The weather condition in Bangladesh has been pretty weird for the last couple of weeks. From burning hot summer, the weather suddenly takes a surprising turn and it becomes all windy. Especially at nights, I’ve been noticing unusual wind pattern as I live in a tin-shed house. Winds start to blow much like tidal waves and between two waves of wind, there is pin-drop silence in the middle of the night. This led many of our tenants to wake up in the middle of the night and start wandering outsides in fear of something destructive.
And then there was today’s massive earthquake in Bangladesh, a 7.5 magnitude tremor (It was 7.9 in Nepal) in what could possibly be the longest earthquake this country has ever seen. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how you see it), I was asleep when this happened and my mom woke me up. It didn’t take me too long to figure out what a massive tremor it has been as I signed into Facebook and Twitter.
An earthquake is “not” something to feel awesome about.
People began to post status on their Facebook that they had felt the tremors too. I noticed the statuses were coming from all over the country. Some of the people on my list live in various parts of India including Kolkata and Delhi. They too wrote that they felt a strong shockwave just minutes ago. I realized, we narrowly escaped what could have been a major disaster.
News sources afterwards confirmed that this was a major earthquake which originated in Nepal. It was felt across India and Bangladesh as well, but most destruction have taken place in Nepal. The magnitude of the earthquake in Bangladesh was also confirmed to be 7.5 and 5.5 in Richstar scale.
Some People Think It Was a Joke
As I continued scrolling on Facebook to see how other people have been, I couldn’t help but notice the “joking” tone in some people’s statuses. Some people wrote “Earthquake” and added “Feeling Awesome” to their status. Some added “scared” feeling but their tone in the status felt like it was a joke. I even saw some statuses where they were making fun of people who rushed outside of their residences during the earthquake.
And my reaction to all this was, “What the heck? I mean, seriously, what the heck is wrong with these people?”
Look, I get that today’s “cool” generation likes to make fun of everything they can. It’s true that day by day we’re running out of things to laugh at. But an earthquake is by no means something to make fun of. It is in no way a matter to feel awesome about. The people you see rushing outside their buildings? That’s a run for life. It is a natural disaster. It has the potential to ruin lives and cause massive destruction..
Bangladesh is already in a very risky condition when it comes to earthquakes. True, there hasn’t been any major disaster caused by earthquake in recent years. But don’t get too comfortable. Researchers have been continuously pointing out the risks Bangladesh has, especially its capital, when it comes to earthquake. A major earthquake can easily tear apart the city of Dhaka as we know it.
Just because a natural event didn’t cause enough destruction doesn’t mean you should joke about it.
Many newspapers and sources start focusing on this as soon as something like this occurs, but conveniently forgets about it, leaving the city vulnerable as it is. Here’s a story from 2013 that discusses the risks of earthquake in Dhaka city that was published in lights of Rana Plaza incident. Here’s another that discusses the risks three major cities in Bangladesh has when it comes to potential major earthquakes.
I understand that these “boring stuff” might not be enough to draw the attention of today’s Facebook generation. But these are real deals. When disaster happens, it happens. Just because a disaster was mild and it didn’t make enough destruction for it to be taken seriously doesn’t mean you should joke about it. It’s just plain stupid.
What Happened in Nepal
While you people were “feeling awesome”, here are real pictures of what happened in a country not so far from ours:
And it does look like people from my friends list are not the only ones “feeling awesome”, as this person tweets:
A quick look over Twitter’s Earthquake search will reveal more latest tweets containing photos and information.
Should There Be Statuses at All?
Some people may say that updating Facebook status is a stupid idea. I’ll say, that depends. If you’re safe, you may want to update your Facebook status. In fact, I did too. These statuses give us the bigger picture to have an idea of how widespread the earthquake — or any event for that matter — was. For example, I wouldn’t immediately know that the earthquake was felt in Delhi too if my friend from that area hadn’t posted this.
So, posting a Facebook status to spread the news is not a bad thing if the person posting that is safe.
I understand that the efforts put into writing this post will go in vain because i) most will probably not read it, and ii) those who do won’t care about it. However, as a conscious person, with the patience and willpower to write, I figured I had to write about these things. It’s okay to have fun. But it’s not okay when the thing you’re making jokes about has the potential to destroy many lives in your own city.