Role of Bangladesh betar in reducing risk arising from natural calamities : a case study in Maheshkhali upazila of Cox's Bazar district in Bangladeh
AuthorIslam, Md. Ariful
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Bangladesh is a disaster prone country. It is vulnerable to cyclone, tidal surge or tsunami as the Bay of Bengal has been tapered to the shape of a funnel towards the landmass of Bangladesh. Recently cyclone Cidr in 2007, Aila in 2009 and Mahasen in 2013 have left devastating track of destruction in the coastal area of Bangladesh but with comparatively little death toll and loss of property than that of in 1991, 1997 or in 1998. Fewer death tolls and less loss of property were attributable to successful disaster management activities carried out by the government of Bangladesh in close cooperation with CPP and other stakeholders. This study has found out that, along with other stakeholders, Bangladesh Betar has played a tremendous role in disseminating early warning messages along with other information which was helpful in capacity building with regards to withstand the fury of devastating cyclone or tidal surge in Moheshkhali Upazila of Cox’s Bazaar district in Bangladesh. The study showed that 89% people listen to Bangladesh Betar in time of emergency like cyclone or tidal surge. Side by side they also listen to other television channels and private radios or read news papers or take help from volunteers such as Bangladesh Red Crescent Society or CPP and/or try to reach to UNO office or to local government offices for information about cyclone. They said that they rely on Bangladesh Betar for the information about the present position of the cyclone and its landfall timing. They also resort to Bangladesh Betar to know about dos and don’ts during cyclone time. They study also picked up some reasons for using Bangladesh Betar in time of cyclone or tidal surge. These, as they mentioned, are low cost of radio sets, almost costless maintenance of radio sets, easy to use, during cyclone non-availability of electricity does not allow other media like television to be used other then radio, Bangladesh Betar’s reliability and last but not the least is that it is handy. Another reason for using radios is that it can be reached through mobile and mobile is now a common gadget and its talk time is so cheap that many people use it for communication as well as entertainment like listening to music or FM radio-programs. It is seen during the study that Bangladesh Betar is not directly involved in the process of rehabilitation or disaster management, neither is it a member of any committee related to disaster management committee. For better and efficient management of disaster related work, media, opined by some respondents, could be embedded with CPP or Upazila Disaster Management Committee. Risk is always associated with knowledge related to specific disaster. Here knowledge refers to information and early warning messages. In this case it was evident from the study that Bangladesh Betar played a vital role in reducing risk arising from natural calamities like cyclone in the coastal belt of Bangladesh by disseminating necessary information and early warning messages and thus building capacities of the people of the coastal belt to withstand the fury of the cyclone.