Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday inaugurated newly constructed seven school-cum-cyclone shelter centers built at Amtoli in Barguna district through a videoconferencing from her official residence Ganobhaban.
These projects funded by the ‘Fael Khair’ programme of King Abdullah Bin Abul Aziz International Charitable and Humanitarian Foundation of Saudi Arabia. Visiting Saudi Prince Turki bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Group President Dr Ahmad Mohamed Ali Al Madani and Member of the Trustee Board Prince Badar bin Abdullah joined the ceremony from Barguna with the Prime Minister at Ganobhaban through the videoconferencing.
The inaugural ceremony held at Ghatkhali Secondary School in Amtoli, is as part of the second batch 27 completed shelters in Barguna constructed under the Fael Khair Programme for cyclone victims.
Speaking on the occasion, the Prime Minister expressed gratitude to the late Saudi King for extending assistance to lessen sufferings of the people of Southern Bangladesh who were badly affected by cyclone Sidr and Aila.
Terming Barguna and other parts of Southern Bangladesh as the most disaster prone region, Sheikh Hasina said the school-cum-cyclone shelters will help create better opportunities to ensure the education of children. "These establishments will certainly ensure the welfare of people living in disaster prone areas as these could be used as school as well as shelter centers during the disaster," she said.
The Prime Minister also thanked the Saudi Prince and members of his delegation for joining the event. The Prime Minister hoped that the projects under ‘Fael Khair’ programme would play a very important role to further strengthen disaster management capacity of the country. Apart from serving as a modern educational institution for 240 students, each building will also give shelter to 2000 people and 500 cattle during any possible calamity.
A total of 173 school-cum-cyclone shelters are being constructed under the ‘Fael Khair’ programme in 13 districts of southern Bangladesh, including Barguna, Patuakhali and Bhola at a cost of $ 130 million donated by King Abdullah International Humanitarian and Charitable Foundation for the Sidr and Aila Iaffected people. Of them, construction works on 61 shelters have been completed while that on the remaining 112 establishments is progressing. A total of 41 cyclone shelters, including today's seven ones, were handed over to the local authorities and 20 more are ready for handover.
Saudi King Abdullah, who passed away last year and requested not to reveal his name at that time, donated grant worth US$ 130 million in December 2007 for providing relief and assistance to the victims of cyclone Sidr in two categories. The government and IDB signed an MoU on May 12, 2008 to implement the projects jointly.
The Fael Khair Project for the Construction of School-Cum-Cyclone Shelters is considered the major component of the Fael Khair Programme.
Finance Minister AMA Muhith also spoke at the function from Ganobhaban while State Minter for Finance and Planning MA Mannan, visiting Saudi Prince and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of King Abdullah International Charitable and Humanitarian Foundation Turki Bin Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz and IDB President Ahmad Mohammad Ali Al Madani delivered their speeches joining it from Amtoli. Minister for Disaster Management and Relief Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya and President of Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Saber Hossain Chowdhury were present at Ganobhaban, according to UNB. –Mithun