Roars of ‘Amphan’- fear among the coastal people

Rafiqul Islam Montu, Specialist writer,
Photo: Barta24

Photo: Barta24

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The cyclone Amphan turned into a 'super cyclone' in a short span of time, raising fears across the coast. In many areas of the coast where there is no capacity to handle small shocks; how can the coast cope with such a big storm?

Such are the questions of local residents. However, the administration is preparing to deal with the cyclone by maintaining social distance in the midst of corona alert. Initiatives have been taken to use educational institutions as cyclone shelters are less than required.

Cyclonic storm Amphan was initially feared to hit the west coast of the country, but it changed shape in the fastest time. Its’ power has increased, radius increased. As a result, the threat now is not just on the West Coast, its violence could spread across the coast. The people of the area adjacent to the Sundarbans on the west coast are just as terrified. Similarly, fear has spread to the central or east coast.

The meteorological department has already issued warnings for coastal districts of Satkhira, Khulna, Bagerhat, Jhalokati, Pirojpur, Barguna, Patuakhali, Bhola, Barisal, Laxmipur, Chandpur, Noakhali, Feni, Chittagong and Cox's Bazaar districts and adjoining islands.

Field information sources said many people in remote coastal villages still spend their days in fear of natural disasters. Fear increases when tidal water rises, tidal waves and cyclone signals. The situation is at risk in many places, from Shahpari Island in Teknaf on the east coast to Kalinchi village in Shyamnagar on the west coast. In a very short period of time, cyclone Ampan has taken a terrible form and increased the panic of the people in the coastal villages. All of the five coastal island upazillas are at risk.

About five and a half kilometers of embankments in Dhalghata and Matarbari areas of Maheshkhali upazila of Cox's Bazar are in critical condition. Water will enter from these areas in high tide. On the other hand, the people of Sonadia Island of the upazilla are completely unprotected. Several areas of the adjoining upazilla Kutubdia are at risk. When the rainy season comes, the people there are terrified.

In mid-2016, a cyclone that swept across the coast hit Kutubdia. Several areas of North Dhurunga were affected. That wound is still clear. People of Kaychar Para and Nayapara areas have been suffering since then. The embankment in the Tablar Char area of ​​Kutubdia is very fragile. If it is pushed again, the situation there will become deplorable.

Although work on a new embankment is underway around Sandwip in Chittagong's Dwip Upazila, at least eight kilometers of the embankment is fragile and unfinished. The condition of Sarikait, Harishpur, Maitbhanga, Azimpur, Rahmatpur and Kalapania areas of southwestern Sandwip is critical. As a result, these areas may be affected by the cyclone. Amphan's news evokes memories of 1991 in the area.

Firoz Uddin of Banglabazar in Sarikait said, “I have lost everything in the cyclone. I do not know what happens this time. The embankment work is not over yet. Many areas of Noakhali's Dwip Upazila Hatiya are at risk. Nijhumdwip Union is without embankment. 50,000 people live there. On the other hand, there are about 30,000 people in Hatia part of Dhalchar.

In addition, embankments in many areas of Tamruddi, Nalchira, Sukhchar, Char Ishwar and Chanandi Union are fragile. Monpura, an island in Bhola Island, is quite comfortable as there are embankments all around. However, there are concerns about the Kalatali Char outside the embankment. About 20,000 people live in that char without embankment. There are 4 wards of Monpura Union. On the other hand, there are about one and a half thousand people in the Monpura part of Dhalchar.

Kalatali resident Nurunnabi said, "If there is a big cyclone, our danger will not end." Char has three school-cum-cyclone shelters but will hold a maximum of 3,000 people. However, the Monpura Upazila Administration has taken steps to evacuate people from Kalatali and Dhalchar Monpura parts of the island.

Among the other islands of Bhola, the people of the islands including Char Mozammel, Char Zahiruddin, Hajipur, Madanpur, Kachia, Dhalchar and Char Nizam are quite terrified. The roar of the cyclone in the middle of the corona caused panic among them. There is no safe haven for the more than 5,000 people in Dhalchar, an isolated island in Charfashon, Bhola. Although there are a few shelters, they have long since been lost to river erosion.

In the middle of Bhola Sadar, Ramdaspur, Char Chatkimara, Madanpur of Daulatkhan, Hajipur, Medua, Char Zahiruddin of Borhanuddin (partial), Char Mozammel of Tajumuddin, Bichukhul of Char Mohan are living.

Abdur Rahman Biswas, a resident of Dhalchar Union, said, "We have no choice but to call on Allah in such danger." There is no provision for taking refuge here. News of Amphan's strength brings back memories of the 1970 cyclone. At that time the island was wiped out.

Dhalchar chairman Abdus Salam Hawlader said, "We are ready to take the people to safe shelter." Nasiruddin Nannu, chairman of Madanpur union in Bhola Sadar, said there was no need to bring the people of Char here. 10,000 people of Char will be able to take shelter there.

Meanwhile, the district administration has started work to evacuate more than three lakh people living in 21 chars of Bhola district to safe shelter. Deputy Commissioner Masud Alam Siddique said 20 boats have been kept ready to bring the people to safety. In addition to cyclone shelters, some educational institutions will provide shelter to the people.

In the Meghna Basin, about 6,000 people belong to Dwip Union Char Abdullah in Ramgati Upazila of Laxmipur. The distance from Ramgati Upazila Sadar to the island is about an hour and a half by trawler. Local resident Alauddin Master said cyclone signals had been announced in three markets here. People have been told to stay in safe shelters. However, there are no shelters, earthen forts or other paved buildings for human shelter. As a result, the residents are apprehensive.

Victims of river erosion from different areas have taken shelter in these chars. Natural disasters make these people helpless. The people of these areas are not protected even though the tidal water comes at medium height. Life-saving shelters are very limited in these chars. There are no big trees which will save the grazing life from natural disasters.

Patuakhali's Galachipa, Kalapara, Rangabali, Dashmina and Baufal have several unprotected chars at risk of natural disasters. Water enters those chars at normal tide. There are no embankments in many places. Again, even if there is an embankment somewhere, it has been swept away by the strong tide.

Rangabali Island Union Charmontaj is at extreme risk. The same situation is with Rangabali Island Union Chalitabuniya. People in many places of Galachipa Charkajal, Char Biswas, Panpatti live at risk.

The natural risks of Taltoli of Barguna, Patharghata, Majherchar in Pirojpur, Bogi in Sharankhola, Tafalbaria, Koira in Khulna, Dakop, Gabura in Satkhira are not diminishing in any way. Among these areas, the people of Morelganj, Sharankhola and Aila devastated Koira, Dakop and Shyamnagar of Sidr devastated Bagerhat are at high risk of natural calamities.

Bangladesh has come a long way in disaster management. The death toll from the cyclone has dropped. The cyclone warning system has improved. The number of shelters has been increased. New embankments have been built in many places. Communication development has improved.

Due to these reasons, the number of deaths due to disasters has come down a lot. The amount of damage has decreased. Nevertheless, there are risks. Many areas of the coast are still unprotected. When the tide rises, the house sinks. The fragile embankment is broken by a small push. There are no such embankments all over the coast. Similarly the height of the dam was not increased as required. As a result, it will be difficult to avoid major catastrophes on the coast in the event of a major impact such as the cyclones of 1991, 1970 and 2007.

Journalism educators’ networking conference begins at ULAB

News Desk,
Journalism educators’ networking conference begins at ULAB

Journalism educators’ networking conference begins at ULAB

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Journalism has changed. So, journalism education must adapt the change to remain relevant.

Speakers told this at a two-day long conference on media and journalism education in the country that has begun at the University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh (ULAB) in the capital today. 

The Department of Media Studies and Journalism at ULAB organized the conference titled “Communication and Journalism Educators Network (CJEN) Bangladesh Fifth Networking Conference 2022”, where communication and journalism educators from different universities in the country took part. 

ULAB Vice Chancellor Professor Imran Rahman inaugurated the event. In his inaugural speech, he said the authorities of the university has high commitment for promoting media in the country. So, the Media Studies and Journalism Department always try to prepare its graduates by updating its courses and curriculum in consultation with stakeholders from the media industry on regular basis.

Addressing the session, MSJ Department Head Professor Jude William Genilo said the media and journalism education institutions must think critically about their roles, and know their strengths and weaknesses today.

“We at the ULAB try to prepare our graduates who are equipped with knowledge and skills needed in their real-life professional works,” he added.

In plenary session titled “what is wrong with journalism education in Bangladesh”, Professor Jude called for building a strong network among media and journalism educators in the country to share experiences, expertise, and to enhance research and scholarships on the field.

In the session, ULAB MSJ Assistant Professor Dr Abdul Kabil Khan presented findings of a research on “What I wish My Faculty Would Do and Would Not Do for my career development?”

In another plenary session, a roundtable discussion titled “The future of media industry- new approaches and business models” was held.

Bangla daily Somoyer Alo Executive Editor Harun Ur Rashid, Jamul TV Special Correspondent Mohsin Ul Hakim, online news portal Bangladesh Times’ lead mobile journalist took part in the discussion moderated by MSJ department senior lecture Nandita Tabassum Khan.

Deutsche Welle (DW) Media Services GmbH Program Manager Dr. Esther Dorn-Fellermann, and DW Akademie Program Director in Bangladesh Priya Esselborn also attended the event.

At the first day of the conference, three research papers were presented, and two roundtable discussion was held followed by a cultural event.


Grooming Purpose-Led Leaders for A Better Tomorrow

News Desk,
Photo: Collected

Photo: Collected

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In conversation with Saad Jashim, Head of Human Resources, BAT Bangladesh

Saad Jashim, Head of Human Resources at BAT Bangladesh speaks on managing one of the biggest workforces in Bangladesh and how they are adapting to the 21st century demand of future-fit young leaders to create the best talent pipeline of the country.

BAT Bangladesh has been acclaimed for its diverse & inclusive work culture. Given that diversity is currently one of the most talked-about topics, could you share with us how BAT Bangladesh created such an exemplary working environment?

It’s great to hear that Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) is such a widely discussed topic at the moment. For us at BAT Bangladesh, D&I is more than just a current buzz word, it has been at the core of what we do, for over a decade now. Our culture of nurturing our employees in an environment where we respect and celebrate each other’s differences lies in the belief that our diverse talent are our biggest asset and our best brand. And a testament to our consistent effort in this arena is accreditations like the Top Employer Award or the Global Equality Standard (GES) Certification we proudly received in 2021.  Diversity to us isn’t limited to just gender diversity, but also includes diversity of thought. From grooming female STEM talent via Supernova, mentoring platforms like Inspirit and bringing in cross-industry professional recruits, we leave no stone unturned to ensure that our workforce is composed of diverse pool of perspectives and connected to diversity is inclusion. Our policies and opportunities are consciously designed to be inclusive and fair. In fact, we are proud to say that even international learning exposure is not just limited to BAT managers, but high-performing factory employees also get the opportunity to travel different countries to take part in trainings. We firmly believe that workplace culture is a product of the whole organization meaning that the onus lies with everyone to act in an inclusive manner. Year on year, keeping our core consistent, we ensure that this inclusive ecosystem evolves to help our employees feel empowered & inspired to keep growing. 

One of the most lucrative programs for young grads of Bangladesh is BAT’s Global Graduate program, can you elaborate how it has been designed to promote fat-paced growth?

At BAT Bangladesh, we are evolving at a pace that’s unlike any other organization. The Global Graduate (GG) Program is our flagship 18-months management trainee role for high potential fresh graduates and young professionals to get a fast-tracked career. The aim of the program is to raise future leaders of BAT by grooming them in a stretched & exciting environment from day one. The program is carefully designed, with functional & cross-functional roles, to prepare and instill our purpose-led Ethos in our young leaders from day 1. GGs also get the opportunity to take part in BAT Grad Academy to build a network with other GGs from different parts of the BAT world. The concept is to develop a well-rounded & inclusive business leader who is prepared to take on strategic deliverables on broad streams of our business.

Beyond fast-paced growth, how do you think BAT’s Global Graduate program is designed to groom young leaders to be future-fit and socially conscious?

The core purpose of this interesting program is to shape leaders of tomorrow to become competent & inclusive business leaders. At the core of our dynamic business ecosystem is our farmer community in Kushtia and via our recent collaboration with Prerona Foundation, we rolled out three community development projects there. To foster a sense of inclusion, we are sending our GGs for a 15-days immersive Fellowship experience with these farmer communities.

This initiative named, Be the Change Fellowship Program is a way for our GGs to take a step closer to their North Star. Our GGs participate in the community development projects by living with and like the families of our farmer beneficiary community to gain first-hand experience of a reality that is different from their own. By exposing them to the grassroots of our business, we hope to help them grow as empathetic leaders.

This Fellowship seems like an interesting new initiative, could you elaborate what the GGs are doing daily during this 15-days immersive program?

I believe that the youth now are more conscious and look for purpose in everything they do. They are the shapers of tomorrow and being purpose-led is what sets this generation apart. The Be  the Change Fellowship was created to anchor our GGs and help them find their North Star, perhaps delving into the daily acts will help to clarify.

On a day-to-day basis, the two -weeks immersive experience allows them to work with marginalized communities under the three community development projects - Education, Empowerment and Youth Leadership. Under each project, there are courses taught to beneficiaries and their families by experts of the field. For example, under the education pillar there is the Adult Literacy center where aged farmers, who never got the opportunity to avail formal education, learn basics like writing and mathematics. Living with these farmers, learning their stories, and even teaching them helps groom these young leaders into future-fit leaders of tomorrow.

As we know, Bangladesh is progressing towards its Vision 2041 and BAT Bangladesh plans to run major initiatives on youth employment and inclusion. What is your view on the need to invest on future-fit youth leaders?

As a fast-developing economy, Bangladesh needs to increase the pace at which we develop talent. The country needs high-quality talent to meet its increasing demand in a very competitive global economy and this is a challenge that needs strategic partnership across government, academia, and employers to ensure that together we develop the human capital of the country. BAT Bangladesh, as a proud development partner to the Government of Bangladesh, has already launched several key projects to address the needs of Bangladeshi youth. As an organization, we take pride in spearheading such initiatives and we will accelerate our efforts in the coming years to create next generation leaders.


'Asani' moves northwestwards, likely to weaken: Met office

News Desk,
photo: collected

photo: collected

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The severe cyclonic storm "Asani" over west central Bay and adjoining area moved northwestwards and weakened into a Cyclonic Storm over West Central Bay off Andhra coast area, said a Bangladesh Meteorological Department (BMD) bulletin valid for 24 hours commencing 9am today.

"It is likely to move in a northwest or northerly direction and weaken gradually into a Deep Depression during the next 24 hours. Maritime ports of Bangladesh have been advised to keep hoisted Distant Warning Signal No. Two," said the bulletin.

"Light to moderate rain or thunder showers with temporary gusty or squally wind is likely to occur at a few places over Rangpur, Rajshahi, Dhaka, Mymensingh, Khulna, Barishal, Chattogram and Sylhet divisions with moderately heavy falls at places," it added.

However, the day and night temperature may rise slightly over the country.

Country's maximum temperature on Tuesday was recorded 35.0 degrees Celsius at Syedpur in Rangpur division and minimum temperature today was 23.0 degrees Celsius at Badalgacchi in Rajshahi division.

The highest rainfall in the last 24 hours till 6am today was recorded 119 mm in Sylhet.

The sun sets at 6.32 pm today and rises at 5.17 am tomorrow in the capital.


PM urges parents to encourage their children to play outside

Staff Correspondent,, Dhaka  
PM urges parents to encourage their children to play outside

PM urges parents to encourage their children to play outside

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Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today asked all concerned particularly the parents to encourage their  children to play outside, which would help boost children's physical and mental health alongside stoping their any kind of derailment.

"Most of our children are passing most of their times in flats engaging with mobile phones, laptops and ipads, which is an ominous  sign of their physical and mental health," she said.

The Premier called upon the patents to take initiatives for taking their children outside home to play or run which is a must for their mental and physical wellbeing.

 "I request all the guardians to be attentive regarding their children's engagement in sports. Sports, running and jumping help boost all sorts of flourishment in terms of physical and mental health. And for that they will not be derailed, she said.

She said these while virtually distributing the "National Sports Award" to 85 sports persons and organisers from 2013-2021  in recognition to their gloriousdians  contribution to the country's sports  arena as the  chief guest from her official  Ganabhaban residence here.

The Ministry of Youth and Sports organised the programme at the Osmani Memorial Auditorium.

The premier asked the authorities concerned to provide the award every year for encouraging players as well as organisers and for the overall progress of the sports.

On behalf of the Prime Minister, State Minister for for Youth and Sports Md Zahid Ahsan Russel,MP, handed over the awards among the reciepants .

Chairman of the ministry's parliamentary standing committee Abdulla Al Islam Jacob was present while its Secretary Mesbah Uddin gave the address of welcome.

Earlier, the Ministry of Youth and Sports has nominated 85 sports persons and organisers for this  prestigious National Sports Award in recognitaion of thier contribution to the country's sports during 2013 to 2020.

Each awardee will receive an 18-carat of gold medal weighing 25 grams, a cheque of Taka one lakh and a certificate.

Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's second son Shaheed Lt. Sheikh Jamal was given the award (posthumous) as player and organiser for the year 2020.

Sheikh Hasina said that all should realise that sports, physical and cultural practices are essential for building a nation.

"So, we have to encourage all especially the children to play outside home," she said.


Sports, physical excercise and cultural activities help the children becoming worthy citizen of the country.

In this context, the Prime Minister said that her government is constructing Sheikh Russel Mini Stadium at each upazila across the country.

She expressed her dismay over having inadequate playgrounds in Dhaka, saying, "We have already taken measures to this end. It is necessary to have playgrounds in every area."

The Premier said they are constructing a complex having stadium and training centre beside the Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban for the specially needed children as they have achieved many success for Bangladesh.

She said Bangladesh had recently won the title of the Bangabandhu Four Nation Physically Challenged Cricket Tournament defeating India, organized on the occasion of the birth centanary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, at Sheikh Kamal International Cricket Stadium, Cox's Bazar.

"I have witnessed the match," she said with a proud voice.

The Premier asked all concerned to give special attention to the specially needed children.

She also asked all to pay special attention to women as they have been doing well in every sector of sports including cricket and football.

The PM, in her speech, also referred to Bangladesh's U19 Women's Team's victory in  the 2021 Saff U19 Women's Championship after defeating India 1-0.

Sheikh Hasina has recalled the successes of  Bangladesh in sports including the recent first ever test cricket match win against  South Africa at their own field and the win against Pakistan taking part for the first time in the World Cup Cricket in 1999 and the ICC Trophy win and becoming test playing member country in 2000.

"Bangladesh's success in sports arena from 2009 to 2021 (till the date) has been increasing  due to the Awami League government's timely and visionary measures," she said.

Since assuming power after the 21 years in 1996, she said her government has been taking everything possible measure for the overall development of the sports.

The Prime Minister said they are set to construct stadium at each district  to facilitate sports persons with every facility including training as they can cope with the international competitions and achieve more success for Bangladesh.

She said her government has been constructing Sheikh Kamal Sports Complex having a stadium in Cox's Bazar and a stadium in Sylhet which will add natural beauty of sea and hills respectively.

She also stressed the need for revival of the local or rural sports sports such as "sat chara" "dangguti" and "hadudu" alongside football, cricket, hockey and volleyball which require less money.

The Premier asked all concerned to arrange the local game competition in inter-school, inter-college and inter-university levels.

Sheikh Hasina described herself a member of sports family as her grandfather, father, brothers and sisters-in-law were players of various games.

"All of our families were involved in sports.--- there had alway been a relations between sports and our family," she said.

The Premier recalled her family's involvement in formation of the Abahoni Krira Chakra describing Sheikh Kamal as the pioneer of the modern football.

Sheikh Hasina recalled that when she along with her younger sister Sheikh Rehana was leaving Dhaka for Germany, prior to the August 15, 1975 bloody massacre  in which the Father  of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman along with most of his family members were killed, Sheikh Kamal wanted from her (Sheikh Hasina) to bring Adidus company boots for the Abahoni players.

But, the boots were not brought  in as the 1975 carnage was happened and they had to spend six years in forced exile, she said with emotion charged voice.

The Prime Minister said Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had taken measures for the development of sports when he was rebuilding the war ravaged nation and its every institutions as Bangabandhu knew sports is necessary in building a nation.

Bangbandhu had established the National Sports, Bnagladesh Footblall Federation and many other institutions for the development of sports, she added.

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