Dhaka is located near three major geographical fault lines – making it highly susceptible to earthquakes, a severe natural calamity, experts at a webinar have said.
According to their estimation, the occurrence of a major earthquake could claim several thousand lives and cause severe economic losses because of damage to key infrastructure.
Keeping this in view, they underscored the need to adopt an urban resilience approach, coordinate among professionals and create awareness among communities.
They stated this at a webinar titled "Disaster Imagination for Safer Dhaka City" organised by RTI International under the World Bank-funded Urban Resilience Project on August 13, read a statement on Saturday.
Chief Engineer of Rajuk Abdul Latif Helaly; Dr Kimiro Meguro of RTI International; Dr Kit Miyamoto of Miyamoto International; Dr Mehedi Ahmed Ansary, professor of Civil Engineering at Buet; and Dr Raquib Ahsan, Director of BUET-JIDPUS joined the discussion.
Abdul Latif Helaly said enhancing disaster safety requires everyone's participation, that of: architects, engineers, technicians, bureaucrats, policy makers, contractors, and even the general public.
"It is not only Rajuk's business. It is everyone's business," said Helaly.
Speakers at the programme said imagining disaster scenarios is central to encouraging government officials, professionals, educators, and the general public to demand and engage in disaster risk reduction.
We cannot reduce disasters that we cannot confront, and we cannot confront or prepare for disasters that we cannot imagine, they said.
This is important in a country that has not experienced a major earthquake in more than 100 years.
Thus, the crucial first step to improving urban resilience is to first imagine what could happen during a disaster if the city were not resilient.
Only in this way will key actors fully understand the roles they must play in preventing disaster risks, and why they need to act now.