Apr 20, Colombo: The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Sri Lanka together with the Ministry of Disaster Management on Thursday launched a project at the Ministry premises to support the Government's vision of resilient recovery from disasters, to help Sri Lanka build back better in times of a disaster.
Exactly one year ago, heavy rainfall and high winds triggered by the Southwest monsoon caused severe floods and landslides which affected 15 districts in the Southern and Western provinces of Sri Lanka. The natural disaster cost the lives of over 200 people and affected over 800,000 more whilst damaging countless houses especially in the worst affected districts - Galle, Ratnapura, Kalutara, Matara, Colombo and Gampaha.
Disasters occur on a continual basis across the globe, bringing in their wake large-scale damages and losses to countries and communities. Weather-related disasters will in fact only get worse until concrete measures are taken in line with the Paris Agreement and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. Hence, risk-informed development and contingency plans for business continuity in the aftermath of a disaster are of paramount importance.
The inception workshop in this regard provided an opportunity for stakeholders to discuss methods on raising awareness among communities, decision makers, and other partners on disaster recovery, and to facilitate a plan to institutionalize strategies of disaster risk reduction through the development of a National Recovery Policy and Build Back Better guidelines.
Speaking at this workshop, Darshana Senanayake, Secretary, Ministry of Disaster Management said "Build Back Better" principles ensure that recovery is an investment towards sustainable development. "As Sri Lanka is a country that faces recurring disasters, a Post Disaster Recovery Policy is an important step towards systematic planning and implementation of relief and recovery.”
Globally, UNDP is a leading implementer of Disaster Risk Reduction programs with $1.7 billion invested in the ten years from 2005 to 2014 in 163 countries. UNDP has also supported the Government of Sri Lanka to develop the 2005 Road Map Towards Safer Sri Lanka in line with the UN sponsored Hyogo Framework of Action and most recently, the Sri Lanka Comprehensive Disaster Management Programme.
Speaking about UNDP's support, Ms. Lovita Ramguttee, Deputy Country Director of UNDP Sri Lanka stated, “Globally, having supported recovery preparedness in 25 countries and the facilitation of more than 40 Post-Disaster Needs Assessments [PDNA] after catastrophic events across the globe - including in Sri Lanka, UNDP is now committed to supporting the Government to take the PDNA forward to achieve the vision of a disaster resilient Sri Lanka.”