Reacting to fears of a tsunami spreading panic among people living along the Sindh-Makran coastal belt after a 5.0-magnitude earthquake struck Gwadar yesterday night, the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) on Wednesday clarified that the tremors do not pose any tsunami threat.
A spokesperson of the PMD urged the people not to panic, adding that the department did not issue any tsunami alert after the earthquake. He maintained that the people living along the coastal belt need not be worried.
Talking about tsunami exercises in Karachi and Gwadar, the spokesperson said that these are routine exercises. He said that a powerful earthquake near the shore of Makran can always trigger a tsunami but that there is no timeframe that can be provided.
An earthquake measuring 5.0 on the Richter scale jolted Gwadar and its surrounding areas on Tuesday night, raising concerns of a tsunami along the coast of Balochistan and Sindh.
According to the National Seismic Monitoring Centre, the earthquake struck Gwader at 2:22am. The epicentre of the earthquake was 50km away from Gwadar in the Arabian Sea, at a depth of 20km. No casualty or damage of property was reported.
Underscoring the need for preventive measures, PMD Director-General Muhammad Riaz said that his department had issued warnings many times about a strong earthquake in the Makran Subduction Zone. He said that any strong earthquake in the area could trigger a tsunami.
National Tsunami Warning Centre Director Amir Haider Khan said that a threat of a tsunami is looming over the coastal areas of Sindh and Makran. He maintained that the Makran Subduction Zone is "like a nuclear weapon" present in the sea and "can explode at any time".
He maintained that the Sindh-Makran coast had already faced devastation in 1945 when a strong tsunami was caused by an earthquake in the Makran Subduction Zone. Almost 4,000 people had been killed in the coastal areas of Makran due to the tsunami.
After 1945, the Subduction Zone has become active now as it has completed its natural time scale, warned the official.
Gwadar and Makran would be the most affected areas if any earthquake triggers a tsunami in the Arabian Sea, he said and added: "The tsunami could also hit Karachi in a very short time."
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