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Preparation for earthquake management ‘almost zero’

Despite being one of the most disaster-prone countries, Bangladesh’s preparation for earthquake management is “almost zero”, a top government official said on Wednesday while announcing a Tk 350 crore preparedness project.

Food and Disaster Management Secretary Mokhlesur Rahman said, “This year we have procured some equipment for earthquake management, but this is totally insufficient for our existing buildings… for this the preparation for earthquake management in the country is almost zero.”

Mokhlesur Rahman was speaking at the inaugural ceremony of a training workshop titled ‘Integrating Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation Measures into Development Planning and Processes in Bangladesh’.

Food and Disaster Management Ministry and the Comprehensive Disaster Management Programme (CDMP) have jointly organised the two-day training workshop at Dhaka Sheraton Hotel.

Division chief of General Economic Division of the Planning Ministry Fakrul Ahsan and CDMP Chief Technical Advisor and Team Leader Ian Rector, among others, spoke at the function chaired by Director (Planning) of Disaster Management Bureau (DMB) ASM Abdullah.

Representatives from 11 ministries are participating in the training workshop, aimed at working out strategies for integrating disaster management and adaptation to climate change with the country’s development paradigm amid growing risks of calamity.

Mokhlesur Rahman, also the National Project Director of CDMP, said most of the cyclone shelters in the disaster-prone areas of the country are vulnerable and the shelters are not sufficient for protecting all people during disasters like cyclones or floods.

He said the government has taken a comprehensive programme to withstand and adapt to any sort of disaster, including earthquake and cyclone.

“We will take up a Tk 350 crore Comprehensive Disaster Management Programme in January 2010 for five years. The CDMP-2 will be funded by British donor agency DFID, the European Commission and UNDP,” the Food and Disaster Management Secretary told the function.

He said under the CDMP-1 they have already prepared all data on disaster-management preparation in the country.

About latest developments, the Secretary said, “We will train up 62,000 volunteers in Dhaka, Chittagong and Sylhet metropolitan areas within three years to increase the government initiatives towards adapting to disasters while at least 600 people from the regions have been trained already.”

Mokhlesur Rahman said over the years they have reduced the mortality rate from disasters by introducing disaster-alarm systems but the volume of cattle losses has been increasing day by day, resulting in a very big problem.

The official urged the government to take specific plans for constructing new structures with at least Richter-scale 7.5 adaptable capacity.

CDMP Chief Technical Advisor and Team Leader Ian Rector said in Bangladesh, disaster-and climate-change impacts seriously undermine development pursuits, while questioning gains from past efforts.

He said the overarching challenge for the government is to understand and interpret development risks from disasters and climate change in the coming decades, and integrate risk-reduction and-response measures into annual, mid- and long-term plan processes.

CDMP institutional Expert M Syeedul Haque said the training workshop would provide selected participants from different ministries with an overview of the development risks, policies, institutions and processes for risk-reduction planning, and implementation guidelines for integration of DRR and CCA into development planning and processes.

He also said the workshop would provide the basis to carry forward the actual task of integration in different Ministries among professionals when they apply ‘experiential learning and practice’ within their respective planning processes using the step-by-step integration process.

CDMP will facilitate all participants of the training workshop, their respective Ministries, agencies and departments in understanding the contexts of disaster and climate-change risks to development planning and achievement, in the assessment and identification of response (risk reduction) to the risks, and in addressing them in development plans and processes.

Source: The New NAtion

Added on - August 20, 2009 | Filed under General