ERF-a2i celebrates “National Disaster Preparedness Day”

Mar 10, 2016

Bangladesh has often been called one of the most disaster prone countries in the world. Bangladesh government recognized that it was crucial to promote disaster preparedness and management across the country. The government’s efforts towards disaster preparedness, resilience and recovery is highly remarkable. As a result Bangladesh has been observing National Disaster Preparedness Day during March, every year. This year a “National Disaster Preparedness Day” fair was organized on 10th March, at the Osmani Milonayoton Auditorium. 

ERF UNDP, in collaboration with Access to Information - a2i, participated in the fair, and displayed technological innovations in the stall. Such technology is meant to ensure preparedness towards recovery in the aftermath of a national-scale disaster. “Interplanetar”, the drone, one of the displays at the a2i-ERF stall, brought forth by a team of BUET students (M Subbir Parvej, Kumar Deepayan Turja, Nabit Bin Hossain). The Interplanetar can aid in the following ways in face of a disaster: surveillance of remote and affected places, distribution of relief goods/information leaflets to the affected, providing life-jackets for drowning victims, spraying of fire extinguisher. The “Muktibahini”, a rolling robot, was another one of the innovative displays at the ERF-a2i stall, brought forth by the North South Crew (Fatin Hasnath Chowdhury, A S M Muktadiru, Baized Shuvo, S M Hasibul Hoq, Taki Uddin). The Muktibahini can aid in surveillance post-earthquake, survey and communication in a disaster, and remote-control operations. Fair participants quite enjoyed the displays and were intrigued that such technology was locally available to be used in post-disaster situations, which would ensure fast response and early recovery. ERF plans to promote innovations in technology for resilient recovery towards disaster preparedness, in 2016, and complement national efforts in this aspect.

There was also a ceremony held at the auditorium where honorable government stakeholders, recognized the importance of preparedness to disaster. Mr. Md Reaz Ahmed, Additionaly Secretary, Department of Disaster Management (DDM), welcomed all to the event and invited Member of Parliament (MP), Mr. Dhirendra Debnath, to share his thoughts. Secretary of Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief (MoDMR), Mr. Md Shah Kamal, then followed suit, with the Chief Guest, Mr. Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya, Honorable Minister, MoDMR, sharing his concluding remarks thereafter. This was then followed by a ribbon-cutting ceremony, after which the Minister, MP, Secretary and Additional Secretary, made their way through all the fair stalls. 

At a roundtable discussion later, at the “Samakal” office, where all honorable guests and press were present, Secretary (MoDMR) and representative from JICA, echoed Ms. Tanzeba Huq’s (Head of ERF) opinion, the significance of including innovative solutions through means of technology, such as drones, robots, among others. As drones and robots are serving adequately in other countries in the face of post-disaster recovery, these technological innovations were appreciated by all and it was suggested, that such initiatives should be explored further.

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