Urging all concerned to strictly follow the building code in constructing any structure to avert possible damages and loss of lives in any disaster, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday emphasised setting up separate units in every forces including the Army, Navy and Air Force to respond to the disasters.
“We have associated every forces (Army, Navy, Air Force, BGB, RAB, Police and Ansar) in tackling disasters…there should be separate units in every force for tackling disasters as well as imparting proper training,” she said hoping to conduct such training in each and every institution in future, reports UNB.
The PM was addressing a function, marking the ‘International Disaster Reduction Day’, at the Bangabandhu International Conference Center (BICC) in the city.
Organised by the Disaster Management and Relief Ministry, Social Welfare Minister Enamul Haque Mostafa Shaheed and UN Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh Neal Walker spoke on the occasion as special guests.
Disaster Management and Relief Minister AH Mahmood Ali presided over the function while its Secretary Mesbah ul Alam gave the address of welcome.
The day is being observed in the country as elsewhere across the globe to raise awareness about how people are taking action to reduce their risk to disasters. This year’s of day is ‘Living with Disability and Disasters’.
Speaking as the chief guest, Hasina mentioned that there is a tendency among the country’s people not to follow the building code while making any infrastructure.
“I appeal to all to give special attention on following the building code as the people’s life is above everything,” she said. “We have experience of huge loss of lives and damages… we’ll have to abandon the mindset of constructing a building by any means and thus earn from it.”
Referring to the Rana Plaza building collapse on April 24 this year in Savar, she said the members of Army, Navy, Police, BGB and RAB joining hands with the local people worked relentlessly to conduct the 21-day rescue operation, which was perhaps rare in the world.
The prime minister noted that it is not possible for the government alone to associate the physically challenged people in disaster preparedness and post- disaster management.
She said: “All men and women of the society would have to take equal responsibility to this end. Apart from ensuring their welfare, we’ll have to give special attention so they (physically challenged) are not affected in any kind of disaster.”
Hasina said Bangladesh already received international acclaim for its achievements in post-disaster management of cyclone and flood.
She said the physically challenged people face more risk than others in case of any disaster “So, the association of physically challenged people in disaster risk reduction is indispensable,”
The prime minister mentioned that Bangladesh every year faces various natural and human made disasters like cyclone, flood, drought, river erosion and landslide apart from the recent phenomenon of adverse impacts of climate change. She said: “The frequency of disasters and their intensity are gradually increasing, and also the extent of losses,”
Hasina said that her government has already enacted the ‘Disaster Management Act-2012’ and formulated the ‘Cyclone shelter construction, maintenance and management policy-2011’.
Mentioning that her government has also formulated the National Disaster Management Plan 2010-2015, she said an agreement has been signed for exchange of information and extending cooperation among the SAARC countries in disaster risk management.