Red Cross constructs national disaster management centre

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 10 January 2006, 02:05 GMT]
The Red Cross Movement has pledged to construct 15,000 houses to the tsunami affected families and the reconstruction is ongoing in districts destroyed by the natural disaster in the island, said Mr.S.H.Nimal Kumar, National Secretary of the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society, who was elected to chair the Disaster Management and Relief Committee of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescents Societies at its general assembly held in Seoul, South Korea, recently.

"A holistic approach dominates our construction progress. Each housing unit will cost Rs. 1 million," said Mr. Kumar. " A Memorandum of Understanding was signed with the Ministry of Heath and Nutrition to reconstruct and to renovate the health facilities affected by tsunami tidal waves. A MOU was also signed to reconstruct the waster and sanitation system worth of US$ 100 Million.

Mr.S.H.Nimal Kumar
Mr.S.H.Nimal Kumar, National Secretary of the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society.
"At the national level, work on the construction of SLRCS National Disaster Management centre in Katunayake has already commenced with the support of Korean Red Cross Society. Appropriate measures are taken to enhance their capacity with the support of Movement partners in every respect. We are planning to set up warehouses in each divisional secretariat division island wide before 2010.”

For the first time in its history of the SLRCS, it has been elected to chair the committee for a four-year period till 2009. The Disaster Management and Relief Committee comprises eight members elected from 183 national societies and is functioning as a unit in the headquarters of the Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies which is located in Geneva.

" We are indeed proud of this as this is an international recognition for the services rendered by the SLRCS over the years to the vulnerable," said Mr. Kumar.

The SLRCS has twenty-six branches in the island

" I consider it a privilege to head this committee for a period of four years, which will enable me to serve the Red Cross Movement internationally. The Committee meets every three months and is responsible for policymaking, strategy planning, evaluation and monitoring pertaining to disaster management worldwide. In short, the committee functions as advisory body to the governing board of the International Federation," said Mr. Kumar who was recently elected uncontested to serve a second term as the National Secretary of the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society.

Mr. Kumar is a native of Trincomalee .

The Red Cross activities in the island were at an ebb due to various reasons during the period of 1990s which had been described by many as a 'dark period', he said. “After becoming National Secretary of the SLRCS in 2002, one of our main tasks was to establish good relationships with the funding sources as well as various National Societies around the world. During my first term, the donors through SLRCS implemented many projects including flood relief, drought relief, and psychosocial support, health programme in the conflict areas as well as in other parts of the island. We were able build up and retain skilled volunteers.

“This bore results for, when the tsunami hit the coastal belt on 26th December 2004, we had the capacity and responded immediately and effectively. The International Federation, ICRC and various National Societies assisted us immensely. More than 30 national societies sent their teams to assist the affected and support us. To ensure the effective relief operation a Movement Platform was formed immediately, comprising ICRC, IFRC and participating National Societies and headed by SLRCS.”


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