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At least 329 people have been killed by lightning this year

Symbolic image.
Dhaka /

State Minister for Disaster Management and Relief Enamur Rahman has said that at least 329 people have been killed in lightning strikes in the country in the last nine and a half months this year.

He said all the deaths were in the open. The government is therefore planning to make lightning shelters.

The state minister said this at a press conference on Tuesday ahead of International Disaster Mitigation Day. Like other countries in the world, Bangladesh will also celebrate the day on Wednesday with various arrangements.

In the last decade, there has been a lot of improvement in the preparation of cyclones as well as the establishment of shelters in coastal areas and the management of lives and property on an emergency basis. Although the loss of life and damage in cyclones has been reduced, the risk of disasters like thunderstorms and floods is increasing.

The state minister said lightning was included as a national disaster in 2015. That year, 226 people died in lightning strikes. Then in 2016 391 people died and in 2018 359 people died due to lightning. In 2019 that number decreased a bit, 198 people died that year.

9,000 families affected by river erosion will get houses:

The state minister said 9,445 families affected by river erosion would be given houses this year. Although there was no severe flooding this year, there was widespread river erosion. We have compiled a list of families affected by river erosion. It is seen that 9,445 families have been affected.

Enamur Rahman said the list had been sent to the PM’s office. They will all get a house with 2 percent space.

Highlighting the need to formulate a ‘National Building Code’ to prevent earthquake damage, the state minister said, “We have achieved success in dealing with all disasters, but to be honest, we have not yet achieved such success in earthquakes.” However, if buildings are constructed in the future in accordance with the building code, then they will be earthquake tolerant. Because these are being made as earthquake tolerant of 7.5 magnitude.

Expressing readiness for the International Day for Disaster Reduction, the state minister said Bangladesh, like other countries in the world, is preparing to observe Mujib’s centenary day with ‘due dignity’. At the same time, a celebration has been organized to mark the 50th anniversary of the cyclone preparedness program.

This year the theme of the day is ‘Let’s work together to reduce disaster risk’.

The state minister said Bangladesh is one of the most disaster prone countries in the world due to its geographical location and adverse effects of climate change.

He said the government is now implementing structural and non-structural programs in a planned manner to build a disaster-resistant, sustainable and secure Bangladesh by reducing the loss of life and property in disasters.

On the occasion of Mujib Year, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on May 23 inaugurated 110 multi-purpose cyclone shelters, 30 flood shelters, 30 district relief warehouses, disaster management information centers and five Mujib forts and laid the foundation stone of 50 Mujib forts.

In the time of Bangabandhu, under his direction, earthen forts were built to protect people’s lives and property from cyclones and floods, which are popularly known as Mujib Killa. In its modern form, construction, renovation and development of 550 Mujib forts is underway in 148 coastal and flood prone upazilas.

People will be able to take shelter in these forts in case of disaster. Other times it can be used as a social event and hat bazaar.

320 multi-purpose cyclone shelters for the elderly, pregnant women, children and the disabled have been constructed in the coastal areas. About 256,000 people and 44,000 cattle will be able to take shelter in these shelters.

The government has built 230 two-storey flood shelters for the poor in flood and erosion prone areas, providing shelter to about 92,000 people and 23,000 cattle.

The state minister said 64 district relief warehouses and disaster management information centers are being set up in 66 districts to deliver basic emergency food items to the people after the disaster, most of which have already been completed.

He said 60 multipurpose accessible rescue boats were being provided to 19 flood-prone districts.

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