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.