Bangladesh playing a critical, life-saving role in responding to climate-related disasters: Gwyn Lewis

UN Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh Gwyn Lewis has said the government of Bangladesh is playing a critical, and often life-saving role in responding to climate-related disasters.

"Anticipating climate risks is one way we can better support the government to act promptly and mitigate the impacts of disasters. The ultimate goal is to help affected people so that they can recover and get back to normal as soon as possible,” she said thanking the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief for co-organising a meeting to that end.

Strengthening collaboration on disaster risk management for the government-led emergency response was discussed at the first meeting of the Humanitarian Coordination Task Team (HCTT) on Wednesday co-chaired by Secretary of the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief (MoDMR), MD Kamrul Hasan, and the UN Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh, Gwyn Lewis.

The Humanitarian Coordination Task Team meeting was attended by government officials, UN agency focal points, representatives of non-governmental organisations (NGOs), international organisations, the Red Cross Movement and the Red Crescent, and diplomatic missions.

Welcoming meeting participants, Gwyn Lewis spoke about the importance of strengthening joint disaster response efforts so that when a flood or a cyclone hits Bangladesh, people that are impacted are supported in the best and quickest way possible.

The Secretary thanked UN Resident Coordinator Gwyn Lewis for collaborative efforts to implement the 2019 National Plan for Disaster and the Standing Order on Disaster (SoD) and said that the HCTT and cluster collaboration need to transform considering muti-hazard early warning for all, anticipatory action, internal displacement management, and environmental protection.

“Bangladesh is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world. In addition, recent rapid urbanisation has increased the risk of earthquakes as well as man-made disasters. The recent fire incident in Sitakunda, Chittagong district and the protracted floods in Sylhet district reminds us of the necessity of efficient response,” he said, noting that protection and gender should be at the centre of the coordination work.

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Overall, following the June 2022 floods, the Humanitarian Coordination Task Team and its partners mobilised around 20 million US dollars to respond to the most urgent needs reflected in the Government's Flash Flood Response Plan.

Another key achievement of this humanitarian coordination mechanism in 2022 was the creation of the INFORM Sub-national Risk Index of Bangladesh: an open source for risk assessment at the local level that is used to identify vulnerable populations.

Participants of the event talked about ways to enhance collaboration and strengthen humanitarian preparedness and response to climate-related disasters.

HCTT members agreed to improve the disaster risk information system and to coordinate humanitarian work through effective planning, monitoring and resource mobilisation.

The Humanitarian Coordination Task Team (HCTT) is a working group and it was set up in 2012 to provide operational-level support coordinating disaster risk management, preparedness, and response efforts of government, national and international organisations in Bangladesh.

Since 2016, the HCTT collectively raised over 103 million USD for nine different response plans in Bangladesh.

Source: United News of Bangladesh