International Organization for Migration (IOM), with support from USAID's Bureau of Humanitarian Assistance (BHA), organised a “Safety at Sea” training for 200 boatmen based on the island of Moheshkhali.
IOM will conduct the training from March 5 to 6 in coordination with the Moheshkhali Upazila administration and other governmental bodies with the support from BHA, said a IOM media release on Friday.
The Cox’s Bazar – Moheshkhali sea route is one of the most important routes in this region, used frequently by development agencies and tourists alike. Similarly to Cox's Bazar’s mainland, the island of Moheshkhali is extremely prone to natural hazards such as cyclones. According to the District Administration, nearly a third of the 300,000 people living on the island are at risk.
“Seeing as the Moheshkhali– Cox's Bazar sea route is highly impacted by cyclones, we are grateful for this initiative of sensitising our boatmen on sea safety,” declared Mr. Asheq Ullah Rafiq, member of parliament of Cox's Bazar-2 constituency.
Since 2019, IOM has been working in the Moheshkhali Upazila and its five unions on building the capacity of Upazila and union Disaster Management Committee (DMC) members, training close to 1,500 Cyclone Preparedness Programme (CPP) volunteers on basic DRR skills and basic firefighting, and 150 host community volunteers on rescue training.
Mr. Md Mahfuzur Rahman, Moheshkhali’s Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) has applauded the initiative during the project’s inauguration on March 5.
“Through this assistance, our volunteers have benefited from several much-needed Disaster Risk Reduction capacity building activities and our community has received hygiene materials to support us in the fight against COVID-19 when we needed it the most,” he said.
Along with the upazila administration, the local fire service and civil defense, Cyclone Preparedness Programme (CPP), Bangladesh’s Internal Water Transportation Authority and Coast Guard also actively participated in the training.
“Several hundred boatmen are actively working on the Cox’s Bazar–Moheshkhali sea route, but they haven’t had access to any proper training on safety at sea so far. It is imperative for them to have access to this type of life-saving capacity building activity,” explained Patrick Charignon, IOM Cox’s Bazar Transition and Recovery Programme Coordinator.
“We hope that this initiative will not only save lives but also have added value for the island’s tourism sector.”
The training was organised in two batches, for 100 participants each day. Members of the upazila and Union DMC in Moheshkhali also participated in the training.
After completing their respective module, IOM provided the boatmen with sea safety equipment.