Thursday, 28 May 2020

Dhaka, Bangladesh: The US government will readily respond to Bangladesh’s request in the event of any major natural catastrophe, according to US General (rtd) Henry Stackpole, in an interview to UNB at Hotel Radisson on April 29,afternoon.

General Stackpole, who led Operation Sea Angel following a catastrophic cyclone in Chittagong in 1991, was here to commemorate the 15th anniversary of their rescue mission code-named Operation Sea Angel. He observed that Bangladesh has enormously improved its capability of mitigating the suffering of humanity from any natural disaster, in terms of developing infrastructure like cyclone centres and communication network, since 1991. 

He said the civil and military quarters in Bangladesh are now more capable of responding to the emergency needs for food, water and medicine for the victims of natural disasters. 

“You have now more cyclone centres, which are being used for other purposes like schools and medical centres. And you have better information technology and communication that gives early warning about any natural disaster,” he said. 

Stackpole, however, said Bangladesh needs more resources like speedboats and helicopters for relief and rescue operations and observed that the US government could look into this aspect of enhancing the country’s capability effectively. 

Besides, he said, the US has high-technology warning systems, which could be shared with scientists in Bangladesh so that the loss from natural catastrophe could be less.

“You can’t prevent the act of nature, but proper planning and mechanism could mitigate the loss in terms of life and property.” 

Asked about any possible US marine base on the Bay of Bengal for readily extending humanitarian assistance, Stackpole said primary purpose of the military is to ensure security and then to work on humanitarian assistance. Besides, he said, setting up any military unit is very expensive.

“Through Operation Sea Angel we have developed a principle of how to work in another sovereign nation,” he said. He added that it is not possible for a single nation to cope.