June 19, 2021, 2:31 pm

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PM urges people to be alert to reduce disaster risks

Dhaka: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today called upon the people to be cautious and aware to reduce risks of natural calamities.

“Now, we can know about cyclones earlier with the help of technology . . . be cautious and aware to reduce risks in any disaster,” she said.

The premier was addressing the inauguration and foundation stone-laying ceremony of 215 cyclone and flood shelter centers along with other infrastructures in the city’s Osmani Memorial Auditorium, joining virtually from her official residence Ganabhaban.

She also alerted the people of another cyclone which is approaching nearer, saying the cyclone is forming (in the bay) and due to the modern technology, now it could easily be known how long this will go.

Sheikh Hasina said the government has already started to take adequate precautionary measures. “In-sha Allah, we will remain alert and be able to minimize this hazard,” she hoped.

With State Minister for Disaster Management and Relief Dr Mohammad Enamur Rahman in the chair, secretary of ministry Mohammad Mohsin delivered welcome address.

Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister Dr Ahmad Kaikaus moderated the function from Ganabhaban.

A video titled “Bangabandhu, the Pioneer of Disaster Management” was screened at the onset of the ceremony.

The Prime Minister also exchanged views connecting with the people and beneficiaries at Char Darbesh Bazar of Subarnachar upazila in Noakhali district, Ramkathi village at Uzirpur upazila in Barishal district and at Bangram union in Sadullapur upazila of Gaibandha district.

Of the total facilities, 110 are Multipurpose Cyclone Shelters, 30 Flood Shelters, 30 District Relief Godown-Cum-Disaster Management Information Centers and five Mujib Killas.

The Prime Minister laid the foundation stone of 50 Mujib Killas across the country in the ceremony.

Mentioning that Bangladesh frequently faces various types of natural calamities like cyclone and flood for its geographical location, the Prime Minister said sometimes manmade disasters also hit the country.

“But, we have to move on overcoming all these hazards. We are moving ahead and will continue to proceed where Bangladesh will stand with its head high as a developed and prosperous nation globally,” she said.

Sheikh Hasina said the government had taken a number of measures to tackle the difficulties that appeared in each calamity and prioritized averting any possible loss of human lives.

Talking about the loss of human lives in thunderbolt strikes, she said in the past people used to plant palm-trees near their houses to escape any casualty naturally from the thunderbolts.

“Once people had forgotten it, but now that sense of necessity (planting palm trees) has returned (to people),” she added.

The head of the government said whenever Awami League is in power it takes all-out efforts to save people from any calamity.

She said the government has constructed relief godown-cum-disaster management information centers to provide food support to people quickly during any disaster.

The primer mentioned about the construction of Fire Services Station at each upazila so that firefighters could rush quickly in aid of the people in any calamity.

She recalled Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s move after the cyclone in 1970 where he had developed and trained up 45,000 volunteers to help the people during the natural calamities.

Sheikh Hasina expressed her pleasure over the increased number of female volunteers, saying the female volunteers are now half of the total numbers and in combine all are pulling the country towards development.

Talking about the future generations, she said the government has taken the “Delta Plan-2100” and several “Perspective Plans” along with the National Disaster Management Plan to make Bangladesh a developed nation and protect its people.

The Prime Minister reiterated her call to the people to maintain health safety protocols, saying a worldwide disaster, Covid-19, has appeared as a threat to human lives and that is why everyone should remain protect from its attack by wearing facemask and following other safety rules.

She also briefly highlighted her government’s measures on reducing risk of damages in disasters such as construction of 230 flood and 320 cycle shelter centers across the country in the last few years.

In addition, another 220 cyclone shelter centers at 86 upazilas in 16 districts and 423 flood shelter centers in 247 upazilas have been constructed, she added.

She continued that satellite telephones have been distributed to 13 coastal districts while toll-free “1090” service has been introduced to inform forecast of any disaster and daily weather information.

The premier said the government has distributed 12 emergency pick-up vans, six mobile ambulance boats, four sea search and rescue boats, 12 small marine rescue boats and 30 truck mounted saline water treatment plants.

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