Dec 14, Colombo: Sri Lanka, with the support of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is preparing a National Emergency Operations Plan (NEOP) to handle disasters and enhance disaster response.
Since an Indian Ocean tsunami devastated the country in December 2004, the Ministry of Disaster Management and the Disaster Management Centre (DMC), have worked together with multiple stakeholders involved in disaster response to set up legal and institutional systems, prepare vulnerable communities for disasters and enhance efforts to minimize disaster risks.
As a result Sri Lanka now has a 24/7 early warning and response capacity, and according to the UNDP, the NEOP will be the next level of disaster response enhancement.
The NEOP identifies the roles and responsibilities of different agencies involved in emergency operations and includes communication mechanisms at the national and sub national levels and among relevant organizations.
On November 5 and 6, 2012, a live rehearsal has been conducted to test the NEOP and identify the gaps and potential improvements. Agencies simulated their actions for disasters such as tsunami, floods, cyclone and landslides. An innovative web interface was also used by disaster management personnel to upload, edit and share information (www.neop.gsa.lk) during the development of the NEOP.
The NEOP will be submitted to the National Council of Disaster Management through the Ministry of Disaster Management. The plan will be made operational, with adequate training being provided throughout the island, as an integral part of the next phase of the Disaster Management Programme that is being developed to cover the period 2013 to 2017.
The disasters covered under the NEOP includes Aircraft crash, Air raids, Chemical accidents, Civil or internal strife, Coastal erosion, Cyclones, Dam breach, Droughts,,Earthquakes, Epidemics, Explosions, Fire, Floods, Forest fire, Industrial disasters, Landslides ,Lightning & Thunderstorms, Manmade disasters, Maritime hazards, Nuclear disasters, Oil spills Radiological emergencies, and Tsunami.