Today is the dreadful April 29. On this day in 1991, Gorky, a tropical cyclone, lashed the coastal areas of southern Bangladesh with a wind speed of 155 miles per hour. It claimed 138,000 lives, leaving about one crore people homeless.
“Though 27 years have passed, many survivors still have not been able to get back to their homes. Rather, they had to face new cyclones like Sidr, Ayla, Mahasen and Roanu,” said Shawkat Ali Tutul, assistant director of Coast Trust, a local NGO.
Tutul was addressing a human chain organised in front of the Jatiya Press Club to mark the occasion.
The government should give priority to build infrastructure in the coastal areas that may stand natural disasters, he demanded.
Officials of the NGO placed a 25-point demand during the programme. The demands include increasing government support to ensure livelihood for the coastal people, allowing a good number of community radio to operate in coastal and shoal areas, and taking steps to protect the lands from salty water and ensuring alternative source for sweet water.
Meanwhile, a committee formed to protect Hatia from river erosion held a human chain programme in front of the press club demanding protection of lives and the lands from the river erosion.
Since 1960 to 2017, 250sqm area of Hatiya went into the river Meghna, said Mosaddeque Chowdhury, president of Hatia River Erosion Protection Committee.