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Serving Sri Lanka

This web log is a news and views blog. The primary aim is to provide an avenue for the expression and collection of ideas on sustainable, fair, and just, grassroot level development. Some of the topics that the blog will specifically address are: poverty reduction, rural development, educational issues, social empowerment, post-Tsunami relief and reconstruction, livelihood development, environmental conservation and bio-diversity. 

Saturday, November 12, 2005

The Sri Lankan Parliament Select Committee to Recommend Steps to Minimize the Damages from Natural Disasters

srilankanparliamentonnaturaldisasters:
The Mandate When the tsunami hit people in Sri Lanka were not ready. In the light of the fact that the people of Sri Lanka were not prepared to face an event of this nature and the unpredictable and destructive nature of the tsunami event, on a motion moved in Parliament on 10.02.2005 the Parliament Select Committee consisting of 21 members from all political parties represented in Parliament was appointed with a mandate to:Investigate whether there was a lack of preparedness to meet an emergency of the nature of the Tsunami that struck Sri Lanka on 26th December, 2004 and to recommend what steps should be taken to ensure that an early warning system be put in place and what other steps should be taken to minimize the damage caused by similar natural disaster’.By unanimous choice of Parliament, Hon. Mahinda Samarasinghe, Chief opposition Whip of Parliament was appointed the Chairman of the Committee and the committee commenced its proceedings on February 11, 2005 and had 28 sittings up to the date of submitting this Report. The Committee heard the evidence of relevant personnel, went on field visits and participated in several local and foreign study tours.

By unanimous choice of Parliament, Hon. Mahinda Samarasinghe, Chief opposition Whip of Parliament was appointed the Chairman of the Committee.This committee commenced its proceedings on February 11, 2005 and had 28 sittings up to the date of submitting this Report. The details of committee deliberations and presentations made are all uploaded on the committee website: http://www.srilankanparliamentonnaturaldisasters.org . This is updated regularly.Deliberations of the Select Committee, Local and Foreign Study ToursThe Committee heard the evidence of experts in the relevant fields, public officers, senior officers and commanders of the armed forces, Police and officers of the relevant government and private agencies; civil society organizations; and provincial, district and division authorities. The Committee also along with media personnel went on a field visit to the Geology Centre in the University of Peradeniya, the Pallekele Seismological Centre and Kuliatta, an identified landslide prone region in Kandy. The committee also visited the Tsunami-hit areas of Galle, Matara, Hambantota, Ampara districts and one of the worst affected areas of Kalmunai in Ampara district. The Committee Members also participated in several local and foreign study tours. The agencies represented, a list of those who made presentations and participated at the deliberations are appended at the end of this report. Some very important information gathered during foreign visits too is appended as appropriate.These have been taken in to consideration in compiling the recommendations in this report.This Committee wishes to place on record its appreciation of the valuable assistance rendered by the United Nations Development Programme, International Organization for Migration, Government of Australia and AUSAID, US State Department and the Governments of India, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Turkey, Germany and Indonesia.The Committee in the course of deliberation agreed that the Parliament should appoint a Select Committee to examine and report on man-made disasters which the present Select Committee was unable to look into as a result of the Terms of Reference limiting its work to Natural Disasters. This should be followed up.ForewordTowards a “Safer Sri Lanka”It has been my pleasure to chair this Select Committee constituted by the Sri Lankan Parliament to ‘investigate whether there was a lack of preparedness to meet an emergency of the nature of the Tsunami that struck Sri Lanka on December 26, 2004 and to recommend what steps should be taken to ensure that an early warning system be put in place and what other steps should be taken to minimize the damage caused by similar natural disasters’.This Select Committee has adopted a truly bipartisan approach, consisting of senior ministers in the government and other senior members of parliament, who participated actively in the deliberations and study visits, despite their busy schedules. The proceedings of the various deliberations have been conducted in a very fair and impartial and constructive manner, leading to some very important recommendations.I take this opportunity to thank the experts, officials, various organizations- government departments, universities, national/ international NGOs, media and various individuals too numerous to be named, for their valuable contributions in the proceedings of the select committee and for their submissions.I also wish to acknowledge the invaluable support provided by various governments and international agencies for arranging eye-opening, invaluable study visits to different countries. Most of these countries visited have highly effective mechanisms for mitigating disasters and for reducing their impacts on lives and economy and the experiences from these study visits have contributed a lot towards the select committee’s recommendations.I also wish to put on record the valuable contribution of the UNDP and IOM in supporting the committee with technical inputs and assisting the select committee with this report.The Committee also wishes to express its sincere appreciation for the assistance and cooperation extended by the Parliament Staff.It is also my sincere belief that since the recommendations have been arrived at, by consensus, and considering the bipartisan approach of the committee, any government would be in an excellent position to implement these recommendations towards a ‘safer Sri Lanka’Mahinda Samarasinghe, MP Chief Opposition Whip Chairman- Sri Lankan Parliament Select Committee on Natural Disasters

Download Final Report (.doc file)


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