Yesterday was April 29.
More than two decades ago, on that very day in 1991, Gorky, a tropical cyclone with a wind speed of 155 miles [around 249 kilometres] per hour struck the coastal areas of southern Bangladesh.
The category 5 hurricane claimed 1.38 lakh lives and left around 1 crore people homeless. It also damaged properties worth US $1.5 billion, making it one of the world's deadliest tropical cyclones.
“Though 27 years have passed, many survivors still have not been able to return to normality. Rather, they had to face new cyclones like Sidr, Aila, Mahasen and Roanu,” said Shawkat Ali Tutul, assistant director of Coast Trust.
Tutul was addressing a human chain organised in front of Jatiya Press Club in the capital to mark the occasion.
The government should prioritise building infrastructure in the coastal areas that may withstand natural disasters, he said.
Thirty rights organisations including Online Knowledge Society, ARPAN, Alok Jatra, UDDIPAN, Udayan Bangladesh, Unnayan Dhara Trust, SDO, Coast Trust, National Women Farmers Association, National Workers Alliance and Disaster Forums organised the human chain.
Mostofa Kamal Akanda, assistant director of Coast Trust who moderated the event, demanded that a portion of the money being spent for the Rohingyas should be allocated for the locals as they were being affected by the refugee influx.
The organisations also placed a 25-point demand during the programme. The demands include increasing government support for the coastal people; community radios in coastal and char areas; taking steps to prevent salinity and ensuring alternative source of water.
CTG COMMEMORATES THE VICTIMS
Speakers at a programme organised to commemorate those who died during cyclone Gorky emphasised the need for building an effective framework to fight such catastrophe and save people from natural disasters.
Coastal Development Foundation organised the event at a convention centre in the port city's Jamal Khan area, reports our staff correspondent.
Muslem Uddin, an associate professor of marine science at Chittagong University, said, “Over the years, we've been able to reduce the casualties caused by cyclones, yet there are many things left to be done.”
Terming Bangladesh geographically vulnerable, he said an effective framework is a must to save people from natural disasters.
Kamal Hossain, president of the foundation, who chaired the event, echoed him.
Meanwhile, Disaster and Development Organization organised another programme at Silpakala Academy. Speakers at the event called for an effective strategy to help coastal people fight natural disasters.
SAVE HATIA FROM EROSION
Meanwhile, Hatia River Erosion Protection Committee formed a human chain in front of Jatiya Press Club in the capital yesterday, demanding protection of lives and land from river erosion.
From 1960 to 2017, around 250 square kilometre area in Hatia went into the river Meghna, said Mosaddeque Chowdhury, president of the committee.
The speakers demanded that the government take immediate steps to save Hatia from river erosion.
They said Boyar Char, Kering Char, Noler Char, eastern part of Char Isshar, western part of Char King and parts of Tamraddi and Sonadia unions were under a constant threat from river erosion.