Dhaka, October 13: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday called upon the countrymen to combat natural disasters with courage and vowed to protect them from such calamities in future too.
“Natural disasters would come, but those will have to be tackled with courage. It’s my call to the people of Bangladesh to always remain ready for facing any situation,” she said.
The premier was addressing the inaugural function of the International Day for Disaster Reduction at Osmani Memorial Hall in the capital this morning.
Pointing out that Bangladesh has earned (adequate) capability of combating any disaster, she said the country faces not only natural disasters, it also tackles manmade disasters.
Sheikh Hasina added: “It’s natural that cyclone, flood will come. But those will have to be faced with courage … by the grace of Almighty Allah, Bangladesh has earned that capability.”
She said Bangladesh is disaster-prone country due to its geographical location and is marching forward by facing various risks of natural calamities like flood, drought, cyclone, tornado, river erosion.
“If we stay alert and take timely steps, it’s possible to face any disaster,” she said.
While talking about the global warming, the premier said the impact of global warming falls on Bangladesh, though it’s not responsible for it. We will have to take various preparations to combat global warming.
The prime minister said her government has taken steps to build green belt across the country to save the people from tidal surge and other natural calamities.
She also added: “Directives to this end have already been given and I hope that those who are listening to and watching today’s programme would take proper steps.”
Sheikh Hasina also mentioned that her government has taken initiatives for erecting a green belt around the much-talked-about Rampal Coal-fired Power Plant by planting five lakh trees. She also put emphasis on planting palm trees massively, saying that it reduces loss of life and property from lightning.
The prime minister said her government has constructed 3,851 cyclone shelter centres and wants to raise the number to 6,000 in next five years by giving the centres an institutional shape.
The premier said her government measures for combating natural calamities have been acclaimed across the globe. “The steps we have taken for facing natural disasters are being replicated at the international level,” she said.
The Disaster Management and Relief Ministry organized the event, where Disaster Management and Relief Minister Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya and Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the ministry Dhirendra Devnath Shambhu were present as the special guests.
Shahidul Alam, an inhabitant of Bashkhali area of Chittagong, the most affected area of “Cyclone Roanu” that hit in Bangladesh in May last, and Masuda Begum, a resident of Fulchhari of Gaibandha, the most affected area in recent flood, shared their experiences about disasters.
Ministers, advisers to the Prime Minister, diplomats, high civil and military officials, scouts, Fire Service and Civil Defence personnel and volunteers were present at the function.
This year’s theme of the International Day for Disaster Reduction is “Live to Tell”. However, Bangladesh has fixed its own theme “Tell Strategies to Reduce Disaster” keeping consistency with the international theme.
Earlier, Sheikh Hasina digitally inaugurated 100 cyclone shelter centres and 53 flood shelter centres across the country which the people of concerned areas witnessed live on Bangladesh Television.