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12 November, 2019 00:00 00 AM
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Bulbul debilitated by the Sunderbans

Bulbul debilitated by 
the Sunderbans

For almost the whole of Saturday, people living in the coastal areas of Bangladesh were on the tenterhooks because of cyclone Bulbul, which was supposed to hit the country at night. Preparations were made to limit the damage and people living in danger areas were evacuated, but fortunately, the calamity became debilitated as it hit the country and moved through the Sunderbans.

Weather specialists are unanimous in stating that the large mangrove forest works as a natural barrier to extreme weathers and takes way the intensity of cyclones. The Sunderbans saved the coastal areas from Sidr and Aila in 2007 and 2009 respectively. Specialists also say that the Sunderbans is like a dam near the coast and any cyclone which passes through the 100 km forest loses intensity. The forest bears the brunt of the force and saves the coastal communities.

But this time, nothing was left to chance because the government had taken elaborate preparations from early warnings to moving of people to safe shelters in order to minimize damage. However, despite the precautions, 35000 houses were damaged and as per official reports, seven persons were killed. Any loss of life is tragic and unwanted but given the size of the cyclone the eventual destruction was low.

Since the Sunderbans worked once more as a natural protection, there has been a rising demand on social media platforms calling for more efforts to safeguard the forest. Bulbul weakened to a depression, though this time, the country was prepared to deal with it. The government deserves special kudos for developing disaster shelters which were shunned by the people in the coastal areas of the past.

Since Bangladesh is a country which needs to survive through natural extremes, the focus of all coastal district administrations needs to be on the development of a full proof mitigation plus safety programme. Before Bulbul hit, several hundred people, including members of the armed forces and fishermen, took refuge at the Bhashan Char and not a single person was harmed.

This has prompted the government to think seriously about setting up large scale safety areas on Bhashan Char where people can be evacuated during emergency. Bulbul’s damage was far less than expected though the warning it left us should be enough to inspire the authority to develop a country wide natural disaster response strategy with help from grass root level governance structures.

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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