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PM: Combat natural disasters with courage

  • Published at 03:03 pm October 13th, 2016
  • Last updated at 01:57 am October 14th, 2016
PM: Combat natural disasters with courage
"(Natural) disasters would come, but those will have to be tackled with courage ... it's my call to the people of Bangladesh to always remain ready for facing any situation," she said. She added: "We must take such steps so that the people of the country are not affected by the natural calamities in future." The premier was addressing the inaugural function of the International Day for Disaster Reduction at Osmani Memorial Hall in the capital Thursday morning, reports BSS. The Disaster Management and Relief Ministry organized the event, where Disaster Management and Relief Minister Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya and Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the ministry Dhirendra Devnath Shambhu were present as the special guests. Secretary of the ministry Md Shah Kamal presided over the function, while Director General of the Directorate of Disaster Management Mohammad Riaz Ahmed delivered the welcome address. Shahidul Alam, an inhabitant of Bashkhali area of Chittagong, the most affected area of "Cyclone Roanu" that hit in Bangladesh in May last, and Masuda Begum, a resident of Fulchhari of Gaibandha, the most affected area in recent flood, shared their experiences about disasters. Ministers, advisers to the Prime Minister, diplomats, high civil and military officials, scouts, Fire Service and Civil Defence personnel and volunteers were present at the function. This year's theme of the International Day for Disaster Reduction is "Live to Tell". However, Bangladesh has fixed its own theme "Tell Strategies to Reduce Disaster" keeping consistency with the international theme. Earlier, Sheikh Hasina digitally inaugurated 100 cyclone shelter centres and 53 flood shelter centres across the country which the people of concerned areas witnessed live on Bangladesh Television. Pointing out that Bangladesh has earned (adequate) capability of combating any disaster, the prime minister said the country faces not only natural disasters, it also tackles manmade disasters. "It's natural that cyclone, flood will come. But those will have to be faced with courage ... by the grace of Almighty Allah, Bangladesh has earned that capability," she said. She said Bangladesh is disaster-prone country due to its geographical location and is marching forward by facing various risks of natural calamities like flood, drought, cyclone, tornado, river erosion. "If we stay alert and take timely steps, it's possible to face any disaster," she said. Mentioning that her government's aim is to save the people from any calamity, Sheikh Hasina said the government has been implementing various programmes to achieve the goal. "It's my firm belief that if we continue our work, we would be able to protect the people from any disaster Insha Allah," she said. While talking about the global warming, the premier said the impact of global warming falls on Bangladesh, though it's not responsible for it. We will have to take various preparations to combat global warming. The prime minister said her government has taken steps to build green belt across the country to save the people from tidal surge and other natural calamities. "Directives to this end have already been given and I hope that those who are listening to and watching today's programme would take proper steps," she said. Sheikh Hasina also mentioned that her government has taken initiatives for erecting a green belt around the much-talked-about Rampal Coal-fired Power Plant by planting five lakh trees. She also put emphasis on planting palm trees massively, saying that it reduces loss of life and property from lightning. The prime minister said her government has constructed 3,851 cyclone shelter centres and wants to raise the number to 6,000 in next five years by giving the centres an institutional shape. The premier said her government measures for combating natural calamities have been acclaimed across the globe. "The steps we have taken for facing natural disasters are being replicated at the international level," she said. The prime minister said Bangladesh has set an example in disaster management in the world due to its infrastructural activities and the participatory culture of volunteers and local people. In this connection, she said various countries and donor agencies had predicted that two crore people would die in the 1998 deluge. "But our government efficiently handled that flood by proving their prediction wrong," she said. She said the United Nations has adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Sendai Framework for Risk Reduction and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. "The SDGs could be ensured in disaster-prone country like Bangladesh through development of the "Risk Informed" activities," she said. The premier said Bangladesh would be turned into a middle-income country by 2021 and a developed one by 2041 if a plan is undertaken and implemented through coordination of the Sendai Framework for Risk Reduction and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change with the SDGs. Elaborating various effective measures to minimize the loss of life and property caused by different natural calamities, Sheikh Hasina said her government established "Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief" and "Directorate of Disaster Management" in 2012 while the Disaster Management Act was passed in parliament in the same year to effectively face disasters. She said the government formulated National Disaster Management Plan 2010-2015 and Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan-BCCSAP to face the disasters due to climate change as well as formed Climate Change Trust Fund to implement the plan. Besides, she said, the government already prepared more than 55 thousand Cyclone Preparedness Program volunteers and 32 thousand urban volunteers to instantly respond to any kind of disasters.
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