Bangladesh has to increase the scope of disaster management research to sustain achievements in dealing with natural and manmade disasters, experts say.
They said at a Tuesday night virtual seminar that Bangladesh has gained international recognition for its success in dealing with disasters despite being one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world.
Institute of Disaster Management and Vulnerability Studies (IDMVS) of Dhaka University, the Gender Disaster Network (GDN), Bangladesh country hub, organised the webinar "Disaster Risk Reduction-Climate Change Adaptation and Intersectionality: Bangladesh and Global Perspectives," in observance of International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction 2021.
Dhaka University Vice-Chancellor Professor Md Akhtaruzzaman said, "Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is playing an impeccable role in disaster management. Natural disasters are common in Bangladesh and the government is dealing with storms and floods with success."
Professor Akhtaruzzaman said more research is needed at universities to protect the country and its people against natural and man-made disasters. "It will help government policy makers. People need to be made more aware about dealing with disasters. Let them understand what should be done."
Speaking as chief guest, Dr Enamur Rahman, state minister for disaster management and relief, said, "About 2.4 million people in coastal areas were sheltered at cyclone centres during Cyclone Amphan. They have also been helped during the pandemic and the government is working on increasing our capacity like developed countries to carry out rescue operations in any disaster."
"We have a National Disaster Management Policy. Around 550 Mujib forts are being built and renovated to protect people in coastal regions from cyclones and floods. Volunteers are being trained under the Cyclone Preparedness Programme (CPP) and the number of volunteers is now more than 76,000," he said.
Md Mohsin, secretary of the ministry of disaster management and relief, said at the webinar that while mostly developed countries are responsible for climate change, it is coastal people in developing countries like Bangladesh that are suffering.
Professor Dr Mahbuba Nasreen, pro-vice-chancellor of Bangladesh Open University and regional lead of Gender Responsive Resilience and Intersectionality in Policy and Practice (GRRIPP), South Asia, said women and children are the most affected by disasters.
"People in the coastal areas of the country are [somehow] surviving, coping with natural disasters like storms and tidal surges. The government has been able to involve the people in facing disasters and various local and foreign organisations are working with the government. As a result, Bangladesh is ahead of other countries in disaster management."
Mihir R Bhatt, founder and director of All India Disaster Mitigation Institute (AIDMI), and Professor Khondoker Mokaddem Hossain, founder and director of IDMVS DU, also talked at the webinar.