Disasters on rise in coastal areas due to climate change
Speakers at a discussion yesterday said as the frequency and magnitude of natural disasters has been increasing rapidly in coastal belt due to climate change impacts, the government should take specific steps to protect some 3.48 crore people in the areas.
People living in the coastal belts are becoming more vulnerable day by day, they added.
The speakers said this at the discussion styled 'Climate change and the steps to protect the coastal people' jointly organised by Community Development Centre (Codec) and Weekly 2000 at the National Press Club in the city.
The increased frequency of cyclone and tidal wave not only destructs the houses, embankments, streets and resources of around 710 kilometres area, it also hampers the livelihood of the people living there.
Saline water that entered the cultivable land following two cyclone -- Sidr and Aila -- has increased salinity of the land which will not be able for cultivation even after two to three years, said the local representatives.
They further said that some 140 kinds of fishes are extinct from the Sitakunda estuary in the last few years and the lives of the fishermen are already jeopardised.
A total of 5 unions among 12 of Ramgati upazila have been eroded by the rivers, they said adding that poor maintenance of the embankments, lack of cyclone centres and rehabilitation mechanism for the people of coastal areas made them more vulnerable which should be paid heed by the government.
Furthermore, around 200 ship-breaking yards continue to pollute the environment of coastal belt and leads to increase diseases, they added.
Speaking as the chief guest, Food and Disaster Management Minister Abdur Razzak said the government has already prepared the Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan 2008 for a long-term and sustainable management of disaster.
The government wants assistance from the donor countries for sustainable management of disaster and for setting up water treatment plant to reduce water salinity, he noted.
Dr Atik Rahman said though Bangladesh is efficient in combating cyclone, it is yet to gain efficiency in combating flood that causes huge loss of lives and properties every year.
Dr Ainun Nishat stressed the need to establish more cyclone centres in coastal areas as due to lack of cyclone centres, some 5000 people are forced to stay in a centre that is prepared for 500 people only.
“The issue of climate change and its negative impacts on Bangladesh should be raised in the international forums seriously,” he added.
Kamal Sen Gupta, deputy executive director of Codec, presented a keynote paper.
Former adviser to a caretaker government Rasheda K Chowdhury, Dhirendra Chandra Devnath MP, Kamrul Islam Chowdhury, Akhter Habib, Dr Hamidul Haque and journalist Abdul Momen also spoke.