3 June 2009

Govt to seek help from devlopment partners

The government prefers seeking assistance from the development partners for permanent solutions like setting up more cyclone shelter centres and infrastructures to save the coastal people, rather than funding for seminars and workshops. “There are only around 2200 cyclone shelter centres, and 2000 more are needed. We will approach internationally in next 15 to 20 days for such centres…spending money for seminars and workshops won't do anything to the victims,” Food and Disaster Management Minister Dr Abdur Razzaque said yesterday. Addressing a press conference at the ministry, he said the government would seek assistance from the international community for permanent solutions to the coastal people. The decision in this regard will be taken in a meeting of External Relations Division tomorrow, Razzaque told newsmen. Meanwhile, State Minister for Religious Affairs Shahjahan Miah, State Minister for Local Government and Rural Development Jahangir Kabir Nanak, Health Minister Dr AFM Ruhul Haque and Adviser to the Prime Minister Dr Mashiur Rahman have been entrusted with the responsibility of coordinating the emergency relief operations in Patuakhali, Barisal, Bhola, Satkhira and Khulna districts. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina appointed them for the task on Monday's cabinet meeting, following allegation of lack of coordination in providing relief materials in the areas affected by the cyclone on May 25, Abdur Razzaque said. Armed Forces Division (AFD), meanwhile, at another press briefing at Dhaka Cantonment yesterday said 1,500 people from army, navy and air force are deployed in the rescue and relief operation and will continue their operation until people return to normal life. Abdur Razzaque said the government was planning short, medium and long-term initiatives to rehabilitate the Aila-affected people. Immediately, Tk 116 crore has been allocated to repair flood protection embankments, but total repair of the embankment will require Tk 416 crore. Army will exclusively work in three upazilas to repair the embankment, he said. According to the official statistics, so far 179 people died, while 7153 were injured and overall 34,19,528 people were affected by the cyclone that ripped through 11 districts. Damages in the cyclone include around 6 lakh houses, over 6000 kilometres roads and 1,493 kilometres embankments. Over 10 lakh livestock died, while crops on over 3 lakh acres of land damaged. “The cash or relief materials food, water, medicines we are providing are enough. We will increase the amounts if necessary,” Dr Abdur Razzaque said, expecting that the affected people will soon be able to recover their losses. The diarrhea situation is also under control, he said, adding that 34 medical teams of army and navy have been deployed to treat diarrhea patients.Brig Gen Qazi Abidus Samad, director (operations and plan) of AFD, at the press briefing at Dhaka Cantonment called upon the media to focus on the Aila-affected areas where armed forces could not reach. Lt Col Main Ullah Chowdhury, GSO-1 (Joint Operations) of Operations and Plan Directorate of AFD, said so far the armed forces distributed 36.5 tons of dry food, drinking water, water purification tablets, and cloths. Pure water is being supplied to affected people through 16 water treatment plants, he said.