AUICK First 2010 Workshop
City Report and Revised Action Plan
Subash Chandra Roy
Chittagong, along the shore of the Bay of Bengal, is often affected by cyclones and flooding. The Action Plan for the city aims to improve its disaster preparedness, as well as overall maternal and child health care programs
1. The City
Chittagong is the second largest city, major port, and also referred to as the commercial capital of Bangladesh. It is situated on the bank of the Karnaphuli River and the Bay of Bengal, surrounded by hilly terrain, covers an area of 158 km², and has a population of about five million people. It began to grow as a tiny municipality in 1863 and was renamed Chittagong City Corporation in 1990, which is now divided into 41 wards.
Due to its geographical location, Chittagong suffers from natural disasters. The funnel-shaped northern portion of the Bay of Bengal causes tidal bores, and cyclones cause landfalls. Other types of natural disaster like floods, fires, landslides and earthquakes have also occurred. The most devastating recorded natural disasters to have hit Chittagong are the tidal bore and cyclone disasters in 1970 and 1991, which claimed the lives of over 300,000 and 130,000 people, respectively.
Cyclone shelters have been constructed in the coastal region, which has also been heavily protected with concrete levees and forestation on its embankment. Chittagong City Corporation is improving awareness and warning Chittagong, Bangladesh systems in the community, and has formed the Disaster Management and Relief Committee, maintaining an alert volunteer force, Red Crescent Society and conservancy team. It also provides emergency healthcare facilities and services in all 41 wards, which include food and medicine, transportation, ambulances, fire brigade services, drinking water provision, doctors, nurses, and rescue boats.
Chittagong City Corporation's arranging of maternal and child health care prioritizes newborns and children, to include special care for pregnant women and lactating mothers, neonatal and postnatal care, and intrapartum and immediate postpartum care. The Corporation oversees urban primary healthcare, dispensaries, a midwifery institute, the city's pharmaceutical industry and two hospitals, and organizes medicinal supplies for slum residents, immunization programmes, population growth monitoring, disposal of medical waste, proper surveillance and food safety programs.
2. Action Plan Progress
The Action Plan formulated at the Second 2007 Workshop established 41 ward level Disaster Management Committees under the guidance of the Central Disaster Management A disaster emergency drill in Chittagong AUICK Newsletter No.55 18 December 2010 Committee, headed by Mayor of Chittagong City Corporation. These conduct disaster management activities with the extensive participation of ward councilors, government officials, the district administration, Chittagong Development Authority, the fire service, NGOs, the Red Crescent Society, community leaders, teachers, health workers, students, volunteers and other city development agencies.
With the allocation of funds from the central government, donor agencies, NGOs and local elites, the City Corporation has also initiated its own fund for disaster management, and is operating a control room to disseminate signals / warnings and receive information from different parts of the city. This enables it to provide logistical support and immunizations, and organize the disaster management team, arranging evacuation, rescue, relief aid and rehabilitation activities for citizens at short notice.
3. Proposed Action Plan Revision
Revisions to the Action Plan made at the First 2010 Workshop aim to increase disaster preparedness and maternal and child health care services. Disaster planning and management programs will be improved through multi-sector coordination among concerned officials, local representatives, community leaders, NGOs, donor agencies and the district administration. The proper implementation of funding will improve warning systems, cyclone shelter construction, blood transfusion programs, family planning and counseling services, emergency transportation (including boat clinics), communication systems, a quick referral system, regular mother and child health care checkups, and emergency disaster plan demonstrations and drills.
The Plan also aims to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity rates, by increasing antenatal, postnatal and neonatal obstetric care, birth and child rearing assistance, safe and clean deliveries, and availability of midwives, nurses, doctors, birth attendants and essential medicines. School and college students, girls guides, scouts and the Bangladesh National Cadet Core (BNCC) will also participate in the Plan. Based on knowledge from the AUICK Workshop, measures will be taken to prevent sexual violence, HIV transmission and water borne diseases, and improve vaccination and nutrition programs.
Detailed planning and meetings will be arranged for city officials, councilors, and health workers of the city clinics, hospitals, urban primary health care and HIV/AIDS centers. Then, a detailed proposal will be made, with the consultation of academic experts, to ascertain priority and resource availability. These resources will be arranged from Chittagong City Corporation itself, the central government, and domestic and international donor agencies. To create awareness among the community and concerned officials, advocacy meetings, workshops and training on MCH and rescue operations will be held. The Plan will cover the entire city, supported by the local electronic and print media, schools and local mosques / temples.
Plan Time Frame: June 2010 –