QUETTA, Dec 1: A senior geologist has warned that Karachi and some fast growing cities of Makran division, including Gwadar, Pasni and Ormara, are facing the threat of tsunami and can experience inundation because of it. Talking to Dawn, Dr Din Mohammad Kakar of the University of Balochistan’s geology department said the situation required urgent attention.

Prof Kakar, who along with some European scientists and archaeologists conducted research on earthquakes and tsunami in Balochistan, said a recent study had indicated that Karachi, the commercial hub of the country, and some coastal towns of Balochistan were vulnerable to tsunami because they were too close to a tsunami source known as Makran Subduction Zone.

He said the coastal areas of Oman, India and Iran were also facing a similar threat.

Prof Kakar said a team comprising scientists from Pakistan, India, Iran, Oman and the United States launched the study funded by the United Nations.

Under the study, he said, the team members interviewed a number of people of Makran and Sindh coastal areas, including some elderly people who witnessed a tsunami in Makran in the 1940s.

For the study the scientists got clues from newspaper reports, administrative documents, census data, ships’ logs, aerial photographs, intelligence reports and personal accounts of people living in these coastal areas for generations.

The areas visited by the team members included Gwadar, Pasni, Kalmat, Ormara, Daam Sonmiani and Karachi.

The team members also visited some coastal areas of Oman, Iran and India for the hunt of archival documents. They interviewed some people also there.

Dr Kakar said the study helped in understanding the level of destruction the 1945’s tsunami caused to Makran and other coastal areas.

Talking about the history of tsunami in the Makran coastal region, he said, an earthquake of 8.1-magnitude that struck Makran on Nov 28, 1945, formed a giant fault extending west from the Strait of Hormuz in Iran to east, Lasbela near Karachi, with the length of about 900km.

“The shaking caused buildings to collapse and followed by a tsunami that flooded the Makran coastal region. The flood reached as far as Oman, Iran and India,” he said. Small villages were washed away by the tsunami in areas, including Pasni, Ormara, Kalmat and Gwadar.

He observed that people in Karachi and Makran were not aware of tsunami’s history in the region and its potential threat to their areas.

Prof Kakar said large-scale destructions by recent catastrophic tsunamis, including those of 2004 in Indonesia, 2010 in Chile, 2010 in Sumatra and 2011 in Japan had raised awareness about the hazards of tsunami.

He said the history of tsunami in Makran coastal region indicated that the region was vulnerable to tsunamis generated by multiple sources, such as earthquakes off coast and submarines landslides.

He said in case of a tsunami the inundation could be 20-30 metres high with run-up to 1-5km in the Makran low land coastal region which would not be less than those of tsunami that hit Indonesia in 2004.

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