The country’s early disaster warning is also appreciated abroad. Bangladesh’s early warning system has been lauded at the inaugural ceremony of the Disaster Warning Research Center at University College London (UCL).
The official inauguration of the virtual center was announced on Wednesday (June 30) with the participation of representatives from different countries. The Secretary of the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief said the event was a unique example of early warning. Mohsin was invited to share his experience in Bangladesh.
Md. In his presentation, Mohsin said that after independence in 1971, Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman took disaster risk reduction activities instead of relief-based disaster management.
In 1972, with the establishment of the Cyclone Preparedness Program (CPP), he formally launched an early warning system. The CPP is playing an important role in promoting cyclone warnings among at-risk communities to save the lives and resources of coastal communities.
The Disaster Management Secretary said Bangabandhu started the CPP’s journey with 18,000 volunteers who have been playing a vital role in protecting people’s lives through early warning and search and rescue operations.
The number of CPP volunteers has increased to 76,020 under the direction of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the worthy daughter of Bangabandhu. Fifty percent of these volunteers are women.
He further mentioned that there are modern weather radar and forecasting systems all over the country. There are more than 5,000 multi-purpose cyclone shelters along the coast. Educational institutions are used as shelters in emergencies.
Giving a comparative picture of the loss of life in the disaster, the Disaster Management Secretary said that more than one million people lost their lives in the cyclone of 1970. Under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the death toll from cyclones of the same magnitude has come down in recent times.
Director of the inaugural ceremony of the Disaster Warning Research Center. Representatives from a variety of universities and organizations were present, including Carina Fernley, Deputy Director Professor Ilan Kelman, Professor Maureen Fordham, Director of the UCL Center for Gender and Disaster, and Alice Bennett, Early Warning Specialist at Liverpool Hope University.
Dr. Kareena Fernley attributed the success of Bangladesh’s disaster warning system to effective policy and strong institutional structure, advanced technology, and skilled human resource warning centers, well-trained volunteers in humanitarian service, an adequate number of shelters, and community involvement. He also remarked that Bangladesh’s early warning system is internationally acclaimed and should be followed.
Professor Maureen Fordham said it was important to create an environment for women to develop leadership at all levels of disaster risk management. The leadership of women in the early warning system of Bangladesh is especially commendable.
Early Warning expert Alice Bennett said Bangladesh’s cyclone preparedness program was a rare example due to the large number of volunteers participating. In this process, disaster-prone countries can take initiatives to reduce their catastrophic losses.