Cyclone Preparedness Programme (CPP) volunteers are the freedom fighters of the modern era, said A K M Mozammel Haque, the Minister for Liberation War Affairs.
He said that freedom-loving people, inspired by patriotism, fought against the Pakistani aggressors in 1971, while CPP members do the same today to save the lives and properties of others without any regard for their own interest.
The Minister was speaking as the chief guest at a discussion and award distribution ceremony titled "CPP's Volunteering in Disaster Risk Reduction" at BIAM in the capital on Thursday.
Stating that the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief is strong and self-reliant, Mozammel Haque said, "This Ministry is performing the most important work in protecting the lives and properties of our people. It has acquired a position of trust by purchasing new equipment and implementing projects that save lives."
Dr Md Enamur Rahman, State minister for Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief, was the special guest at the event presided over by Md Mohsin, Secretary of the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief.
Enamur Rahman said, "Thanks to CPP's selfless work, we have been able to bring down the number of cyclone deaths to single digits. CPP members receive regular training and we are continuously working to empower them."
The State Minister also informed that 220 cyclone centres have been built in the coastal areas and the construction of 550 Mujib Kellas (forts) is underway.
"We have planned to build 1,000 new cyclone centres and 1,000 Mujib Kellas," added the State Minister.
He also suggested to the Liberation War Affairs Minister that CPP be given the Independence Award.
Muhammad Saidur Rahman, the first Director of CPP; Ahmadul Haque, Director (Administration) of CPP; Md Firoz Salah Uddin, Secretary General of Bangladesh Red Crescent Society, were present, among others.
At the end of the event, 84 selected CPP volunteers received CPP's "Best Volunteer of the Year Award" in recognition of their work in the coastal areas.
A cultural event was also held to mark the 50th anniversary of Cyclone Gorky and disaster risk reduction.
Cyclone Gorky hit on 12 November 1970 and claimed the lives of about 10 lakh people.
CPP, the disaster risk reduction voluntary organization, launched its official journey on 1 July, 1973.
74,020 volunteers of CPP are currently working in 3,701 units of 355 unions in 41 upazilas of 13 coastal districts.
So far, 27 CPP volunteers have lost their lives in the course of discharging their duties.