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Considering the vulnerability to earthquakes in Rangpur, Tangail, Sunamganj and Rangamati, the Department of Disaster Management (DDM) part of the National Resilience Programme (NRP), signed an MoU on 04 September at the DDM conference room with Rangpur City Corporation, and the municipalities of Tangail, Sunamganj, and Rangamati.

The Project Director of the NRP:DDM part and the Mayors of Rangpur City Corporation and Tangail, Sunamganj, Rangamati municipalities signed four separate Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) on behalf of their respective agencies.

Under the MoUs the municipalities will work closely with project representatives in revisiting existing assessments and conducting vulnerability assessments to identify the major hazards and risks as well as appropriate options for building capacities of the institutions, including all Disaster Management Committees (DMCs), volunteers and the at-risk communities.

The purpose of the initiative is to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of disaster response management through the clarification of goals, operational frameworks, and coordination mechanisms, procedures. Dr. Md. Enamur Rahman, Honourable State Minister, Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief (MoDMR), said in his speech as chief guest, “We have made a lot of progress on nonstructural measures in earthquake preparedness. A gap remains in developing structural responses to earthquakes. Bangladesh can learn a lot from Japan and becoming zero earthquake loss is our goal. Rangpur city, and the municipalities of Tangail, Sunamganj, and Rangamati are particularly under risk of earthquakes. Through this MoU, they will receive full support from NRP. I welcome this initiative wholeheartedly and extend my gratitude to the UK government’s Department for International Development (DFID), Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for this initiative.” 

“Bangladesh has already taken important measures in earthquake preparedness, such as risk assessments for 10 major cities, including Dhaka, urban volunteers trainings, contingency plans, training drills, etc.’ Mr. Shah Kamal, Senior Secretary, Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief (MoDMR), said in his speech as chair, “With the singing of these MoUs, we work with the municipalities in more depth. Within NRP’s plan the local government institutions will have to work more in depth towards earthquake resilience”.

Md. Mohsin, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief, explained the subject matter and scope of the MoU.

Sudipto Mukerjee, Resident Representative of UNDP Bangladesh, was present as a special guest at the signing ceremony. “The destructive and deadly hazards associated with earthquakes pose a real and serious threat to the lives of people, property damage, economic growth and development of the country. The earthquake risk for Bangladesh is doubly high when one considers its rapid urbanisation,” he said in his speech, “It is therefore imperative for the municipalities to plan for development with pertinent earthquake preparedness and risk management options built into the planning and urban construction processes. Today’s partnership between NRP and the Municipalities, therefore, is extremely timely and I congratulate the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief for organising it.”

Charlotta Schlyter, Swedish Ambassador to Bangladesh, in her remarks as said, “An initiative like this will be crucial to take Bangladesh’s disaster resilience forwards. We are proud to be a partner with Bangladesh through NRP and earlier through CDMP. NRP is an important programme through the gender responsiveness lenses, and we will continue to support NRP’s initiatives.”

Judith Herbertson, Head of DFID Bangladesh mentioned that Bangladesh has done wonders in disaster risk reduction, which is important for a disaster-prone country like Bangladesh. “We cannot prevent disasters, but we can prepare for it and mitigate impacts. The Government is increasing its capacity and piloting innovations. We are proud to be part of this journey. We are happy to note how committed the MODMR is to the Sendai framework and the attainment of the SDG goals. We are hoping that through NRP, earthquake preparedness will happen across levels, from central government to local government.” in her speech as special guest.

National Resilience Programme is a unique partnership between Bangladesh Government and UNDP, UN Women and United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), that provides strategic support to develop national capacity to keep pace with the changing nature of disasters. 

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For more information:

Md Abdul Quayyum, Head of Communications UNDP: md.quayyum@undp.org, 8801715025551

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