Leaders of Bangladesh Nagorik Samaj demanded that the authorities concerned declare November 12 as 'Upokul Dibas' (Coastal Day) to commemorate the victims who were killed in a devastating tidal surge on this day in 1970.
They made the demand at a human chain formed at National Press Club on Tuesday (November 12).
Highlighting the crisis and potentiality of the coastal areas, the speakers at the programme said, the whole country's safety from climate change risk is dependent on security of its coastal belts.
They said achieving the national goals will be hampered if we fail to overcome the crisis of the coastal belt and save the assets of the climate vulnerable areas. Overall development is not possible if the larger parts of the coastal areas remain undeveloped.
Various organisations, including Coastal Journalism Network, Change Initiative, Upokul Bangladesh Foundation, ALOKJATRA: Coastal Youth Network, and Kamalnagar-Ramgati Bachao Andolon joined the human chain organised by Coastal Day Implement Committee.
General Secretary of National Committee to Protect Shipping, Road and Railways Ashish Kumar Dey, Citizen Rights Movement Secretary General Tushar Rehman, Kamalnagar-Ramgati Bachao Andolon convener Abdus Sattar Palowan, Coastal Day Implement Committee Chief Coordinator Rafiqul Islam Mantu also spoke at the program and supported the demand for declaration of November 12 as 'Upokul Dibas' (Coastal Day).
This year, the day was observed in 60 places of 16 coastal districts and capital city Dhaka for the third time.
Since 2017, the costal day has been observed unofficially to commemorate the deadliest cyclone, which hit coastal areas of the then East Pakistan (Now Bangladesh) on 12 November, 1970. According to unofficial records, the cyclone claimed lives of 10 lakh people. However, according to the data provided by the government at that time, five lakhs people of the coastal areas died in the cyclone.
On May 18 last year, United Nations' World Meteorological Organisaiton (WMO) released a list of five deadliest natural disaster of all-time. In the list, WMO said the deadliest tropical cyclone hit Bangladesh (then East Pakistan) on November 12-13 in 1970. The "Great Bhola Cyclone" killed around 300,000 to 500,000 people mostly because of a storm surge, which inundated the low-lying islands and tidal flats along the shores of the Bay of Bengal sea.
This year the Coastal Day was observed in 60 places of 16 districts – Cox's Bazar, Chattogram, Noakhali, Laxmipur, Chandpur, Bhola, Barishal, Patuakhali, Barguna, Prirojpur, Jhalakathi, Bagerhat, Khulna and Satkhira.