Dr Enamur Rahman, state minister for disaster management and relief, has said Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman brought about a shift in paradigm of disaster management from relief-based approach to early warning and preparedness.
"Carrying the legacy of Bangabandhu, his daughter Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has made the country a role model for the world in terms of disaster risk reduction," he further said at an international webinar held at BIAM auditorium in the capital on Thursday.
The event entitled "Bangladesh towards cyclone resilience through the legacy of Bangabandhu and Sheikh Hasina" was organised by the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief.
Enamur Rahman said, "Coastal people in the then East Pakistan were clueless about what to do after the deadly cyclone of 1970. Hostile Pakistani rulers were not beside the distressed. On the contrary, Bangabandhu raised voice to support the people devastated by the catastrophe halting a much-needed election campaign.
While efforts were being made to rebuild the war-torn country after the Liberation War, Bangabandhu took a very quick stance to prevent death by combating natural hazard through proactive natural disaster management by ensuring community engagement, he maintained.
"Bangabandhu's vision and people-centred policies are still relevant for Bangladesh, Asia pacific region and beyond.
"Bangabandhu believed in prevention, and thus, promoted an early warning system and preparatory disaster risk reduction initiatives. A large scale paradigm shift occurred from relief based management to preparedness and early action."
"This eventually led to the formulation of a strong government framework and substantial national allocation on disaster risk management, making Bangladesh an International champion in disaster risk reduction and resilience.
"We are a blessed nation. In the absence of Bangabandhu, we have found Sheikh Hasina, our honourable prime minister. She has taken the charge to strengthen the legacy that the Father of the Nation had started.
"The prime minister has reinforced disaster risk management as a significant factor for the country's development towards a Golden Bangla. With the premier's dedicated vision and strong will, our government has set an example in disaster risk reduction for the world," he continued.
Enamur said, "The comparison of 1970 and 2021 in Bangladesh disaster management condition is an evidence of the progress the country has made.
"The drop of death toll from more than a million in 1970 to a single digit in recent times is one of the indicators of Bangladesh's role model leadership, persistence commitment, dedication and participation in disaster management system."
Representatives of international, regional organisations on disaster management, university teachers from home and abroad spoke in the webinar.