Sri Lanka disasters study shows commercial losses exceed physical damage

ECONOMYNEXT – Losses to industries and commerce from disasters are four times higher than that of physical damage, according to a new study on the impact of disasters in Sri Lanka.

In the recent past Sri Lanka has been experiencing an increase in natural disasters with their frequency and impacts considerably affecting the economy and development gains, according to the study published by the Consortium of Humanitarian Agencies (CHA).

Small scale entrepreneurs were the most affected mainly due to lack of awareness on hazards, absence of in-house capability and resources to influence better disaster preparedness and business continuity plans.

A Ministry of Finance National Planning Department loss assessment in five districts in north-central and eastern provinces following major floods in 2011 showed total damages and losses incurred by the private sector exceeded 77 billion rupees, it said.
Human fatalities due to disasters caused by natural hazards in Sri Lanka show a decreasing trend while disaster damages, losses and the number of people affected are on the increase, similar to the global trend, said the report.

It was presented at a forum organised by Asia Pacific Alliance for Disaster Management and Consortium of Humanitarian Agencies in collaboration with Asian Disaster Reduction and response Network.

“Investments in development need to consider long-term resilience,” the report said. “Whilst immediate relief and response take centre stage, long term disaster mitigation and resilience requires mechanisms for institutionalization across sectors and communities.”

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