The Government of Bangladesh today expanded its cyclone preparedness to include earthquake readiness.
Bangladesh also issued a policy directive requiring that risk assessment be integrated into all development projects.
The UN envoy responsible for disaster risk reduction today applauded Bangladesh for boosting its disaster preparedness efforts.
“I am heartened to hear that the same dedication which the country has devoted to protecting the population from cyclones is now being applied to earthquake risk.” – Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction Margareta Wahlstrom
Ms. Wahlstrom is on a three-day visit to Bangladesh as the country marks its National Disaster Preparedness Day today.
She stresses that the world only need look to recent tragic events in Haiti, Japan and Turkey to understand the reality of this risk.
Reports says more than a third of the population, over 40 million people, live in seismic zones.
UNISDR supports the full implementation of the Bangladesh National Building Code as an important first step towards minimizing casualties, Ms. Wahlstrom reported.
Bangladesh is all too familiar with the impact of extreme weather events and which the United Nations chief hailed as a global leader in disaster risk reduction.
Bangladesh is considered to be particularly vulnerable to a rise in sea levels and intense cyclones.
The country is ranked by the Asian Development Bank as the Asian country most vulnerable to climate change.
In 1991, a cyclone killed more than 140,000 people in the South Asian nation. Then in 2007, when another major cyclone struck, many volunteers helped move thousands of people out of the disaster area, ultimately saving countless lives. The death toll from that tragedy was 4,000.
A cyclone in 1970 also killed as many as 500,000 people. Cyclones in 1991 and 1997 each left 150,000 people dead.
Bangladesh has made successful national effort to prepare for the worst-case scenario through planning, effective early warning, social mobilisation and putting in place the shelters necessary to save lives.