The repeated tsunami alerts issued on September 12 and 13 of 2007 in a number of Indian Ocean countries, including Sri Lanka, is a reminder that the country continues to be vulnerable to natural disasters of increasing frequency and magnitude. Most importantly, it highlights the need for an effective disaster management system for Sri Lanka. However, developing an effective disaster management mechanism requires reliable scientific information on physical, social, and policy aspects. Currently, a significant information gap exists on disaster related issues in Sri Lanka.
To fill this gap IPS has released a publication on “Disaster Management Policy and Practice in Sri Lanka: Sharing Lessons among Government, Civil Society and Private Sector.” The publication was prepared by IPS as an outcome of a study that the Institute undertook in collaboration with Oxfam America.
The publication provides recommendations in formulating best practices and improving policy on disaster management. It contains a comprehensive analysis based on secondary information and interviews with all stakeholders, including government, NGOs, private sector, Community Based Organizations (CBOs) and local communities. The publication highlights the need to take a multi-hazard approach rather than a tsunami only approach, with greater emphasis on mitigation and prevention.
Mitigation and prevention are deemed to be more cost-effective in improving disaster management practices compared to post-disaster responses.
The publication also recommends the adoption of location specific approaches, focusing on coping strategies. In addition, the need to ensure that adequate attention is paid to vulnerable groups and implementation is coordinated effectively is emphasized. Policy makers, NGOs and CBOs working in the field of disaster management in Sri Lanka may find the publication useful.
The Executive Summary of the publication is available online at: http://www.ips.lk/publications/latest_publications.html.