Tsunami coverage that includes mentions of LIRNEasia

Posted on December 23, 2009  /  1 Comments

The pictures that keep coming up on the right-hand side of the blog are for the most part those of the aftermath of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. So we are not allowed to forget. Not that we want to.

But anyway, Newsweek was the first to publish something with a quote from LIRNEasia. I was hoping we’d get a decent Disaster Act, but we’ll settle for greater awareness. For now. But we’ll ask again.

Unfortunately, the hardest lessons to learn from Sri Lanka’s experience are incredibly difficult to implement. The most explicit reality is that the world’s most vulnerable—namely the poor who lack sturdy housing and good communication—are almost always the hardest hit. Work by the Centre for Research on the epidemiology of disasters reports that tragedy tends to kill more in the underdeveloped south than in the industrialized north. “The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami marked the starting point of a shift away from relief and recovery to risk reduction, which will give us disasters that are more like their ‘northern’ counterparts,” says Rohan Samarajiva, CEO of Lirneasia, a Sri Lankan nonprofit that has watched the tsunami recovery closely. However, accepting the fact that natural disasters are destined to continue, and understanding that climate change threatens to intensify some of Mother Nature’s most tragic handiwork, it will still take significant effort to prepare the globe’s most at-risk communities. And in a time of global financial crisis, the funds aren’t readily available.

1 Comment

  1. Laws, regulations and institutions are necessary, but not sufficient, for good governance. Other ingredients needed to bake that ‘cake’ well include the right to information, adequate public consultation and transparency in decisions and spending. These apply equally to governments, aid agencies and UN organisations.

    Foresight is uncommon, but what is the excuse for not being wise in hindsight? For example, Sri Lanka’s new disaster law, adopted within months of the tsunami, has been criticised for its many deficiencies. As Dr Rohan Samarajiva, independent academic and a former telecom regulator, asked at the time: “The question is whether our people will have a few more minutes of warning and a little more knowledge on how to save their lives and those of their loved ones the next time. It may work; we have to hope that it will.”

    Four years later, he still remains concerned. “A new disaster act may be a good way to commemorate the 5th anniversary of the tsunami,” he wrote in his organisation LIRNEasia’s blog a few weeks ago.

    More support for doing something a little more meaningful to mark the 5th anniversary. Nalaka Gunawardene writes at: http://uk.oneworld.net/article/view/164267/1/