Experts push for implementing building code

Dhaka-Experts at a seminar here on Sunday urged the government to take steps for proper implementation of the Bangladesh National Building code to reduce earthquake disaster risk by 90 percent.They also warned that if the policymakers fail to come up with suitable plans and preparedness to diminish earth quake risk the country may face a serious devastation if a strong tremor hits it.
Women’s consortium of 10 international development organisations working for reducing disaster risks arranged the seminar titled ‘National Consultation on Earthquake Response Preparedness: Gaps and Perspectives’ at BRAC Centre Inn.
ActionAid Bangladesh manger Nasir Uddin presented the keynote paper at the programme.
Disaster Management Ministry secretary Shah Kamal, Disaster Management Department DG Reaz Ahmed, Fire Service and Civil Defense DG Brigadier General Ali Ahmed Khan, Buet Prof Mehedi Ahmed Ansary, Dhaka University’s Disaster Science and Management department chairman Dr ASM Maksud Kamal and ActionAid Bangladesh country director Farah Kabir, among others, spoke at the programme.
In his keynote paper, Nasir Uddin said Bangladesh is the fifth most disaster vulnerable country of the world with its 30 percent population living in urban areas. “Around 50 percent population of Bangladesh will live in cities by 2031, enhancing the disaster risk further.”
He said Bangladesh now lacks proper plan, knowledge, expertise, information, and trained people to tackle a disaster like earthquake and reduce its risk.
Lack of coordination among different government bodies and agencies, including city corporations and Rajuk, is also a major problem to decrease disaster risk, Nasir added.
Reaz Ahmed said Bangladesh has no direct experience to face earthquake calamity as no strong tremor hit the country over the last 120 years.
He said the government has procured equipment at the cost of Tk 220 crore in the recent years to tackle disaster. “More equipment worth about Tk 500 crore will be imported in the days to come.”
Prof Mehedi Ansari voiced deep concern over the non-implementation of the Bangladesh National Building code over the last 10 years as huge numbers of buildings are being built in the country violating it, increasing the disaster risk.
“Ninety percent earthquake risk can be reduced by properly implementing the building code. The consequence will be dire if we construct our buildings without measuring risks and flouting building code,” he added.
Dr Maksud Kamal said the policymakers should be aware to take necessary preparation to tackle a big disinter like earthquake as there is a possibility that Bangladesh will be jolted by a strong tremor.
Brigadier General Ali Ahmed Khan underscored the need for ensuring good coordination among different agencies and institutions reasonable for tackling disaster.