5 died of heart attack during quake in Bangladesh

A man stands next to a damaged house after an earthquake at P.Molding village on the outskirts of Imphal, India, January 4, 2016.
PHOTO: Reuters

Five people died of heart attacks in Bangladesh and over 100 were injured in panic-related incidents when a 6.7 magnitude earthquake hit Manipur of India, some 353 kilometres away from Dhaka.

Many in Bangladesh woke up to the tremor at 5:05 that was felt for around a minute. In the cold, the panicking people rushed to the streets while some jumped off their balconies, leading to injuries.

In Dhaka's East Jurain, Saiful Hossain Rubel, 22, died of a heart attack during the quake, said Kazi Wazed Ali, officer-in-charge of Kadamtoli Police Station.

"He was panicking, woke his roommates up, and rushed downstairs. He collapsed on the ground floor," said Wazed.

In Rajshahi city, Khalilur Rahman, a 65-year-old cook of Rajshahi University, died of cardiac arrest when he was rushing out of his home, said Humayun Kabir, OC of Motihar Police Station.

In Lalmonirhat's Patgram, Kadu Miah, 60, died of a heart attack in his bathroom during the tremor, our correspondent there reported quoting Rezaul Karim, OC of Patgram Police Station.

In Sirajganj, Abul Kashem, 45, died of a heart attack while five others were injured trying to run to safety, reports our Pabna correspondent.

In Jamalpur, tailor Sona Miah, 38, at Jangalia of Melandah upazila died of cardiac arrest within five minutes of the earthquake. Family sources said Sona was asleep. He woke up suddenly and started to panic. He died at 5.12am.

Iqbal Kabir, a student of Dhaka University residing in Shaheedullah Hall, was admitted to Dhaka Medical College Hospital with critical injuries after he allegedly jumped from the third floor, one of his friends told The Daily Star.

As many as 35 people, including 19 students, took fast aid at the emergency section of the DMCH, Mozammel Haque, in-charge of the hospital's police camp, told The Daily Star.

Khandakar Sohan, a constable who was in the barrack beside police headquarters, fractured both his legs after he had jumped from the first floor. He was admitted to the DMCH as well.

Gas connections snapped in some areas of the capital while some other areas suffered power outages following the earthquake.

The Met office in Dhaka claimed that the earthquake was of 6.6 magnitude and was at a depth of 40 kilometres.

However, experts said the earthquake released energy of 6.7 magnitude at its epicentre but it was felt between 4 and 5 in Dhaka, based on the soil quality of certain places.

Most people thought it was the strongest earthquake they had ever felt and that was because they had not experienced such a strong earthquake from so close to the epicentre, said professor of geology department and earthquake specialist Syed Akhter Humayun.

The professor said on the soft soil of Dhaka city, the intensity was around 5 while in areas with harder soil it was 4. The people of Sylhet felt it more than the people of Dhaka since Sylhet is closer to Manipur.

According to him, Dhaka city dwellers experienced the Nepal quake of last year between 3 and 4 on the modified Mercalli Intensity Scale.

"Even people living away from the epicentre might feel a stronger jolt if they live on soft soil," he said.

Mehedi Ahmed Ansary of the civil engineering department of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology said had the quake intensity been 8, the damage to Dhaka would have been severe.

Historically, Manipur is earthquake-prone, he said.

Two residential buildings listed in Dhaka.

A six-storey building in Shanir Akhra was leaning on the larger building next door, said Brig Gen Ali Ahmed Khan, chief of Bangladesh Fire Service and Civil Defence.

"Fire fighters are working there. The adjacent building has several cracks too."

Another building in Bangshal was leaning.

At least 20 people were injured in Sylhet city whilst trying to run to safety, our Moulvibazar correspondent reports quoting Sohel Ahmed, OC of Kotwali Police Station.

Several injured were admitted to Sylhet MAG Osmani Medical College Hospital.

A number of homes and buildings were damaged, including Sylhet MAG Osmani Medical College Hospital.

Two constables of Chittagong Metropolitan Police received minor injuries while they were jostling down the staircase of their quarters, our Chittagong correspondent reports.

Our Barisal correspondent reported that the lone seismograph of the southern region in Patuakhali Science and Technology University has been out of order for the last three years.

Relief and Disaster Management Minister Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya at a press briefing in the capital said the people of Bangladesh has the special blessings of Allah and that was the reason for the insignificant damage the earthquake had caused.

He said, "The people of Bangladesh are pious. Allah has blessed this country. That is why the damage was insignificant compared to the magnitude of the quake.

"Researchers had said Dhaka would be demolished if it suffered a 6.5 magnitude earthquake. We had one with 6.6.

"It is my belief that Dhaka would not be damaged even if it was hit by a 7.0 magnitude earthquake," he went on to say.

Secretary to the ministry Shah Kamal at he briefing said, "at least 72,000 buildings of Dhaka have been marked risky."

Our reporters in Jamalpur, Chandpur, Chittagong, Pabna, Sherpur, Rajshahi, Moulvibazar, Barisal, Satkhira, and Lalmonirhat contributed to this report.