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.

Fourth dose of Covid vaccine to be administered from Dec 20

News Desk,


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Bangladesh government has decided to start administering the fourth dose of Covid vaccine from December 20 on trial basis, according to the Directorate General of Health Services.

Addressing a press conference on the fourth dose of Covid vaccine at the DGHS in Dhaka on Tuesday, DGHS additional director general Professor Dr Ahmedul Kabir said that the fourth dose will be given at seven centers in the beginning.

One hundred people will be vaccinated at each designated centre and they will be kept under observation for two weeks, said the ADG.

All citizens having health risks will be vaccinated with the fourth dose from January 1 next year, he added.

On Monday, health minister Zahid Maleque said that citizens aged above 60 would get the fourth dose of Covid vaccine first.

Earlier, the National Technical Advisory Committee on Covid-19 recommended administering the fourth dose of Covid vaccine to contain the further spread of the virus, said Dr Shamsul Haque, director of the vaccination program of the Directorate General of Health Services, on November 30.

It recommended bringing front liners, citizens aged above 60 and the pregnant women under the fourth dose vaccination progamme in the first phase, he said.


James Gardinar underscores skill development, access to US digital platform fo Bangladeshis 

News desk,
James Gardinar underscores skill development, access to US digital platform fo Bangladeshis 

James Gardinar underscores skill development, access to US digital platform fo Bangladeshis 

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James Gardiner, Economic Officer, who focuses on technology issues for the U.S. Embassy, spoke about the importance of continuing education and skills development and access to U.S. digital platforms for Bangladeshis in the ICT sector. Mr. Gardiner made the statement last evening at the Certificate and Award Giving Ceremony organized by CodersTrust at Banani Main Office.

During the ceremony, about 150 trainees who recently completed their training at CodersTrust, received certificates. The event was attended by the Founder and Chairman of CodersTrust, Mr Aziz Ahmad, former Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister and Adviser of CodersTrust, Dr. Abdul Karim, former Secretary of the Prime Minister's Office, ICT Division and Ministry of Education and Adviser of CodersTrust, Mr. Nazrul Islam Khan, Managing Director of Bangladesh Hi-Tech Park, Mr Bikarna Kumar Ghosh, and Dean of National University, Prof. Dr. Md. Nasiruddin Mitul.

While stressing on the need of develponing our young generation to skilled human redources the guests of honor spoke highly of CodersTrust highlighting many success stories of producing highly skilled human resources in our country and placing them in the global job market. CodersTrust is an Edtech Company working in Bangladesh since 2015 and now expanding its ventures both at home and abroad through collaboration with different international development agencies like the UNDP and Universities in Bangladesh like BRAC University, ULAB and National University. Since its activation, CodersTrust Bangladesh trained over 60,000 people including women who have been self-employed. CodersTrust has been contributing to international online IT jobs and achieved a reputation as one of the most trusted skill development institutes in Bangladesh.

`Sheikh Hasina government’s important goal is to develop the country'

News Desk,
Chittagong Hill Tracts Affairs Minister Bir Bahadur Ushwe Sing

Chittagong Hill Tracts Affairs Minister Bir Bahadur Ushwe Sing

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Chittagong Hill Tracts Affairs Minister Bir Bahadur Ushwe Sing MP said, The hill region is the land of immense beauty. Bandarban has already been identified as an attractive city for tourists. He said a new plan has been taken to decorate the tourist city Bandarban.

The government has taken initiatives to further modernize various roads and important points and sights in the municipal area. The tourism industry will play an important role in the economic development of the country and the unemployment of the locals of the hill areas.

Chittagong Hill Tracts Affairs Minister Bir Bahadur Ushwe Sing said this while speaking as the chief guest at a meeting of the Law and Order Committee at the conference room of the Deputy Commissioner organized by the Bandarban district administration.

Deputy Commissioner Yasmin Parvin Tibriji presided over the function, among others Bandarban Police Super Mr. Tariqul Islam, Bandarban Civil Surgeon Dr. Nihar Ranjan Nandi; Bandarban Municipality Mayor Mohammad Islam Baby, Chittagong Hill Tracts District Council member Laxmipada Das and senior officials of Bandarban district were present on the occasion.

Speaking as the chief guest, Minister Bir Bahadur Ushwe Sing, MP, also added that the development work of internal roads, including highways, is underway so that tourists can travel comfortably in the tourist city of Bandarban. The important function of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s government is to develop the country. In continuation of the government's development, once there will be great success in the tourism sector of the hill areas. Minister Bir Bahadur said the tourism sector will be more prosperous in the future.

Bandarban will move forward, and the socio-economic condition of Bandarban and the quality of life of the local people will improve. The Minister Bir Bahadur also added that Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman worked for the freedom struggle of this country and his worthy daughter, Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, has been working relentlessly for the development of Bangladesh under the ideals of her father. He called upon all concerned to work unitedly for the overall development of the country.

The law and order situation in the district and recent issues were discussed in the meeting. The health department informed the meeting that 15,000 malaria patients have been identified in the country, out of which 12,000 have been identified in Bandarban. The issue of health awareness is very important in the meeting. The meeting also discussed in details the modernization and expansion of the tourism industry.


Both are promising countries for foreign investors: Guner Ureya

Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal
Ambassador of the Republic of Kosovo in Bangladesh Guner Ureya

Ambassador of the Republic of Kosovo in Bangladesh Guner Ureya

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Ambassador of the Republic of Kosovo in Bangladesh Guner Ureya said, Both Kosovo and Bangladesh are promising countries for foreign investors and both countries have areas of investment that should be explored. Since such a situation exists between Kosovo and Bangladesh, the importance of joint ventures rather than mutual direct investments is appearing.  If both parties can bring a part of the manufacturing capacity of Bangladesh on one side and Kosovo on another side with its capacities as a country next-door to big consumer markets, together they can create an incredible synergy. If both parties manufacture together and target third-country markets, they may achieve excellent results.

He said this in an interview with Bangladesh Travel Writers Association (BDTWA) recently.

In this interview, Lee Guner Ureya also said,

BDTWA president Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal, executive member Shakil Bin Mushtaq and Md. Zakaria Mondol were present in the interview session.

Here is the interview of the Excellency-

Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal: According to the current state of both country’s bilateral trade status, how does H.E see future trade relations?

Guner Ureya: Considering the fact that only a few years ago, we had almost zero trade between the two countries, we should not underestimate our current trading volume.  According to the Kosovo Agency of Statistics in 2021 trade volume between the two countries was around 13,200,000 Euros. In the first 8 months of 2022, our trade volume was around 11,602,000 Euro. These figures are very promising. Kosovo is pleased with the improvement in trade and other relations between the two countries and is confident that the trade volume will steadily increase in the upcoming years.

Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal: How can we work together for Bangladesh–Kosovo’s bilateral tourism development?

Guner Ureya: The most important factor affecting tourism cooperation is mutual perceptions. It is strengthened by multifaceted cooperation and convergence of mutual perception. Cooperation in cultural, trade, and other fields will both increase interaction and help us get to know each other better. In addition to all these, tourism portfolios of both sides, attractions, modern infrastructure, and promotional events like fairs and familiarization trips, will also lead to the development of our cooperation in the field of tourism.

Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal: Which country has the most investment in KOSOVO and in which sector?

Guner Ureya: Most of FDIs are from Switzerland, Germany, Türkiye, the United Kingdom and Albania, particularly in real estate and services. There are considerable foreign investments in the manufacturing sector as well.

Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal: What are the challenges you see for more Kosovo investment in Bangladesh?

Guner Ureya: Let me clarify a thing. Both Kosovo and Bangladesh are promising countries for foreign investors and both countries have areas of investment that should be explored. Since such a situation exists between Kosovo and Bangladesh, the importance of joint ventures rather than mutual direct investments is appearing.  If both parties can bring a part of the manufacturing capacity of Bangladesh on one side and Kosovo on another side with its capacities as a country next-door to big consumer markets, together they can create an incredible synergy. If both parties manufacture together and target third-country markets, they may achieve excellent results.

Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal: Many people visit to TURKEY from Bangladesh and its only 1h 40 minutes from Istanbul to Kosovo. Can Kosovo consider this for the frequent travelers to visit Kosovo and facilitate their Tourist visa from BANGLADESH?

Guner Ureya: Tourism is very important for the promotion of the values of our countries and for our economies. Sure, we recommend tourists visiting the countries of the region to visit Kosovo as well. We also started to provide visa services at our Embassy in Dhaka. Besides Kosovar visas, those who have multiple Schengen visas can easily visit our beautiful country. Our doors are always open to those who want to see the beauties of Kosovo. I just have to highlight an issue. There are those who see tourism as an area of exploitation for illegal immigration. As Kosovo, we are very strict on this and we do not allow such abuses.

Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal: How do you see Bangladesh economically in 10 or 20 years?

Guner Ureya: If you keep this development trend and ensure progress in income sharing, your country will be qualified as developed as planned in 2041. Economic growth will lead to the allocation of more financial tools for better infrastructure. Investments to be made in areas such as education and health will help the development of the whole society. In a word, a more prosperous atmosphere will be provided for everyone.

Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal: Have you visited any tourist places in Bangladesh? How were your experiences? Do you have any favorite places in Bangladesh?

Guner Ureya: Alongside historical monuments and sites, Cox's Bazar caught my attention. The routes to the historical places are tiresome, but you feel good after you arrive. Cox's Bazaar is excellent, but there is still a lot of work to be done to attract foreign tourists. Accommodation prices in the hotels are very high there. This is a situation related to the high demand for accommodation from domestic tourists. Honestly speaking, more investments and other arrangements are required to attract foreign tourists in Cox’s Bazar. In the tourism sector, "being only beautiful" is not a sufficient criterion for success.

Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal: During your stay in Bangladesh what impressed you the most?

Guner Ureya: The hospitality and friendliness of Bangladeshi people fascinated me the most. Your people are very nice and friendly.

Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal: During your stay in Bangladesh what disappointed you the most?

Guner Ureya: Traffic.

Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal: How many Kosovo citizens live in Bangladesh? What are the major reasons behind their stay?

Guner Ureya: We have a very small number of Kosovars with residence in Bangladesh. Besides diplomats and their family members, there are Kosovars working for international organizations. 

Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal: What are the top five exports and Imports between Kosovo and Bangladesh? Are there any potential sectors that both countries are missing?

Guner Ureya: I'm sure that in a few years we'll be counting to 5 or even more articles of import and export between the two countries. Currently, the main trade items are RMG. Of course, there is also the modest pharmaceutical products trade. Food, furniture but also ICT services are among other potential sectors for the trade of goods and services between the two countries. 

Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal: How many Bangladeshi students go to Kosovo each year and how many of them got Scholarships?

Guner Ureya: The doors of Kosovo universities are open to international students. We would be pleased to have Bangladeshi students studying in our country. So far, we have identified only one Bangladeshi graduate from one of Kosovo's universities. We hope this number will increase. For the first time, there is ongoing work on a scheme for a scholarship for international students in Kosovo. An announcement will be made once the process is completed.

Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal: Is there any High official visit this year and how many were in between the two countries?

Guner Ureya: Recently, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, H.E. Mr. Kreshnik Ahmeti visited Dhaka. On the other side, Hon'ble Minister of Education of Bangladesh participated Women Peace Security Forum held in Prishtina on 22-23 October 2022.  The Prime Ministers of both countries have sent invitations to each other for an official visit. Both Excellences have very busy schedules. I hope it comes about soon.

Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal: Is there any tax-free agreement/FTA between Kosovo and Bangladesh?

Guner Ureya: There is an ongoing process of negotiation for the finalization of the Agreement for Economic Cooperation and Agreement on Avoidance of Double Taxation and Prevention of Fiscal Evasion between the two countries. On the other hand, the Stabilization and Accession Agreement with the European Union is in force and Kosovo’s aim is to be a part of this great European family through the integration process. Therefore, we have to comply with EU criteria regarding FTAs. Our trade arrangements with Bangladesh will proceed in parallel with the arrangements your country will make with the EU.

Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal: We heard one Kosovar Girl has been to Bangladesh and wrote about BANGLADESH, we will be happy to have her write up about Bangladesh and what were her experiences in Bangladesh?

Guner Ureya: Yes, Ms. Lavdi Zymberi visited different parts of Bangladesh and she left here with friendly impressions. As far as I know, she posts her impressions on her own blog. I will forward your write-up request to her.

Ashrafuzzaman Uzzal: BDTWA wishes to invite some Kosovar Travel Writer, Professional photographer to visit Bangladesh for 7 to 10 days and BDTWA wish to visit Kosovo as well to write a travel book and to make a travel blog about Kosovo, can you arrange a FAM trip to Kosovo? 

Guner Ureya: Of course, we are aware that such familiarization trips are important. We have organized such trips for tour operators and journalists from a few countries before. In the future, taking into account the demands and priorities of the stakeholders in the tourism sector, we can organize such an event between Kosovo and Bangladesh as well.