Putting up arbitrary road barriers during night time in many neighbourhoods is a potential hindrance to timely firefighting in the capital, said a senior fire fighter at a workshop in the city yesterday.
“At times, we rush to a fire incident but have to take a detour halfway due to road barrier or dug-up roads that delays the fire fighters' arrival to the scene,” said Abul Kalam Azad, senior station officer of Baridhara Fire Station.
Fire department is not kept informed of which city road is undergoing repair or construction work, he said at the workshop titled "Towards a resilient Dhaka city".
Neighbourhood-based welfare societies put up these road barriers in the name of “security”, making many important roads off-limits to public and emergency rescuers like fire fighters, said Azad.
Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) and a Japanese NGO, SEEDS Asia, jointly organised the workshop on World Bank funded "Urban Resilience Project" (URP) and Jica-sponsored "Capacity Building for Community Based Disaster Risk Reduction in Urban Areas of Bangladesh".
Azad, who has served in Gulshan, Banani and Baridhara for last couple of years, said that the fire department has so far trained about 50,000 volunteers out of a targeted 62,000 for disaster management.
DNCC Superintending Engineer Dr Tariq Bin Yusuf, also URP project director, said that coordination among all the agencies concerned is the key to making Dhaka city resilient to disasters.
He said that they are working on drawing up a common map of utility service lines of water, gas and electricity across the city -- something missing at present. Identification of vulnerable market buildings is happening simultaneously, he added.
“Disaster risk reduction is not possible without integration,” he said.
Without risk reduction and resilience, cities will be subjected to immense havoc in the event of disasters -- natural or man-made, said DNCC Chief Engineer Brig Gen Md Jubayer Salehin.
In keeping with the "Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction", the two above-mentioned projects are aimed at building capacity of local communities and agencies concerned in disaster risk reduction.
DNCC Mayor Md Atiqul Islam, among others, was present at the event.