UN experts reach Sunderbans to assess oil-spill impacts

UN experts reach Sunderbans to assess oil-spill impacts

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An expert team of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) reached Mongla Port, Bagerhat on Monday afternoon to assess the impacts of the oil spill caused by the oil tanker crash to the Sundarbans, the world’s largest mangrove forest.
“The UN team reached Mongla Port around 4 pm, and we along with the team will set out a journey by boats within an hour towards the oil-spill affected area,” Divisional Forest Officer Amir Hossain Chowdhury of the Sundarbans East Zone (Bagerhat) told journalists.
The team left Dhaka around 7 am with 20 experts and five officials, according to a UNDP official accompanying the team.In response to a government request, the UN system in Bangladesh mobilised the international team of experts to support the government’s drive to clean up the oil spill in the Sunderbans.
Dr Tapan Kumar Dey, a forest conservator (wildlife), said that a 25-member UNDP team, including nine foreign experts, will be visiting the affected areas of the Sundarbans.
He said the team will assess the adverse impacts of the oil spill on ecosystem and biodiversity of the mangrove forest. The Forest Department will assist the team during its visit.
“After their visit, the team will hold a meeting with the Forest Department and make their observations on the environmental disaster,” Dr Tapan added.
A United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) team arrived in Dhaka to support the ground work in coordination with the government.
The advance team arrived on Tuesday while the additional team members arrived later.
The team will also conduct an assessment and advise the government on recovery and risk reduction measures.
This UN support to the government of Bangladesh is led by UNDP with support from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)/the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Joint Environment Unit (JEU), and other partner countries including the US, the UK, France and the EU’s Civil Protection Mechanism.
The oil spill took place on December 9. Subsequently, the government requested the UNDP on December 15 to support government’s efforts. – UNB

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