Dhaka, 29 April 2014: Today at the National Press Club Auditorium right based organization COAST Trust and Photography institute Counter Foto jointly organized a panel discussion and a photo exhibition titled “Remembering 29 April 1991: Is our coast still safe?”. The honorable Deputy Minister to Environment and Forest Mr. Abdullah Al Islam Jacob MP inaugurates the photo exhibition by clicking on a camera while he was accompanied by the Member of Parliament Mr. Talukdar Mohammad Yunus from Barisal-1 and former MP Mr. Principal Shah Alam.
The front pages of the then national daily newspapers covering the devastating cyclone of 1991 was one theme of the photo exhibition while the other theme was the photographs of the current situation of Bangladesh coast from Cox’s Bazar, Bhola up to world heritage Sundarbans. Renowned photographer of Bangladesh Mr. Din M Shibly and his colleagues took the photographs.
The speakers other than the Deputy Minister and the Parliament Member in the panel discussion were photographer Din M Shibly, BadrulAlam of Bangladesh Krishok Federation, Mr. AminurRasul Babul of UnnayanDhara Trust. Mustafa Kamala Akanda of COAST Trust address the welcome speech while Shawkat Ali Tutul of COAST prerents the keynote paper and SyedAminulHaque, the Deputy Director of COAST Trust moderates the panel discussion.
In his speech Mr. Deputy Minister says, due to the enormous river erosion Bhola island lost its half of the land that it had in 1960 i.e. 6,400 sqkm. In this rate of erosion Bhola will be submerged to the sea by 2050. He adds, Bangladesh is one of the worst affected countries of climate change. And we are not compensated as promised by the rich countries according to their historical responsibility.
Mr. Talukdar M Yunus MP says, we need a long-term plan to develop a permanent protection of our coast from the natural disasters. And the government can’t do it alone. We need all possible helps to do it.
BadrulAlam of Bangladesh Krishok Federation says, Bangladesh is the worst climate affected country and around 30 million people will end up being climate refugees in no time.
AminurRasul Babul of UnnayanDhara Trust says, we need to establish Coastal Development Board as a permanent solution. He encourages the present MP and Deputy Minister to lead.
In his keynote paper Shawkat Ali Tutul of COAST says, a study says we need at least 60 billion Taka to permanently save Bholaisland from the regular tidal surge and cyclones. Accordingly we need to prioritize protecting the people and resources in the coast from the natural disasters.
In his speech the moderator of the discussion Mr. SyedAminulHaque says, it is said that the cyclone in 1991 killed so many people only because we didn’t have enough preparation beforehand to protect the people. But have that preparation now? He adds, there are many small outreach islands in the Bay of Bengal where people don’t the facility to come back to the shore before a cyclone hits.
Photographer Din M Shibly says in his speech, we have to modernize our thinking of old days. We have to modernize the building of embankments to effectively face the cyclones and tidal surges.
Mustafa KamalAkanda of COAST Trust in his welcome address says, the objective of this event is not only remembering the devastating cyclone and loss of lives and resources. Our objectives rather are, to assess our strength and limitation of our coastal management before another cyclone hits Bangladesh.