Private sector, aid agency tie-up in Sri Lanka for faster disaster relief

ECONOMYNEXT – A tie-up between aid agencies and private sector companies has enabled relief to be delivered more efficiently and quickly during disasters, a humanitarian agency official said.

The linkage allows for better use of supply chains, pooling of resources and avoiding duplication, said Firzan Hashim, deputy executive director of the Consortium of Humanitarian Agencies (CHA), an association of relief agencies working in the island.

The CHA has entered into an agreement with one of the largest super market chains in the island to provide for discounts for bulk orders and free local delivery that results in very fast response at times of disasters.

Private companies are keen to support disaster relief to make use of their own expertise and fill any gap in government mechanisms, Hashim told an international disaster convention in Colombo.
Hashim recalled how in north-central Polonnaruwa, when  the government agent wanted essentials for women and children there were no vehicles to go from Colombo but the local supermarket provided the items within 25 minutes of a phone call.

The tie-up between the private sector and relief agencies enables more productive use of super market chains, stockpiles and distribution, Hashim told the forum organised by MDF Asia with UNDP and the Disaster Management Centre.

Rather than individual agencies having their own stockpiles, relief agencies could make use of existing stockpiles in responding to disasters, he said.

”This is a way of optimising resources and avoiding duplication,” Hashim said.

“We work closely with the ministry of disaster management and government agents. We can identify gaps and ensure there’s no duplication.”

The private sector is responsible for 70-85 percent of global investments but studies show about a quarter businesses do not reopen after a disaster.  (Colombo/December 09 2015)





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