing flats are not strengthened by installing strong pillars containing cement and iron,” said expert geologist and Chairman Department of Geology, University of Karachi, Prof Shamim A Sheikh in an interview with PPI at his office.

Several local organizations and experts have been advising federal and provincial governments of the country time and again for making solid planning to tackle natural disasters, including earthquakes, but no required measures have yet been taken, which is the matter of great concern. The city also needs more earthquake measuring instruments and heavy machinery for rescue.

He said that there are four earthquake zones and Karachi comes in second zone. There are faults in deep land in Karachi areas, including Malir, North Nazimabad and GulshaneIqbal, which could bring earthquake.

Shamim said that a large number of heavy machinery, other equipments and trained rescue staff is needed to tackle any possible earthquake destruction in Karachi which is in grip of mushrooms of flats. The new buildings and flats should be built as per environment and Karachi Building Control Authority laws so that future human losses could be saved. He said that all department buildings of Karachi University are earthquakeproof. Hence, the governmne and private organizations must come forward with concrete measures and construct future buildings as earthquakeproof besides strengthening weak buildings.

Professor Shamim informed that most of buildings in old city areas are outdated and weak, which can fall at any time. Karachi Building Control Authority KBCA had warned people to vacate such weak buildings but they are reluctant to leave them despite danger of building fall looms over them all the time.

He expressed great concern over the reluctant behavior of such people. These people need to develop wisdom so as to save themselves from any great earthquake tragedy in future, the professor added.

To a question that why earthquakes come, Shamim said that earthquakes come due to movement of earth layers and their collision with each other which cause release of huge quantity of energy.

According to a report, an earthquake is the result of a sudden release of energy in the Earth’s crust that creates seismic waves. The seismicity, seismism or seismic activity of an area refers to the frequency, type and size of earthquakes experienced over a period of time.

Earthquakes are measured using observations from seismometers. The moment magnitude is the most common scale on which earthquakes larger than approximately 5 are reported for the entire globe. The more numerous earthquakes smaller than magnitude 5 reported by national seismological observatories are measured mostly on the local magnitude scale, also referred to as the Richter scale.

These two scales are numerically similar over their range of validity. Magnitude 3 or lower earthquakes are mostly almost imperceptible or weak and magnitude 7 and over potentially cause serious damage over larger areas, depending on their depth. The largest earthquakes in historic times have been of magnitude slightly over 9, although there is no limit to the possible magnitude.