The government will plant 1 million palm trees across Bangladesh to avert deaths occurring from lightning strikes.
The move came after several lightning strikes had claimed lives of as many as 450 people last year. And some 82 of them had died in a single day, prompting the ministry to consider thunderstorm a new form of natural disaster alongside nor’wester, cyclone, flood, earthquake, fire, etc.
“The government has listed the lightning strike as a natural disaster, bearing in mind the rising number of deaths from this specific threat,” Abu Sayed Mohammad Hashim, additional secretary of the Department of Disaster Management and Relief, has told the Dhaka Tribune.
“To reduce the number of deaths, the government has already planned to grow a million palm trees across the country,” he said.
Sources at the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief said the government is mulling planting coconut trees as well.
The announcement was made at an event marking National Disaster Preparedness Day 2017 on Friday in the Dhaka’s Osmani Memorial auditorium.
“Disaster preparedness round the clock brings sustainable development” is this year’s theme.
The trees would be planted across the country with special focus placed on haor areas, including Sunamganj, Netrokona, Sylhet and Brahmanbaria, Hashim added.
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Disaster Management and Relief Minister Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury addresses programme marking the National Disaster Preparedness Day 2017 on Friday; March 10, 2017, at Dhaka’s Osmani Memorial auditorium PID
A recent government study reveals that the number of deaths caused by lightning has increased as large trees, including palm and coconut ones, are close to extinction nowadays.
According to environmental experts, such deaths and natural disasters may be prevented to a significant extent if such trees are planted in bulk.
Emergency preparedness and response
In the same programme, Disaster Management and Relief Minister Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury said : “Taking stock of vulnerable communities in coastal areas, the government has been taking an all-out preparedness for disaster response.
“There are cash and food items stored in each of the disaster-prone districts for emergency response. When needed, deputy commissioners can make use of them for affected communities.”
He also urged the people to have immediate weather alerts on their phones by dialing 1090 before they leave home.
“For this, none will have to pay the mobile operators any charge,” the minister informed, underscoring the need for raising awareness about this to trim down natural disasters and resultant sufferings. disasters taking place in their areas,” he said.
President of Disaster Management and Relief related Parliamentary Committee Dhirendra Devnath and Disaster Management and Relief Secretary Shah Kamal have attended the programme.
The event has featured a day-long fair with a display of resources used in and materials related to disaster preparedness, as well as NGO officials and disaster preparedness officials on hand to speak with attendees.