November 12, 2015
Honorable Chief Guest, Mr. Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal, Minister for Home Affairs and Member of Parliament,
Ms. Ayesha Ferdows, Honorable Member of Parliament, Hatiya Constituency,
Mr. Martuza Ahmed, Secretary, Ministry of Information,
Mr. Abdul Karim, Managing Director, PKSF,
Mr. Satoshi Fujita, President of BHN Association,
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
I would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to inauguration of Radio Sagordwip. We at JICA have been long waiting for this day since the start of the "Community Capacity Development Project for Disaster Risk Reduction by Community Radio" in 2013. This is the first cooperation for JICA to support establishment of a community radio which is a plain but innovative means to reach out to remote areas.
Hatiya Upazila has been most vulnerable to natural disasters in Bangladesh. The 1970 cyclone claimed staggering 10,000 lives. The death toll from the 1991 cyclone was more than 6,000. When the Cyclone SIDR struck in 2007, approximately 100,000 people suffered damages in Hatiya Island.
In order to mitigate the impact of natural disasters, it is indispensable to introduce preventive and evacuation measures. Since 1986, Japan has been supporting capacity development of Bangladesh Meteorological Department on early warning system through technical cooperation as well as grant aids for construction of five radar stations in Dhaka, Rangpur, Cox's Bazar, Khepupara and Moulvibazar which, as a whole, cover the entire country. Besides, Japan provided grant aids for construction of as many as 117 cyclone shelters along the southern coast line including Hatiya.
Nevertheless, these radar stations and cyclone shelters are of no use without informed actions of local communities. It is crucial to get local communities well informed of disaster risks and aware of necessary actions against them. For that, community radio is an effective media to collect accurate weather and disaster information and promptly deliver it to local communities.
How can a community radio effective to disasters? We can find an example in Nepal. Immediately after the catastrophic earthquake last April, community radios were fully operational across Nepal, incessantly providing useful information on medical and food supply, temporary shelters and so forth. They also secured vital communications between rescue parties and missing persons.
Ladies and gentlemen,
When the Cyclone Bhola caused more than 10,000 casualties in Hatiya in 1970, two young Japanese, Mr. Tadateru Konoe and Mr. Tadamasa Hukiura, dedicatedly worked for rescue and recovery in the island as staff of Japan Red Cross. Since then, many Japanese has been cooperating with the people in Hatiya in fighting against disasters.
As a proof of the long relationship between Hatiya and Japan, Radio Sagordwip is established for the people in Hatiya. Now the people can access many sorts of programs not only on disasters but also on local news, agriculture, health, education, etc. through mobile phones as well as radios.
Finally, I would like to express my sincere appreciation to all the staff of BHN Association and DUS as well as many young volunteers who work hard and help Radio Sagordwip create and broadcast valuable programs. I hope that the people in Hatiya will enjoy and favor Radio Sagordwip for many years to come.
Shobaike Onek Donnobad. Thank you very much.