Urban Community Volunteers ready to tackle urban disasters

Thursday 15 December 2016

In a joint effort made by Bangladesh Fire Service & Civil Defence Directorate and Save the Children, 300 urban community volunteers are now ready to face urban disasters as the first responders. 

These urban community volunteers is a part of Bangladesh Government’s commitment to develop 62,000 urban community volunteers acknowledging the fact that Bangladesh is highly vulnerable to earthquake due to its geographical location; massive earthquake could cause big earthquakes in cities. Fire Service & Civil Defence (FSCD) trained the 300 urban community volunteers residing in Dhaka and Narayanganj – on disaster management especially on earthquake and fire so that they can provide firsthand support to the affected people even before the arrival of the professionals.

The volunteers were awarded certificates at a ceremony held on Thursday, 01 December at the Fire Service & Civil Defence complex, jointly organized by Save the Children and FSCD.

Speaking at the certificate awarding ceremony as the chief guest, Asaduzzaman Khan, MP, Minister, Home Affairs, said, “Dhaka Metropolitan City is considered as one of the most vulnerable areas to earthquake, fire and subsequent building collapse. For example, after the Rana Plaza incident in 2013, it took 21 days to recover the injured and trapped. Along with our Fire Service & Civil Defence, these urban volunteers can save lives if there is any disaster such as this. We need to involve and encourage more community members to take part in such beneficial training on disaster risk reduction”. He urged international organization like Save the Children to continue the work together with Fire Service & Civil Defence to increase the number of volunteers.

Mark Pierce, Country Director, Save the Children in Bangladesh in his welcoming remarks said, “Our Urban Community Volunteer Programme helps to educate and prepare the most vulnerable and train volunteers to play a vital role to help ensure that proper precautions are taken and that the correct instructions are followed during a potential disaster.” He hoped to continue this effort with the government to build the city resilient.

Among others, Md. Shah Kamal, Secretary, Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief, Brig. Gen. Ali Ahmed Khan psc, Director General, Department of Fire Service and Civil Defence, and Alhaz Elias Uddin Mollah, MP, spoke at the event.