Bangladesh

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Cyclone Amphan

Committees formed for assessing loss of Sunderbans

Ershad Kamol | Published: 00:31, May 22,2020

 
 

The forest department formed four committees to give account of losses of the world’s largest mangrove forest, the Sunderbans, which was hit by the cyclone Amphan on Wednesday.

‘The assistant forest conservators of four ranges were asked to submit four separate reports on Sunday or Monday if Eid is celebrated on Sunday after thorough investigations,’ chief conservator of forests Md Amir Hossain Chowdhury told New Age on Thursday.

Analysing the satellite images of the Sunderbans, the UNESCO inscribed World Heritage Site, Center for Environmental and Geographic Information Services would make another assessment by this month, CEGIS executive director Malik Fida A Khan said.

‘We will take decisions after getting the reports,’ environment and forest minister Md Shahab Uddin said. 

Shahab Uddin said that the forest department informed him that damage of the Sunderbans was not that severer compared to the destruction done by the cyclone Sidr in 2007.

‘I was told that some keora trees were pulled down and branches of many other trees were broken but so far no dead animal was detected,’ he said. 

‘But all the water bodies, especially the ponds that reserve rain water, inside the forest have become saline for the high tide. It would create troubles to the wildlife and people living near the forest,’ he said.  

Khulna University forest department Professor AK Fazlul Hoque said that the Sunderbans had the natural strength to re-germinate and adopt with the post-cyclone trauma.

‘It would be wise to allow the forest to regenerate naturally without disturbance through human intervention,’ he said.

Bangladesh Paribesh Andolan general secretary Sharif Jamil demanded that the government should stop industrialisation near the Sunderbans, the only habitat of the nearly extinct Royal Bengal Tiger, which was facing threat of relegating from the World Heritage Site to World Heritage in Danger by the UNESCO.

‘We should not forget that the Sunderbans is not just a unique forest with diverse resources, but it saved us several times from the disasters,’ he added.

CFC Amir Hossain said that they would not remove trees or make any other human intervention to the forest. ‘The destroyed jetties and structures would be rebuilt,’ Amir said.

CEGIS executive director Malik said that in February they started doing structural environment assessment of the forest for submitting it to the UNESCO. ‘It’s a one and half years project,’ he said.

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