Tsunami could 'wipe out' Karachi

Published: September 10, 2014
Houses are swept by a tsunami in Natori City, March 11, 2011, after a massive 8.9 magnitude quake hit northeast Japan. PHOTO: REUTERS

Houses are swept by a tsunami in Natori City, March 11, 2011, after a massive 8.9 magnitude quake hit northeast Japan. PHOTO: REUTERS

KARACHI: Pakistan’s largest city Karachi, home to around 18 million people, could be “wiped out” by a tsunami, officials said Wednesday after a drill simulating a major earthquake in the Indian Ocean.

The test, and one carried out a day earlier simulating another quake off Indonesia, were designed to check an early-warning system set up after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami which killed more than 230,000 people.

The exercise organised by the United Nations was based on a hypothetical 9.0 magnitude quake in the Makran Trench, where the Arabian and Eurasian tectonic plates meet, off the coast of Pakistan.

“This would create waves of 0.9 to seven metres high that could reach Karachi in one and a half hours,” Tauseef Alam, the chief meteorologist who was supervising the tests, told AFP.

“This could wipe out the city as the waves would be immensely powerful.”

Karachi was hit by a tsunami in 1945 that killed at least 4,000 people, Alam said.

A repeat would likely have a devastating effect on Pakistan nationally, since Karachi, the country’s main port, accounts for around 42 per cent of national GDP.

“The city is vulnerable because there is a chance of another tsunami in the same vicinity but we don’t know when,” Alam said.

In the event of a tsunami, real-time data would be sent to the Met Office in Karachi from Indonesian, Australian and Indian centres.

An alarm would sound when an alert was issued and the team would start disseminating the data to around a dozen disaster management departments.

“Our goal is to ensure the timely and effective notification of tsunamis, to educate communities at risk about safety preparedness and to improve our overall coordination,” Alam said.

But it is not clear whether Karachi has a tsunami evacuation plan, or whether one would even be feasible in the chaotic, sprawling city.

“We will evaluate what works well, where improvements are needed, make necessary changes and continue to practice,” the meteorologist said.

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Reader Comments (39)

  • Moiz Omar
    Sep 10, 2014 - 7:10PM

    Something should be done about this.Recommend

  • ARW
    Sep 10, 2014 - 7:19PM

    May ALLAH have mercy on us!

    Being a Karachiite, a city where excessive monsoon rain paralise the city or in any panic situtation people spend hours on the road. One can imagince what impact will it be if God forbid tsunami warning is issued for Karachi.

    National Disaster Cell / Planners should consider all the aspect while planning anyting for Mini Pakistan!

    One can only pray to ALLAH (SWT) to have mercy on us. Ameen


  • Sep 10, 2014 - 7:30PM

    This is scary. May God protect us and our country!


  • Ali Sardar
    Sep 10, 2014 - 7:46PM

    We Karachittes would still throng at the beach despite the tsunami.


    Sep 10, 2014 - 8:18PM

    It would be interesting to learn what agencies participated in this exercise and top individuals and their bio data.


  • Salman Husen
    Sep 10, 2014 - 8:19PM

    After the Punjab disaster, we are not in condition to face another disaster please save us Allah from this tsunami….


  • Ali S
    Sep 10, 2014 - 8:30PM

    So I guess Imran Khan got it all wrong :P


  • Kiran Arshad
    Sep 10, 2014 - 8:33PM

    There is no super power other then Allah
    The whole karachtties ask tauba frm all evil deeds and pray as much


  • Baloch
    Sep 10, 2014 - 8:35PM

    Just consider the nuclear plants in Karachi and realize the impact, but wait if you oppose the building of new nuclear plants and the deconstruction of existed ones in this country particularly in urban centers you would be bombarded with the abusive comments. Hope ET will publish my comment.


  • Jihad Al-Tsunami
    Sep 10, 2014 - 8:40PM

    It’s time for the government or private businessmen in Karachi to build a massive wall/barrier to protect the city of lights from the onslaught of the massive waves that might hit us, that’s how we can protect this city otherwise or else we will be wiped out.

    There should also be an evacuation system, within minutes of an earthquake, tsunami warnings should go off and every body move back at least 10 kms away from the coastline.


  • Arif Belgaumi
    Sep 10, 2014 - 8:42PM

    If there is ever a M9.0 earthquake in the Makran Trench, close to Karachi, any resultant tsunami arriving at the shores of Karachi would find mostly rubble. Karachi’s building codes are not designed to resist a M9.0 earthquake. Even if there were, most buildings in the city, the vast majority of dwellings, are unengineered structures, vulnerable to even low intensity tremors. The authorities would do better to address this shortcoming than focus on this preoccupation with tsunamis. There are greater risks of land based earthquakes near Karachi than one out in the sea.


  • Fawad
    Sep 10, 2014 - 9:23PM

    If we don’t repent to God, tsunami can struck. Just ask for repentance all the time.


  • goggi (Lahore)
    Sep 10, 2014 - 9:47PM

    An infant in its learning curve realizes that when it cries and shouts, then it can more easily blackmail the emotions of its parents and its wishes are more easily fulfilled.

    The adults of our society have thoroughly internalized this childhood behavior and apply similar tactics of shouting and weeping by every catastrophic disaster and thereby attract the emotions of the global community.

    All mega tragedies and disasters of Pakistan are in the interest of the ruling people, because aid flows in like the yearly flood waters in our cities and villages. In a few weeks time billions of Euros and Dollars aid shall reach Pakistan and vanish in a black hole.


  • Jasmine
    Sep 10, 2014 - 9:53PM

    Why do I think that if such a Tsunami was to hit, the so-called “elite” as in the Zardaris of the world would somehow be given “advance” notice so they could flee the city while the common citizens are left to die?


  • Malatesh
    Sep 10, 2014 - 9:56PM

    Oh my God!..
    What will happen to Mumbai then?

    One idea is to build some anti tsunami wave plants on the coastal region, which can generate similar waves such that these waves can nullify tsunami waves.


  • asif shaikh
    Sep 10, 2014 - 10:11PM

    Whenever this kind of threat going to be happen, plz do vird of Ayat-e-Kareema as much as you can. InshaAllah Allah ka karam hojaay ga.


  • Bahadur
    Sep 10, 2014 - 10:16PM

    what the hack is this? “The exercise organised by the United Nations was based on a hypothetical 9.0 magnitude quake in the Makran Trench, where the Arabian and Eurasian tectonic plates meet, off the coast of Pakistan.”

    Is this another artificial Tsunami in disguise of test? Two things are common here with Japan.

    At that time there was big pressure on Japan president (corrupt)
    Artificial tsunami was created to protect government and destroy the economy to gain control over Japan by America

    Pray pray pray and ask for forgiveness. Please do not stay quite or support corrupt government.


  • Asif Amin
    Sep 10, 2014 - 10:25PM

    We have Abdullah Shah Ghazi Mazar near the beach. Legend says power of the Pir will protect KarachiRecommend

  • Hasan
    Sep 10, 2014 - 10:32PM

    :'( Save Us Allah.


  • momal
    Sep 10, 2014 - 10:38PM

    May Allah the Almighty save us.
    pls pray for our country & ask tauba.


  • Ahsan
    Sep 10, 2014 - 11:23PM

    May God Bless KarachiRecommend

  • Parvez
    Sep 10, 2014 - 11:44PM

    We have inept politicians….the TTP……land mafia all doing the same thing So go ahead and add another monster to the list.


  • bozo
    Sep 10, 2014 - 11:56PM

    Please read the article again. They just presented a hypothesis that WHAT IF an earthquake would strike in the Makran coast area, what type of tsunami could it trigger. ET misleading with its headlines


  • A Màlik
    Sep 11, 2014 - 12:15AM

    Everyone Google HAARP


  • Salman
    Sep 11, 2014 - 1:21AM

    Allah hu Akbar Kabira.. We should take precautionary measures and leave rest to Almighty. Drills should be performed every now and then not only at the time when Monstrous Wave is about to touch the area. People should be clear about what to do and they should know the best possible route to evacuate the area within half an hour and then it is the responsibility of citizens to help others and neighbors too.. Alarms and announcements in Mosques can also help at the time when there is warning.. Its just about management that can help in saving lives. May Allah help us all and Keep Karachi and vicinity safe from such Calamities.


  • Ch. Allah Daad
    Sep 11, 2014 - 1:42AM

    Build earthquake proof buildings and build a very strong concrete barrier at Karachi beaches then our prayers will be answered.


  • Sep 11, 2014 - 6:57AM

    Imran Khan… be happy…..!


  • Nouman
    Sep 11, 2014 - 8:21AM

    Just One Statement.
    Go Nawaz Go..!! :D


  • sidhart
    Sep 11, 2014 - 9:57AM

    karachi may be hit by tsunami but it may not be “sweep out all” and i hope so,,, be calm and must be pray to save all the human,,,,


  • Bilal un nabi khan
    Sep 11, 2014 - 10:06AM

    The Americans have a machine named “HAARP”. They have the ability to generate earthquakes and other things by this machine,it is weird but one can only pray Allah to protect us! Ameen


  • Asim Baig
    Sep 11, 2014 - 10:34AM

    This is ridiculous! If this happens, this will happen, if that happens that will happen! Our govt. will do the things so that they can escape, may Allah Hidayah these people. Being a muslim we know that no one can save us if Allah doesnt want, and nothing can destroy us if Allah wants to protect. So just trust in Allah, and Allah will protect our country, Inshallah. And our news channels should share these news with words “Allah na karay agar sunami aye”, they are just emotion less with their news like they are machines and quoting “Sunami will come n Karachi safa hasti se … ” Astagfirullah! May Allah protect all of us, Aameen.


  • jay1980
    Sep 11, 2014 - 12:12PM

    All those who are praying to Allah plz note all god help those who help themselves. Mere mouthing ” save us Allah” have “Mercy Allah ” are doing nothing but placing there fate in the hands of god which cant even be proven if exists….. Too much of responsibility of god makes a man lethargic…. Human havent come so far on the back of god. we build we bury its all in mans hand !


  • Sep 11, 2014 - 2:57PM

    May ALLAH (SWAT) do mercy on us …aamen,.


  • MJ
    Sep 11, 2014 - 7:26PM

    If a 9.0 Earthquake hits near Karachi, Tsunami produced flooding would be the least of our worries.


  • LS
    Sep 12, 2014 - 3:10AM

    @Malatesh: problem with that idea is that prior to tsunami strike all the water near the shore withdraws into the ocean. Thereby no water to make waves when you actually need it…


  • LS
    Sep 12, 2014 - 3:12AM

    @Bahadur: what are you talking about? Never ending conspiracy theories…


  • LS
    Sep 12, 2014 - 3:14AM

    @A Màlik: HAARP has been decommissioned


  • amir ahmed khuhro
    Sep 13, 2014 - 8:37PM

    Our Government should take measures for it.


  • Iftikhar
    Sep 28, 2014 - 12:59PM

    I am sure Sindh Government has not any plan for evacuation of Karachi at the time of any such warning. These are corrupt politicians.


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