Disasters — Page 21 of 23


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.

Discussing ICT and disasters

Posted on January 13, 2006  /  0 Comments

The Pacific Telecom Council meetings where I first presented our analysis of the tsunami reponse has scheduled a major session on disaster communication at the 2006 meetings. PTC’06 Conference and Exhibition

Webhamuva yields bicycles

Posted on January 12, 2006  /  0 Comments

As part of our partnership with Sarvodaya on using ICTs for disaster management, LIRNEasia is managing www.webhamuva.org.  The excerpt below is from the Daily Mirror of 10th January 2006(www.dailymirror.
LIRNEasia is undertaking a project to provide disaster mitigation training and last-mile connectivity to tsunami-affected villages along the coast of Sri Lanka. The effectiveness of training and five different ICT technologies that will be deployed will be assessed with a view of rolling out the most successful strategies and technologies in 226 tsunami-affected Sarvodaya villages. This IDRC funded project is partnered with Sarvodaya, Vanguard Foundation, Dr. Gordon Gow, LSE, UK, TVE Asia Pacific, Sri Lanka and the Community Tsunami Early-Warning Center (CTEC) at Peraliya. In the aftermath of the Indian Ocean tsunami of December 2004, it was evident that if Sri Lanka along with the other affected countries had an effective disaster warning system in place, many lives could have been saved.

All links must work in disaster warning

Posted on December 25, 2005  /  1 Comments

The following article emphasizes the importance of the last mile and also demonstrates the value of the research we will be undertaking in 2006 on assessing the suitability of various technology solutions. Tsunami warning system a work in progress By JOSEPH COLEMAN ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER     Yuliana, 25, watches her 9 month-old baby, Nurul Husna, as they sit in front of their tent in Lampaseh Aceh, Banda Aceh, Indonesia, Friday, Dec. 23, 2005. Acehnese prepared for the one year anniversary of last years devastating Asian Tsunami, with many having regained jobs and houses, while thousands are still without employment and living in tents. (AP Photo/Binsar Bakkara) BANDA ACEH, Indonesia — It doesn’t look much like an escape route yet.
The Sarvodaya Report on six months of post-tsunami activities is available at http://www.sarvodaya.org/wp-content/Tsunami6monthsreport.pdf. Sarvodaya is Sri Lanka’s largest most broadly embedded people’s organization, with a network covering 15,000 villages, 34 district offices, over 100,000 youth.
A Press Conference has been organized by LIRNEasia and Vanguard Foundation, in collaboration with Sarvodaya, the Sri Lanka National Committee of Large Dams and ITDG South Asia to present an interim concept paper on an Early Warning System for Dam Related Hazards. It was held on August 10, 2005 at the Auditorium, Sri Lanka Foundation Institute. The concept paper was developed in consultation with local and international dam experts. Community meetings were held in three Sri Lankan cities that lie significantly in the flood path of the Mahaweli dam system, Kandy, Gampola, and Polonnaruwa. The purpose of these meetings was to raise awareness of on dam safety issues and to receive input from this most important set of stakeholders.

ICTs and early warning

Posted on July 26, 2005  /  6 Comments

Rohan Samarajiva and Asantha Sirimanne, spoke at the Taipei Conference of the International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR), 26-29 July 2005, in Taipei. Rohan Samarajiva, Executive Director of LIRNEasia gave a presentation on ICTs and disaster warnings (presentation slides available below. The underlying paper, in pre-publication form, is also given below. Its final version will shortly be published by New Media and Society. Mobilizing ICTs for early warning: Lessons from the 2004 tsunami, Rohan Samarajiva, IAMCR, Taipei (presentation slides) Mobilizing information and communications technologies for effective disaster warning: Lessons from the 2004 tsunami (underlying paper, pre-publication) | accompanying graphics Asantha Sirimanne, of LankaBusinessOnline who led the team of journalists who were the first to report the tsunami story, gave a talk entitled ‘No Warning,’ which is available below.
LIRNEasia and Vanguard Foundation conducted a third community meeting in Polonnaruwa on July 16. Together with speakers representing project partners ITDG, Sarvodaya, and the Vanguard Foudation, Rohan Samarajiva and Luxman Siriwardena presented Kantale: 19 years later, a documentary on the survivors of the 1986 Kantale dam breach and LIRNEasia‘s concept paper. The format of the meeting followed that of the earlier Kandy and Gampola meetings, with several presentations on different aspects of disaster response, community organization, and dam management, and extended question/comment sessions for public input. The Polonnaruwa meeting, held at the Sarvodaya district office, was long and lively, with a diverse crowd of participants offering insightful input and illuminating commentaries. Local farmers’ organizations and Sarvodaya-Polonnaruwa officers were especially well-represented.
The Presidential Commission on the Tsunami has been holding public hearings.  LIRNEasia and Vanguard Foundation gave evidence last week, 14th of July 2005.  Our evidence mostly covered the content and process of the NEWS:SL report, but in addition evidence was given of our experience with the 28th of March event and the earlier difficulties we experienced with the Met Department’s fax numbers not working and e-mail addresses given to Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaai bouncing.  The Navy and the Police are being questioned on who knew what when.  It looks like the  Commission is pursuing an interesting line of investigation.

Town Meetings in Kandy & Gampola

Posted on July 8, 2005  /  0 Comments

Public Consultation on Early Warning System for Dam Related Hazards and Safety On 2 July LIRNEasia, in partnership with the Vanguard Foudation, ITDG, and Sarvodaya, conducted community meetings in Kandy and Gampola to present the interim Concept Paper for a Dam-related Hazard Warning System in Sri Lanka and consult with the public on the local and regional disaster response history . These meetings included a screening of LIRNEasia‘s documentary on the 1986 Kantale dam disaster, with accounts from survivors and information on the current status of hazard precautions. Sarvodaya officers spoke about their organization’s role in rehabilitating affected populations in Kantale and outlined a framework for the several represented groups to collaborate on the project at hand. Rohan Samarajiva gave a detailed overview of the concept paper (now available for comments below) developed by LIRNEasia. Each presentation was followed by a session for audience questions and comments.
A Participatory Study on Actions Required to Avoid and Mitigate Dam Disasters download document in PDF Executive summary in Sinhala (PDF) Executive summary in Tamil (PDF) The need for this project arose in the course of disaster-management expert consultations carried out by LIRNEasia and The Vanguard Foundation in the preparation of “NEWS-SL: A Participatory Concept Paper for the Design of an Effective All-Hazard Public Warning System” in January-March 2005. The current Concept Paper outlines the contours of an early warning system for dam related hazards in Sri Lanka. It is being developed in a participatory, consultative, and transparent process. This interim draft has been compiled on the basis of research and an Expert Consultation held 20 May 2005 at the Distance Learning Center located on the campus of the Sri Lanka Institute of Development Administration, with participation from experts representing several decades’ worth of experience in several key Sri Lankan dam administration authorities. This draft is posted for comment.

Kantale Dam: 19 years later

Posted on June 11, 2005  /  0 Comments

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.
LIRNEasia and Vanguard Foundation, in collaboration with the Sri Lanka National Committee of Large Dams, have conducted an Expert Consultation as the basis for developing a concept paper on an Early Warning System for Dam Related Hazards. Most of the Sri Lankan experts on dam management and safety were invited to this event. The event was kicked off by Chandra Jayaratne, Director of the Vanguard Foundation and Rohan Samarajiva, Executive Director of LIRNEasia with a welcome address and opening remarks. The first presentation titled, Nineteen years later, what lessons have been learnt from the Kantale breach (and what changes have been implemented)? by D W R Weerakoon, Former Director General of Irrigation and Secretary, Presidential Commission on the Kantale Dam Breach.
“Hazards to Disasters the role of Electronic Communication,” by Rohan Samarajiva and Asantha Sirimanne is currently in session (April 29, 5.30PM). Rohan has circulated a paper titled Mobilizing information and communications technologies for effective supply of disaster warnings: Lessons from the 2004 tsunami. The paper is the basis for the discussion. Asantha will elaborate on the media aspects that flow out of the paper.
NEWS:SL was presented to Mano Tittawela, Chairman of TAFREN [Task Force for Rebuilding the Nation] yesterday (April 6 2005). Handing over Concept Paper; Tittawela, Samarajiva