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Rights groups demand

Protect people vulnerable to disaster

30 April 2018

UNB, Dhaka :
Rights bodies on Sunday demanded for prioritising disaster and climate-resilient infrastructures for the coastal and disaster prone population.
Disaster and climate-tolerant infrastructures should get the first priority otherwise coastal and disaster prone population will leave their own inhabitant and create extra burden in the big cities like Dhaka and Chattogram, they said at a human chain programme in front of the National Press Club on Sunday.
The human chain was formed to in remembrance of devastating cyclone victims of 29th April 1991. It was organised by 30 rights groups, including, Online Knowledge Society, ARPAN, Coast Trust, Bangladesh Bhumihin Samity, Alok Jatra, UDDIPAN, Udayan Bangladesh, Unnayan Dhara Trust, SDO, National Women Farmers Association, , National Workers Alliance, Disaster Forums, Dak Diye Jai, Dwip Unnayan Sonhstha, PSI, Palli-Bangla Unnayan Sangtsha, Bangladesh Workers Federation, Bangladesh Association of Farm Labour Federation,
BDPC, Muktir Dak , Labor Resource Center, SANGRAM , CDP, Sankalpo Trust, Nature Campaign, NIRAPAD, Prantojon and DACOP.
Mustafa Kamal Akand of COAST Trust moderated the human chain, while Shawkat Ali Tutul from the same organization read out the position paper and the demands.
Among others Abdul Kader Hazari of ARPAN, Subal Sarker of Bangladesh Bhumihin Samity, Zayed Iqbal Khan of Bangladesh Krishak Federation, Tajul Islam of Disaster Forum and Laila Kabir of BDPC also spoke on the occasion.
In his position paper, Shawkat Ali Tutul said, in last 27 years after the devastating cyclone of 1991 there was a little initiative from the government to construct disaster and climate resilient infrastructures in Bangladesh. But government emphasised mega projects like metro rail, power generation, bridges, flyovers, four-lane roads, multi-storeyed building, and expressways.
"This is true that a country like Bangladesh needs such growth oriented developments but disaster and climate-tolerant infrastructures should get the first priority otherwise coastal and disaster prone population will leave their own inhabitants and create extra burden in the big cities like Chattogram and Dhaka," he said.
Abdul Kader Hajari said, every year, the tidal and floodwater inundates hundreds of acres of land in the island, coastal land with saline water. Coastal people are facing the challenges with their own capabilities.
He demanded to increase government support in the livelihood activities of the people of these chars (shoals) and coastal people.
Laila Kabir said, the ground water layer mostly of hilly areas and other parts of the country has gone down. Bangladesh will face severe water crisis in the future if there is no control of the underground water lifting and more surface water is not stored and harnessed.
She also urged the government to allow more community radio in the chars and coastal areas so that the weather forecasting, news and cautionary signals are easily accessible to the people.

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