Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today put emphasis on cooperation among the Asia-Pacific nations, especially among neighbours, to combat natural calamities, describing it as very important to face damage of greater magnitude.
“Collaboration among the nations of Asia and the Pacific region, especially among neighbours, is very important in facing damage of greater magnitude from any natural calamity,” she told the inaugural ceremony of the 4th session of the Regional Consultative Group (RCG) on Humanitarian Civil-Military Coordination for Asia and the Pacific at Hotel Inter Continental in the capital this morning.
The premier added:”We would not be able to prevent natural disasters, but we can reduce the extent of damage through our prudent works. In Bangladesh, we are also putting emphasis on mitigation programmes.”
The Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief has organised the three-day event.
Sheikh Hasina also laid stress on undertaking appropriate measures to fight manmade disasters.
“We can’t ignore the manmade disasters like traffic accidents, building fire, building and bridge collapse, terrorist attacks etc. We have to undertake appropriate measures to arrest these disasters,” she said.
The prime minister said the mother earth is facing increased intensity of disaster possibly due to the impacts of climate change.
“The Global Climate Risk Index 2017 published by GERMANWATCH says, from 1998 to 2017, over 0.526 million people died as a direct result of more than 11,500 extreme weather events,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina said the losses incurred between 1998 and 2017 amounted to around USD 3.47 trillion in PPP.
According to the Index, she said, Bangladesh is at the 9th position among 10 most affected counties. In the index of 2014 and 2015, Bangladesh was at the 6th position, she said.
The premier said although Bangladesh has very nominal contribution to the climate change but it is one of the most affected countries by the impacts of global climate change owing to its geographical location.
Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh’s territory experienced many devastated disasters over the period. The most dreadful cyclone in the recent memories happened in 1970 that killed around one million people in the country’s coastal districts, she said.
The premier said with undertaking of various measures, including improvement of early warning generation and dissemination, establishment of cyclone shelters and active engagement of dedicated CPP volunteers in the preparedness and response activities, the mortality from disasters has drastically been reduced in the recent times.
“Now we’re replicating the CPP model for other disasters. This paradigm shift has helped us adapt to the changes of global policy instruments such as Sendai Framework, Sustainable Development Goals and Paris Agreement on Climate Change in 2015,” she said.
As a result, Sheikh Hasina said, Bangladesh is now known as a role model of disaster management and now moving towards building resilience.