French Government funds disaster preparedness efforts

[TamilNet, Monday, 14 November 2005, 11:18 GMT]
The Government of France has provided Sri Lanka $1.2m to improve disaster preparedness, to create better disaster awareness and a culture of safety in the country, a press release issued by the French Embassy in Colombo said Monday.

Full text of the press release follows:

The French Government grants US$ 1.2 million to Sri Lanka to further efforts to improve disaster preparedness, to create better disaster awareness and a culture of safety in the country.

With the assistance of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Disaster Management Centre (DMC) this financing will be utilized to enhance management capabilities of disaster risks at local, intermediate and national levels in Sri Lanka and to mainstream disaster risk reduction into the development process.

This project will complement and enhance the on going disaster risk reduction projects in the country where UNDP has played a significant role in the development of a National Disaster Management Plan, drafting the Disaster Management Act, training of national and district level officials, preparation of district and divisional disaster preparedness and response plans and for the establishment of the National Disaster Management Centre. Recently, UNDP has provided support to the national authorities for emergency response activities in the aftermath of several disasters including the severe floods and landslides of May 2003 and the recent tsunami.

However, the tsunami disaster has created development demands at all levels that far exceed the normal capacity of both UNDP and the Government. Building and sustaining disaster risk reduction capacities at all levels will be vital in maintaining the momentum into the recovery and reconstruction phase and subsequently to establish comprehensive disaster risk management mechanism.

Steps are being taken to support the DMC to enable it to implement the Disaster Risk Management (DRM) framework/roadmap (2005-2015) which is being developed at all levels of administration in partnership with the relevant stakeholders.

UNDP will support different units of the Centre, set up to manage varying aspect of disaster risk reduction and preparedness by helping them to carryout and develop disaster preparedness and response plans for national ministries, authorities and departments and to develop disaster preparedness and response plans at district, provincial, district, divisional, pradeshiya sabha levels.

Also, the project will support to carry out community contingency planning exercises adopting the multi hazard approach at local levels.

The support will be extended to carry out special trainings on first aid, shelter management, sanitation, search & rescue and evacuation, life saving, fire fighting etc, to members of the disaster management committees being formed.

In addition the project will together with the DMC promote partnerships with academic and research institutions, and the private sector in disaster risk management.

Furthermore, it funds the establishment of community links with the Early Warning System being planned by Govt. of Sri Lanka. This will help strengthen resources and skills of the institutions involved in early warning systems, to improve tangibly the forecasts for multi-hazards (floods, drought, landslides etc.) and ensure appropriate actions to avoid their adverse impacts.

In minimizing the threats to life and property by disasters, more than a decade of information will be used to analyze and monitor disaster trends, which will help in the formulation of policies and in decision making tools in the future. For instance, mapping and identification of vulnerable zones for landslides will be a key part of the disaster reduction plan. Thereby, extending assistance to develop disaster risk reduction measures, capacities in retrofitting and construction technology and mainstream into development process and long term investments.

Note to editors: UNDP is the UNís global development network, advocating for change and connecting countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help people build a better life. We are on the ground in 166 countries, working with them on their own solutions to global and national development challenges. As they develop local capacity, they draw on the people of UNDP and our wide range of partners.


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