A must read on disaster management

Recently Prothoma Prokashan published a book on disaster management in Bangladesh. The book “Durjog Byabosthaponay Bangldesher Orjon” is compiled and edited by Gawher Nayeem Wahra. I do not know whether any such kind of book was published earlier in Bangladesh. Disaster and different components of disaster management are discussed in this book, a rare kind published from Bangladesh.

The first glance at the book reveals that it is the result of the heavy painstaking empirical study and research along with compilation of primary and secondary data. The cyclone of 1970 was the strongest one in the memory of our generation.

Many of us used to think disaster meant cyclone, tidal surge and flood only in Bangladesh. But to the general readers this book expressed the meaning of disaster in different angles and kinds. General readers could know the different kinds and components of natural and man-made disasters through this book which are not much discussed in our media and talk-shows.

Besides the flood, cyclone, and tidal surge, the general readers would acquire knowledge on industrial disaster, air pollution, stagnant water, earthquake, lightning, road accident, fire accident, drowning, food contamination, heatwave, cold wave, preservation of seeds, improper use of pesticides and insecticides, salinity in coastal areas, scarcity of drinking water, use of chemicals in leather processing and many more from this book.

There is a general consensus that the people in our country are not that much aware about these issues. Some of these are known as silent disasters. Many of us do not have sufficient knowledge of the effect of the cold wave on agricultural production. Youngsters’ habit of having junk food is also one kind of silent disaster for health. This book has raised the problems and issues and probable solutions and prevention of different types of natural and man-made disasters in a comprehensive way.

However, going through this book one may get some discrepancies of data or information. For example, in page 204 regarding Kaptai Dam it is mentioned that the dam is 670.56 km long. It seems this information is not correct. Another discrepancy is in the page 205 regarding Meghna cross dam. It is mentioned that a course of this river Meghna used to flow over the district of Rangamati. But this information also may not be correct.

The definition of coastal area is also missing in the book. The coastal area covers a certain length of area from the shore point. This could have been explained properly. Many of us have no idea about the definition of coastal area but it seems the effect of the last point of tide and ebb-tide from the shore-point area is coastal area. Emphasis could also have been given on the needs of awareness of using hand tube wells in northern areas in Bangladesh during the dry season. In the dry season, lifting water from a hand tube well is gruesome work. Many people get injured while lifting water by using the hand tube well. It is very common in northern areas and greater Kushtia as well.

As a whole this is an outstanding book and a result of a long empirical study. Students and people who seek to be aware of disaster management in Bangladesh should keep this book in their collection. 

* Dr. Syed Nesar Ahmad Rumy is a former joint secretary who served as deputy commissioner of Chattogram