A comprehensive and sustainable early warning system needs to be developed to reduce flood damage in the country, a roundtable told yesterday.
The rural population, who are the most affected in flood in the country, could keep their damage to a minimum with the help of modern technologies including telecommunications tools and community radio services, they said.
The Daily Star and Practical Action Bangladesh (PAB), a development organisation, jointly organised the roundtable titled “Flood Early Warning System: Challenges and Prospects” at The Daily Star Centre in the capital.
Government and non-government stakeholders need to work together and encourage youths and schoolchildren to join voluntary programmes as well as the Scouts movement for delivering flood warnings in their neighbourhoods, speakers also said.
They urged the government to build more flood shelters across the country.
Referring to a survey report, PAB Project Manager Kazi Mizanur Rahman said between 2009 and 2014, in comparison with damages caused by any other form of natural disaster, the extent of flood damage was the highest in the country.
Hasin Jahan, country director of PAB, said, “To tackle disaster, we need to take the technology to people's doorstep.”
Asinur Khatun, a flood victim from Sirajganj, explained how a flood warning text massage she had received helped her minimise damage.
“The warning via short messages ahead of the flood last year helped my family take preparation and save crops,” she said.
Moderating the roundtable, Saleemul Huq, director of International Centre for Climate Change and Development, said, “Farmers and women are the worst victims of flood. We need to find ways to reach out to them.”
G Nayeem Wahra, director of Brac Disaster Management and Climate Change Programme, said a large quantity of relief materials could be saved if right information is provided at the right time.
Superintendent Engineer Saiful Hossain of Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre and Palash Mondal of Care Bangladesh, among others, spoke at the roundtable.