On 10.05.22, a press conference was held at the Dhaka Reporters Unity (DRU) auditorium by the non-governmental development organization LEDARS and the civic organization Sundarbans and Coast Protection Movement.

In the press conference, the people representatives and civil society leaders demanded a special allocation in the national budget to deal with the disaster by declaring the southwestern coastal region affected by climate change as a disaster risk area. They recommended the speedy implementation of the projects undertaken by the government for the construction of sustainable embankments and the supply of fresh water and the adoption of necessary new projects.

LEDARS Executive Director Mr. Mohan Kumar Mondal delivered the keynote speech at the press conference. EDAB Director Mr. Jasim Uddin, Member Secretary of Development Dhara Trust Mr. Aminur Rasul Babul, former President of DRU Mr. Rafiqul Islam Azad, General Secretary of National Committee for the Protection of Seaways and Railways Mr. Ashish Kumar Dey spoke at the press conference moderated by Sundarbans and Coastal Protection Movement Coordinator Mr. Nikhil Chandra Bhadra. BMA Office Secretary Dr. Md. Shahidullah, SCAN General Secretary Mr. Moniruzzaman Mukul, Social Welfare Development Organization (SCS) Chairman Ms Jasmine Prema, Faith in Action Program Coordinator Mr. Teeman Bari, Conscious Organization’s Ms Sakila Parveen, Soil Social Development Organization’s Ms Khadija Khatun, Dhaka-based Paikgacha Samiti’s Mr. Jahangir Alam among others attended the press conference.

The recommendations raised in the press conference said that keeping in mind climate change and disasters, permanent and sustainable embankments should be constructed in the coastal areas including Satkhira, Khulna and Bagerhat. Adequate cyclone shelters and preventive measures should be developed in that area. A sustainable and permanent solution must be found for coastal residents’ drinking water. One house one shelter program should be started in sub-urban areas following the model of one house one farm project. To prevent river erosion and land erosion, large-scale tree plantation programs should be undertaken and green belts should be built along the coast. Effective measures should be taken to protect the Sundarbans. Above all Coastal Development Board should be constituted.

According to the press conference, Satkhira, Khulna and Bagerhat districts are the most vulnerable among coastal areas due to geographical location, frequent natural disasters, fragile infrastructure, poverty, long-term salinity, endangered agriculture, etc. Therefore, it is necessary to declare the area as a climate risk area and take a long-term master plan. After the corona situation and super cyclones Amphan and Yaas, the public life has not returned to normal. Instead, large areas of the coast are being flooded by normal tidal water. Therefore, the people of that region have become extremely frightened by the news of the new cyclone ‘Asohni’.

The information of LEDARS research report was highlighted in the press conference and it was informed that in the 16 years from 2004 to 2020, an average of 1 lakh two thousand 489 taka was lost per family in Satkhira and Khulna suburbs in 16 years. Out of this, a family has suffered a maximum loss of Tk 504 million and a minimum of Tk 45,200. It is also said that Bangladesh has faced 197 major natural disasters between 1991 and 2020 due to climate change which has caused the livelihood, wealth, food, water, shelter and other crises of the people of this country. The crisis is most severe in the south-west coastal region. Unless effective steps are taken to overcome this crisis, the southwest coastal region will become desolate in the near future.