Sri Lanka gets UNDP support to cope with natural disasters
ECONOMYNEXT – The United Nations Development Programme has launched a project in Sri Lanka to help the island better prepare for disasters from which it has suffered repeatedly in recent years and to build more resilient infrastructure.
The project, launched together with the Ministry of Disaster Management, supports the government’s vision of resilient recovery from disasters, to help Sri Lanka build back better in times of a disaster, a statement said.
“Build Back Better principles ensure that recovery is an investment towards sustainable development,” Darshana Senanayake, Secretary, Ministry of Disaster Management, said.
“As Sri Lanka is a country that faces recurring disasters, a Post Disaster Recovery Policy is an important step towards systematic planning and implementation of relief and recovery.”
Exactly one year ago, heavy rainfall and high winds triggered by the Southwest monsoon caused severe floods and landslides which affected 15 districts in the Southern and Western provinces of Sri Lanka.
The natural disaster cost the lives of over 200 people and affected over 800,000 more while damaging many houses especially in the worst affected districts of Galle, Ratnapura, Kalutara, Matara, Colombo and Gampaha.
The UNDP said the project provides an opportunity for stakeholders to discuss methods on raising awareness among communities, decision makers, and other partners on disaster recovery.
It will also help to facilitate a plan to institutionalize strategies of disaster risk reduction through the development of a National Recovery Policy and Build Back Better guidelines.
Speaking about UNDP’s support, Lovita Ramguttee, Deputy Country Director of UNDP Sri Lanka said the agency has supported recovery preparedness in 25 countries and helped prepare more than 40 Post-Disaster Needs Assessments [PDNA] after catastrophic events across the globe, including in Sri Lanka.
“NDP is now committed to supporting the Government to take the PDNA forward to achieve the vision of a disaster resilient Sri Lanka.”
The UNDP said disasters occur on a continual basis across the globe, bringing in their wake large-scale damages and losses to countries and communities.
“Weather-related disasters will in fact only get worse until concrete measures are taken in line with the Paris Agreement and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. Hence, risk-informed development and contingency plans for business continuity in the aftermath of a disaster are of paramount importance.”
Globally, UNDP is a leading implementer of Disaster Risk Reduction programmes with $1.7 billion invested in the ten years from 2005 to 2014 in 163 countries.
(COLOMBO, April 20, 2018)