Disaster management and relief minister Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya said on Thursday that the government would take necessary measures to reduce landslide risks in the country’s hills during the rainy season.
Addressing a seminar on ‘landslides: issues, challenges and the way forward’, organised by the Institution of Engineers, Bangladesh at its office in Dhaka, the minister claimed that human casualties in landslides were higher as the people had refused to go to shelter centres even after repeated requests.
He blamed unplanned infrastructural development for deadly landslide incidents in the hilly districts — Chittagong, Rangamati, Khagrachari and Bandarban — which killed 166 people in 2017 and 27 people in 2018.
He, however, did not specify the types of measures that would be taken.
He said that 16 lakh people were living in the districts in landslide risks.
Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology professor Abdul Jabbar Khan presented the keynote paper where he blamed manmade deforestation in the hills, ‘wrong’ pattern of cultivation and unplanned development activities in the hills for the landslides.
He suggested that the government should bring the hills under vegetation coverage with jute geo-textile and go for bio-engineering solution after conducting hill mapping.
Geological Survey of Bangladesh director general Reshad Md Ekram Ali urged the government to address the issue immediately as he believed the landslide issue was yet to be addressed properly. IEB president Abdus Sabur said that the impacts of climate change increased the risk of landslides in the country.
IEB general secretary Khandker Manjur Morshed said that unplanned settlement of Rohingya people in the hills had increased the risk of landslides.
Chittagong University of Engineering and Technology professor Sudip Kumar Pal urged the government to install proper drainage at Rohingya camps to reduce risk to their lives. IEB civil engineering division chairman Habibur Rahman chaired the event where a number of engineers and other professionals spoke.
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