The recent landslide which is one of the biggest in the country’s history was the result of unplanned development and settlement in the hilly region, experts pointed out on Friday.
Speaking at a discussion, Dhaka University Disaster Management Professor Mahbuba Nasreen said: “Lack of coordination among the policy makers played a major role in creating such an incident,” she also suggested the government to build awareness in order to avoid housing and settlements under the hills.
Civil society members came together at CIRDAP auditorium to speak on the recent landslides that killed more than 160 people. They urged the government to follow and implement planned development in the hilly region to avoid disasters like landslide.
Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon (BAPA), Bangladesh-China Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Bangladesh-China Cultural and Economic Centre and Chinese Embassy jointly organised the discussion.
Analyzing the two largest landslides in Bangladesh the one in 2007 and this year, Dhaka University Geography Professor M Shahidul Islam said both natural and man-made situations can cause landslides.
“Incessant rainfall during monsoon and earthquakes has been reducing the temperament of hills that are mostly made of sandy soil. Naturally, these hills cannot resist the forces of heavy rainfall.
“Another major reason for landslides is when the hills are cut to make way for settlements. Deforestation and trying to supplant traditional Jhum cultivation practices with flat land agricultural practices contribute heavily to destabilising the foundations of hills,” said Professor Shahidul in his keynote speech.
He suggested the government to take the issue seriously considering this year’s landslide a national disaster and take preventative methods accordingly.
Professor Shahidul said the probe report from the 2007 landslide is yet to be published. It has 22 recommendations to the government including coordinated land management and water-shed management.
Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister Rashed Khan Mennon, Syed Abul Moksud, Proffesor Badrul Imam and BAPA secretary general were present at the seminar.