We have been engaged with broader connectivity issues in the region since 2010, when Abu Saeed Khan and I started working to move ICT connectivity issues up on UN ESCAP’s agenda, embedded in other forms of connectivity. Much of what we’ve done in this area recently has been on the demand for connectivity developing in the Bay of Bengal. But thanks to the Trincomalee Consultation organized by Pathfinder Foundation and Carnegie India, I look at the supply side, with focus on Trincomalee. Here are the concluding comments. When conclusions are drawn from maps and anecdotes, it seems obvious that Trincomalee is ideally positioned to serve as a maritime gateway to the Bay of Bengal region.
As a follow-up to the “all-hazards” approach to developing an early warning system, LIRNEasia along with Vanguard Foundation, Sri Lanka National Committee of Large Dams and ITDG are working together to produce a concept paper that would outline the contours of an early warning system for dam related hazards. There are approximately 320 medium and large dams in Sri Lanka and around 10,000 small dams, most of which are more than 1000 years old. The consequences of a major dam failure in Sri Lanka can be devastating to life, property and the environment. This is not a theoretical possibility but something that has occurred 19 years ago in Kantale, Trincomalee district in 1986. The Kantale dam which is more than 50 feet high and 13,760 ft long, breached in the early hours of 20th April and rapidly flooded villages downstream killing 127 people and destroying property in the region of Rs 575 million.