Ten non-government organisations (NGOs) working in the coastal districts of Satkhira and Cox's Bazar have called upon the government to build embankments on an emergency basis in the coastal areas to protect crops of the next season.
The NGOs made the demand at a virtual press conference titled "Cyclone Amphan and emergency construction of embankment to protect next crop and fish resources in coastal areas" on Saturday with the facilitation of COAST, a coastal NGO in Bangladesh.
Their other demands include allocation of around Tk400 crore for the local administration to repair the coastal embankments to protect the crops that will be produced this monsoon, and assigning the local government authorities to do this emergency construction.
At the press conference, Syed Aminul Haque of COAST Trust made the keynote presentation that depicted the total damage of Cyclone Amphan in the coastal areas.
He said Satkhira and Khulna are the worst affected districts. According to the presentation, agricultural land of around 2 lakh hectares, shrimp worth around Tk340 crore, livestock worth around Tk140 crore and 150 kms of embankments were damaged in these areas.
Sheikh Asad of Udayan Bangladesh (Bagerhat), said, "Water Development Board (WDB) and local administration have repeatedly failed to construct embankments on time due to their contractor and sub-contractor system. Salty water that entered through these damaged embankments in Bagerhat hampered livelihoods of people due to bad drainage systems in the area."
Zaiul Haque Mukta from Campaign for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods said in the aftermath of Cyclone Aila, even after a direct intervention from the prime minister, WDB failed to construct these embankments on time due to their management complicacies.
Rezaul Karim Chowdhury, executive director of COAST Trust, concluded the press conference saying the government institutions like WDB have to reform their management system and the ownership of embankments should be given to the people.
"We should not expect foreign funds like previous years as fund for disaster management rather we should mobilise our own resources to tackle these things," he added.