Dhaka not prepared for quake, tsunami disasters: seminar

Bangladesh is not necessarily prepared for earthquake and tsunami disasters although it is comparatively prepared to deal with some other natural disasters such as flood and cyclone, speakers at a seminar has said.

Speakers at the seminar, organized by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Alumni Association, on "Disaster Management in Bangladesh" Saturday said that the country often fails to handle common natural disasters despite having infrastructures, The Daily Star reported here on Sunday.

Minister for Food and Disaster Management Chowdhury Kamal Ibne Yusuf said at the seminar that the preparation of Bangladesh for cyclone and flood management is quite efficient, which is internationally recognized.

To tackle other natural disasters such as quake and arsenic contamination, the country needs help not only in terms of money but also in terms of expertise, he said.

Akio Arai, resident representative of JICA, said JICA's cooperation for disaster management in Bangladesh is based on four components -- reduction and prevention of damage from disaster, strengthening of disaster management system, emergency disaster relief and reconstruction.

Giasuddin Ahmed Chowdhury, Executive Director of the center for Environment and Geographic Information Services, recommended strengthening people's participation in disaster management and upgrading coastal embankments to provide greater safety.

Besides, Chowdhury said, there must be a national master plan to check river erosion as it is one of the major causes of poverty.

Dr Aslam Alam, deputy team leader of Comprehensive Disaster Management Program of the government said the government has started the process to establish a Disaster Management Information Center with links to all districts headquarters. Funded by the European Commission, the center will have links to 50 percent of the subdistricts at the initial stage, he said.

Earlier, a study conducted by a leading Bangladeshi earthquake expert and funded by Tokyo University said that a major earthquake in Dhaka or its neighboring districts could cause more than 24,000 houses to collapse in the capital, causing damages of over 160 billion taka (2.4 billion U.S. dollars).

Source: Xinhua

People's Daily Online --- http://english.people.com.cn/