UK-based The Guardian today carried an article by Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina authored jointly with an international disaster management expert, explaining her government’s strategy in battling “twin perils” of super cyclone Amphan and COVID-19 pandemic an offering the country’s lessens for others.
“Bangladesh has battled the twin perils of a super-cyclone and Covid-19. We can offer lessons for others facing similar danger,” she said in the article,” she wrote in the article titled Fighting cyclones and coronavirus: how we evacuated millions during a pandemic.The premier explained how her government took prompt actions racing against the time while infrastructure were yet to be readied keeping in mind the requirement of physical distancing for COVID-19 while tens of thousands of “reluctant” people were to be evacuated overnight.
“There was no time to lose when Cyclone Amphan began forming over the Indian Ocean in May,” read the article co-authored with Patrick V. Verkooijen, the CEO of Global Center on Adaptation that manages UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon chaired Global Commission on Adaptation.
The article pointed out that mass evacuations appear as a major challenge during most such impending cyclones as people became unwilling to leave their homes unguarded while “this time the challenge was far more complex”.
“People were afraid to move to shelters for fear of the virus. First responders also had to make sure the evacuation itself was not a vector for contagion,” it article read.
It said in a matter of days, Bangladesh prepared almost 10,500 additional shelters on top of 4,171 in existence ones to accommodate evacuees maintaining social distancing while over 70,000 volunteers across coastlines were mobilized simultaneously.
“Masks, water, soap and sanitiser were distributed. The garments industry, reeling from cancelled export orders, retooled production lines to manufacture personal protective equipment,” the article read.