Special allocation in budget required for SW coastal districts: Civil society leaders

Civil society leaders on Tuesday demanded special allocation in the 2022-23 fiscal’s budget for facing natural disasters in the country’s southwestern coastal areas, which are very vulnerable to climate change.

They also demanded that Satkhira, Khulna and Bagerhat districts be declared as disaster-prone areas, and also to take necessary measures to protect the people and their property from the damage caused by natural calamities.

The demands were made from a press conference in Dhaka Reporters Unity jointly organised by Local Environment Development and Agricultural Research Society (LEDARS), a non-government organisation, and Sundarbans and Coastal Belts Protection Movement (SCBPM).

LEDARS’ executive director Mohan Kumar Mandal presented his keynote in the press conference moderated by Coordinator of SCBPM Nikhil Chandra Bhadra.

The press conference was informed that in the 16 years from 2004 to 2020, the average annual loss per family in the coastal areas of Satkhira and Khulna was Tk 102,479 (over Tk 1 lakh). Families suffered a maximum loss of Tk 50.40 lakh and a minimum loss of Tk 45,200.

Bangladesh faced a total of 198 major natural disasters in between 1991 and 2020 due to climate change, which created different crises including livelihood, resources, food, water, and shelter of the people of the coastal belts.

Among others, Member Secretary of Unnayan Dhara Trust Aminur Rasul Babul, former president of DRU Rafiqul Islam Azad, BMA office secretary Dr. Md. Shahidullah, SCAN general secretary Moniruzzaman Mukul, SKUS chairman Jasmine Prema, Faith in Action Program Coordinator Timon Barai also spoke at the press conference.

In his presentation, Mohan Kumar Mandal urged the government to implement the undertaken government’s projects, including construction of sustainable coastal embankments and supply of potable water and taking new projects for the people of disaster-prone areas.

Speakers raised demands at the press conference include setting up adequate cyclone shelters and preventive measures in the coastal areas, ensuring sustainable solution for coastal potable water and taking effective measures to protect the Sundarbans.

The other demands also include formation of a coastal development board to look after the coastal people facing frequent natural disasters, fragile infrastructure, poverty, long-term salinity and endangered agriculture.

Source: United News of Bangladesh