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US seeks joint effort for more resilient BD

44The United States stressed the need of continuing joint efforts to help plan for a safer and more resilient Bangladesh with better preparations to the constant threat of cyclones and other storms.

“While no one can prevent earthquakes or other natural disasters from happening, we can all prepare for them. We look forward to working together,” said US Ambassador in Dhaka Marcia Bernicat on Tuesday acknowledging the ‘tremendous progress’ made so far.

She was addressing a function in the city, arranged to handover equipment to the Fire Service and Civil Defense (FSCD) donated through USAID’s Strengthening Earthquake Resilience in Bangladesh (SERB) activity which she described as a very ‘proud day’ for Bangladesh and the USA.

USAID’s SERB is a $1.6 million four-year project that started in June 2013 and will be completed in May 2017. SERB strengthens the capacity of Bangladesh government to address earthquakes and other disasters, reports UNB.

UNB quotes Bernicat as saying “Bangladesh and the United States share a long-running and highly successful partnership in protecting the lives of Bangladeshis during times of natural disasters”.

The US diplomat said Bangladesh has become significantly more resilient to the constant threat of cyclones and other storms. “However, there’s so far no technology that will accurately predict when an earthquake will happen.”

Describing Dhaka’s growing vulnerability, Bernicat said Dhaka’s very rapid urbanisation has increased the vulnerability to seismic events and other urban catastrophes since urban planning and service delivery has simply not been able to keep pace with growth.

“This is why the Strengthening Earthquake Resilience in Bangladesh activity is so important,” she said adding that Dhaka is one of the largest cities in the world and also one of the world’s fastest growing ones with a population of more than 15 million.