Satkhira District Climate Advocacy Forum, Shyamnagar Upazila Climate Advocacy Forum and Shyamnagar Upazila Youth Forum have organized meet the press on Saturday (September 10, 2022) at 5:00 pm at Shyamnagar Upazila Press Club Auditorium in collaboration with LEDARS.

Mr. Madhab Chandra Dutta, member secretary of the forum, gave the keynote speech at Meet the Press. LEDARS Executive Committee President and Upazila Climate Advocacy Forum President Valient Freedom Fighter Master Mr. Nazrul Islam, Forum Member and Satkhira Civil Society Convener Mr. Md. Anisur Rahim, Forum Member and Satkhira Civil Society Secretary Mr. Abul Kalam Azad, Executive Director of LEDARS Mr. Mohan Kumar Mondal, Vice President of Shyamnagar Press Club Mr.SM Mustafa Kamal, Forum Member and Journalist Mr. Sharifullah Kaiser Sumon, Member and Journalist Ms Amina Bilkis Moyna, Journalist Mr. Anisuzzaman Sumon, Journalist Mr. M Kamruzzaman given their speech at the press.

Speakers at Meet the Press said climate change is one of the biggest challenges facing humanity today. Cyclones, tidal surges and salinity have increased significantly in the coastal areas of Bangladesh. According to IPCRI data, disasters in the world have increased 10 times. Due to its geographical location, disasters caused in the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean hits Bangladesh 70%+ of the total sea storms that pass over the country across over Satkhira, Khulna and Bagerhat districts. But the infrastructure of this region is very weak. About 5,700 km. embankment is very fragile. There are still many places where the usual high tides can breaches the embankment and can cause inundation. The houses of the people in this area are made of soil, wood and bamboos, which are not disaster tolerant. Shelters are very inadequate in proportion to the population. In every disaster, people’s accumulated savings and wealth are washed away. As a result of the escalating disasters, the people of the southwest coast will suffer huge financial losses every year, including food shortages, health risks, loss of livelihoods, malnutrition, increased diseases due to lack of fresh water. In the coastal areas, salinity has increased by 26% over the past 35 years. 73% people of sub-clan are deprived of clean water. Due to salinity, the production of agricultural crops is decreasing alarmingly. In addition, as a result of increasing salinity, pre-eclampsia, high blood pressure and uterine infections have increased alarmingly among pregnant mothers living in this area.

Key note speaker also said in the Meet the Press that last year 3 mega projects have been approved but their work has not started yet. Coastal people are still living unprotected and inhuman lives. In this context we visited some places on the coast today. The embankment there is very fragile, can be damaged at any time. The bill raised by the Water Development Board last month for repairing the eroding embankment has nothing to do with reality. These vulnerable areas can be flooded at any time during high tide. Besides, unscrupulous fish farmers are pumping salt water by installing illegal ninety pipes. So the embankment is damaged. Water Development Board has no idea about it. Talking to Durgabati victims today, it is known that the dam has been repaired voluntarily and the Water Development Board is showing the expenditure of that money. Due to this arbitrariness of the Water Development Board, the suffering of the coastal people has increased. If this arbitrariness of the Water Development Board is not prevented immediately, the poor people will continue to be poorer because of the damaged embankment.

In the recommendations raised, the speakers said, durable embankments should be provided along the coast, permanent solutions for fresh water should be provided and an integrated plan should be adopted quickly for coastal protection.