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Institutionalizing disaster risk reduction progs demanded

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Staff Reporter

Experts at a meeting in Dhaka yesterday stressed the need for giving disaster risk reduction programs an institutional shape aiming to face the growing human-induced disasters in the future.

They said the institutionalization of disaster risk reduction (DRR) programs is essential to improving Bangladesh’s disaster preparedness so that consequences of the disasters could be minimized.

European Commission Humanitarian Aid and Civil Society (ECHO) arranged the National Consultative Meeting at Spectra Convention Centre in the capital.

Director General of the Department of Disaster Management Mohammed Abdul Wazed and disaster management experts Khemraj Upadhyaya and Laura Sewell, among others, spoke at the meeting.

The purpose of the meeting was to review the lessons learned from the implementation of the seventh Disaster Preparedness ECHO (DIPECHO VII) cycle and to make recommendations for DIPECHO VIII.

The speakers said the frequency and intensity of disasters are growing and the resulting sufferings and losses represent is a major threat to long-term development, growth, and poverty reduction in Bangladesh.

They recommended expanding the geographical locations targeted under the disaster management program to reach additional disaster-prone areas, in particular coastal and char areas that are frequently affected by cyclones and flooding.

They also suggested strengthening the resilience of resource-dependent livelihoods activities that are heavily affected by disasters and climate change.

About 100 representatives from the government, NGOs and the United Nations joined the meeting.

The DIPECHO VII program emphasized institutionalizing the DRR within government structures, policies, and programs to support government leadership on these issues with a view to promoting their long-term sustainability.

Major achievements under the program were the development of working models for institutionalizing preparedness in communities and schools, including within livelihoods.

With DIPECHO VII funding, the NARRI Consortium, the DeSHARI Consortium, and Caritas are currently implementing programs to strengthen disaster preparedness among communities and schools, as well as to support the improvement of livelihoods resilience.