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Dhaka Tribune

Government urged to focus more on risk reduction, rescue operations

Discussants speak at a round-table reviewing the Earthquake Contingency Plan of Dhaka City Corporation

Update : 14 Dec 2017, 01:05 AM

Participants at a round-table discussion on the “Earthquake Contingency Plan of Dhaka City Corporation” on Wednesday said the government needed to focus more on risk reduction and rescue operations.

The Daily Star and Save the Children Bangladesh, in association with Bangladesh Institute of Planners (BIP), organized the event at the BIP office in Dhaka.

Speaking at the event, Dr Khurshid Zabin Hossain, director of the Urban Development Directorate said there was a need for greater coordination and communication between local and national authorities during times of emergency.

“Scientific data suggests that Bangladesh is going to face a major earthquake within the next 150 years,” he said, adding that information of all the buildings in Dhaka city should be collected under the Comprehensive Disaster Management Programme to figure out which structures were most vulnerable and how many occupants they housed at a given time.

“Ironically, government offices are located in older buildings that are most prone to collapse in case of an earthquake,” he added.

Satyabrata Saha, additional secretary of the Disaster Management and Relief Ministry, requested for the Bangladesh Fire Service and Civil Defence to be put under his ministry.

He questioned: "The fire department is not a law enforcement agency, so why should it be under the Home Ministry?"

Bangladesh Fire Service and Civil Defence Director General Brigadier General Ali Ahmed Khan called for setting up emergency operation centres in Dhaka to deal with such disasters efficiently.

Dr Tariq Bin Yousuf, superintendent engineer of Dhaka North City Corporation, said although rescue equipment had been purchased, "people require training to carry out their own search and rescue operations" before the arrival of first responders.

Among others, Dhaka South City Corporation Urban Planner Kazi Hasiba Jahan, Institute of Engineers President Md Kabir Ahmed Bhuiyan, and BIP President AKM Abul Kalam, also participated in the discussion.

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