Take smart disaster management policy

28 May, 2021 12:00 AM printer

Bangladesh is known as the land of natural disasters because of its vulnerable geographic location, low-lying and climatic features, flat topography and population density. Every year a number of natural calamities hit the coastal belt of the delta and affect the lives and livelihood of millions of people living in the region. Though the number of death from calamities is decreasing gradually, the people have to suffer economically almost in the same way they did in the past. The recent cyclone Yaas also, despite hitting in India, has claimed at least five lives and damaged property worth hundreds of crores taka though it did not hit Bangladesh directly. The lack of a sustainable resilience plan is one of the main reasons behind such repeated effects.

Almost all government initiatives like building cyclone centres to save lives of coastal people during any natural calamity have been taken focusing on just the moment of disaster rather than working out a sustainable solution. The fact gets proven again as many embankments got damaged and vast swath of coastal areas were submerged even after an indirect hit of Yaas. There are allegations that most of the dykes are not strong enough to repulse the tidal surge and many of the embankments damaged during Cyclone Sidr in 2007 are yet to get repaired. On the other hand, we can take a lesson from cyclone-prone Odisha state in India to plan and inspire people to build pucca houses to keep the impact of any cyclone or other calamities minimal.

We must have such types of development plans to strengthen our fight against natural calamities. The authorities concerned must take housing policy for the region and motivate able people to build storm-resistance houses. Besides, the government should extend its hand to the poor with the view to helping them build such houses. It is important to ensure that the infrastructures constructed to protect people from disasters are well-designated and maintained properly. There is no scope to dilly-dally in this regard as questions of the lives and livelihoods of millions of people are involved in it. When our country will be a developing nation within a couple of years and people of other areas will enjoy modern facilities, why these people will be left behind?