LIRNEasia organised a press conference to highlight two major initiatives in the area of hazard warning, one that it launched on providing disaster mitigation and last-mile connectivity to tsunami-affected villages and the other that it wrapped up on dam-related hazard warning system for Sri Lanka.
LIRNEasia released A Concept Paper for a Dam-related Hazard Warning System in Sri Lanka: A Participatory Study on Actions Required to Avoid and Mitigate Dam Disasters in collaboration with its project partners, the Vanguard Foundation, Sri Lanka National Committee on Large Dams (SLNCOLD), Intermediate Technology Development Group (ITDG) and Sarvodaya. This work was funded by the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives. Prof. Rohan Samarajiva, Executive Director of LIRNEasia, handed over the final concept paper to U. W. L. Chandradasa, Director, Disaster Management Centre, Government of Sri Lanka. Excerpts from Kantale: 19 Years Later, a video documentary that was directed by Divakar Goswami and produced as part of the dam hazard project was screened on this occasion.
LIRNEasia and Sarvodaya formally launched a project to prepare tsunami-affected Sarvodaya villages to be disaster resilient. In the first instance, this project would evaluate disaster mitigation training and a number of ICTs for last-mile connectivity to 32 tsunami-affected villages in Sri Lanka. Based on the relative effectiveness of the ICTs, recommendations would be made on a wider-scale deployment of last-mile technologies and disaster preparedness training.
Rohan Samarajiva outlined the project objectives, methodology and introduced the project partners. Dr. Vinya Ariyaratne, Executive Director of Sarvodaya, described the last-mile hazard information project as part of Sarvodaya’s integrated response to disasters. He also announced the opening of the Samana Teta Disaster Management Institute in Moratuwa the day before, that would act as the coordinating hub for the project. Dr. Wil Baker, Senior Vice President from WorldSpace, described the features of the Disaster Warning Response and Recovery system based on addressable satellite radio technology that would be deployed with other ICTs in the coastal villages. Nalaka Gunawardena from TVE Asia Pacific and Gordon Gow from the London School of Economics, project partners, were also present to answer questions from the media.
The media coverage of the event will be tracked in the comments thread below.