[Dhaka Correspondent] Army chief General Moeen U Ahmed has dismissed suggestions that the government lifts state of emergency to facilitate relief operations in the cyclone-ravaged coastal areas. “Has politics got anything to do with relief operations? Tell me,” Moeen asked newsmen after a meeting with US Navy’s Admiral Timothy J Keating in the Army Headquarters Friday. The army chief made the remark in the wake of the demands recently made by some politicians. A statement of the US Embassy in Dhaka said during the meeting with the army chief, Timothy renewed the US commitment to support Bangladesh as it continues its relief operations.
Moeen welcomed US Navy’s move to help the disaster-stricken people in the south, “It will help us a lot. There will be no crisis of food in the affected areas. We are reaching every house in the affected areas with foodstuffs.” He said no new emergency shelter was built in coastal areas since 1991 although the population kept growing, “At this moment, food, pure drinking water, clothes and powered milk are most needed in the disaster-hit area. US will install 10 water purifying projects. Besides, the water purifying projects of the army will be on.”
Moeen hoped that the country would recover from the disaster soon. He said the US Navy’s ‘Operation Sea Angel’ greatly contributed to the rehabilitation programme in the aftermath of 1991 cyclone.
Admiral Keating earlier told newsmen at Zia International Airport that they had come to express sympathy to the victims and survivors of the cyclone. He said they were in Bangladesh to help with permission from the Bangladesh government. They would provide the survivors with food, pure water and treatment. Admiral Keating refused to give in to suggestions that their stay here was a sensitive matter. He said that they had come to help people and that they did not go anywhere if not invited. Reply to a question, Keating said US navy ships would stay in Bangladesh as long as it was necessary.
US Charge d’ Affaires Geeta Pasi told reporters that they immediately responded to Bangladesh’s appeal for help after the calamity, which reflected strong relationship between the countries.