Coastal tsunami is a likelihood, experts fear – Pakistan

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KARACHI: Met authorities and disaster management experts on Thursday warned that a tsunami was almost imminent to hit the coastal belt of Sindh and Balochistan.

According to them, the tsunami-causing seismic fault zone at sea ended its “timescale and return period” after triggering a first disaster in 1945, mainly affecting the Makran coastal belt.

The warning came during a briefing attended by experts and officials at a “Tsunami Risk Mitigation Stakeholder Workshop” at a local hotel.

During the inaugural session of the workshop, Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) Director General Muhammad Riaz issued the warning and some suggestions for meeting the challenge ahead. “What needs to be done is to establish a strong early warning system and make people aware of the response required in such a situation,” he said.

According to him, Pakistan is prone to vagaries in terms of natural disasters. “We would find torrential rains here during a short period of monsoon which causes flooding. But a specific system is more intense, difficult and deadly which is active along the Sindh-Makran coast. Here we have a tsunami-generating seismic fault zone that can trigger [a disaster] at any time. This is called the Makran Subduction Zone and it is the most vulnerable area that can produce an earthquake and tsunami at any time.

Mr Riaz said the active fault was only found 40 kilometers from the Pakistani coast and that if it generated a tsunami or earthquake, it would take just five minutes to hit towns along the coast. coastal belt.

“Our models and some software suggest that the tsunamogenic seismic fault zones below the Makran subduction zone would only have a maximum of five or 30 minutes to trigger. Its journey time is too short.

It would be very difficult and stimulating to deal with the situation if it developed, Mr Riaz said. “It was in 1945 when there was a tsunami earthquake in this fault zone,” said the CEO of PMD. “It mainly hit the Makran coast and caused catastrophic damage. After more than 75 years, it has completed its natural timescale and reversion period to trigger again anytime – maybe now or tomorrow; or maybe a year later or after 10 years. The Director General of the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA), Syed Salman Shah, said that as part of the project, his organization is also installing 14 additional tsunami warning posts along the Karachi coast. . The PDMA, he said, in collaboration with the PMD, had a keen interest in training local communities and building the capacity of response agencies.

United Nations Development Program (UNDP) project coordinator Naeem Iqbal informed the audience that shortly after the 2005 Pakistan earthquake, the United Nations body began investing in strengthening capacities of PMD, PDMA and other agencies.

Posted in Dawn, le 15 October 2021


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