Posted by Rock Ronald Rozario
The newspapers in Bangladesh today are all headlining the 6.9 magnitude earthquake that hit Nepal, northwestern parts of India, Tibet and Bhutan.
It also affected Bangladesh although there are no reported casualties so far – just two buildings have been tilted slightly. But it was the first time I’ve ever felt an earthquake.
I was in Dhaka, attending my class at the British Council on Seven Mosque Road in the capital’s posh area, Dhanmondi, when suddenly the building started trembling. It felt like some giant force was either passing under the earth surface or a giant was pushing the building slowly. All the objects, including 13 humans in the room, were shaking.
It lasted about half a minute and phone calls started coming to our mobile phones though none of them rang, because we’d all put them onto vibrate mode. Some of the older people looked pale, possibly through concern for their families.
Our teacher was trying to make light of the tremor. “Don’t worry, this building will not fall,” he said. “If it does fall I’ll die with you!”
I wasn’t scared but I was worried about the country. As I’ve written in an earlier blog, it’s thought that the next great earthquake after Haiti and Japan is lurking beneath Bangladesh.
While reading today’s papers, more bad news caught my eye. The United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security has released its World Risk Report for 2011, which ranks Bangladesh as the sixth most disaster prone country in the world, second in Asia after the Philippines.
I don’t know what is in store for Bangladesh in the near future, but any disaster is bound to be magnified many times over, because the country has hardly any resources or facilities to sustain itself against a blow.