Sri Lanka Archives — Page 58 of 60 — LIRNEasia


“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.

Research priorities for 2005-06

Posted on April 28, 2005  /  1 Comments

On being asked to identify what I thought were the key on-the-horizon policy issues, I came up with the following. It would be helpful to have a web discussion on this with the intention of coming up with a ranked list that may include new items. 1. I am even more convinced that the backbone is a critical hole in the original reform thinking. Its significance is highlighted by Korea’s success in broadband and everything ICT.

Tsunami Lessons

Posted on April 1, 2005  /  8 Comments

Ten preliminary lessons of the 28th March 2005 Sumatra great earthquake (Photo Source) LIRNEasia, together with Vanguard Foundation, intends to systematically analyze the Sri Lankan media response to the great earthquake of the 28th of March. However, it appears useful to draw some preliminary lessons from this tragedy which has cost over 1,000 lives, including the people of Nias and other islands and those in Sri Lanka and elsewhere who died as a result of the warnings. The conclusions are preliminary; comments are welcome. # Earthquake hazard detection is easy; tsunami hazard detection is not. One cannot simply infer the existence of a destructive tsunami from an earthquake.
Some of the key recommendations made by LIRNEasia in the National Early Warning System (NEWS:SL) concept paper are now being picked up by policymakers and the media in Sri Lanka as can be read in this new report by the Lanka Business Online: One Voice On Tuesday, Sri Lankan legislators called for a single body to issue warnings on potential natural diasters This is one of the key recommendations that LIRNEasia made in its paper ( NEWS:SL section 2.12, page 18). Mr. Newton Gunaratne head of the state-run Independent Television Network said: “We could not find any authority who was willing to say it was safe for people to go back, that is why we need a centralised system from where authoritative information can be obtained.” LIRNEasia recommended that a well-designed warning system will clearly alert a local population of the hazard and also provide all-clear notofications (NEWS:SL 2.
NEWS:SL [National Early Warning System: Sri Lanka] was presented to the �Presidential Commission of Inquiry to Inquire into Matters Relating to the Conduct of Relevant State Institutions/Agencies Following the Natural Disasters which Occurred on 26 December 2004, and the Measures that Should be Taken to Improve Early Warning Mechanism for Natural Disasters and Thereby to Prevent or Mitigate Such Devastation� following a presentation of same to the Commission� on March 15 2005, less than three months after the greatest catastrophe faced by Sri Lanka in modern times. The salient features of the Concept Paper were presented to the Commission, in addition several other research findings relevant to the Commission. The importance of an all-hazards approach was stressed and governance model options were discussed. Recommendations on actions that are needed by government were made and intended actions by the Vanguard Foundation were presented. Commission members, retired Supreme Court Judge H.
It has been three months since Sri Lanka lost 40,000 valuable lives and the Indian Ocean region 300,000. Given below is the e-mail message that LIRNEasia sent to its friends and well wishers on this sad day of remembrance. It is being posted here in case we missed your e-mail address or got it wrong. Three-month alms giving in remembrance of the victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami Prompt action to establish an effective National Early Warning System is the best memorial we can build to the 40,000 valuable lives that were swept away for the lack of a few minutes of warning and a little awareness.—NEWS:SL Concept Paper It is customary in Sri Lanka to offer a dana (an alms giving wherein offerings are made to monks and the resulting merit is offered to the departed) three months after the death of a dear one.

National Early Warning System

Posted on March 7, 2005  /  11 Comments

National Early Warning System: Sri Lanka (NEWS:SL):  A Participatory Concept Paper for the Design of an Effective All-Hazard Public Warning System (Version 2.1) Annexes: A Participatory Concept Paper for the Design of an Effective All-Hazard Public Warning System (Version 2.1)   *Executive Summary*# *The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami that claimed the lives of one in 500 of Sri Lanka�s people and displaced one in twenty has highlighted the critical importance of an effective National Early Warning System for Sri Lanka (NEWS:SL)*. Meeting this need, which has been discussed (and forgotten) after each of our too frequent disasters such as the cyclones of 1978 and the floods of 2003, can no longer be postponed. # *Public warning is a system, not a technology*.
A video news conference connecting experts in disaster warning systems in Colombo, Vancouver and Hawaii answered questions posed by the Sri Lankan press and television journalists. This event was organised by LIRNEasia and Vanguard Foundation on February 10 at the Distance Learning Center on SLIDA’s campus in Colombo. The event was launched by the release of the draft report on a National All Hazard Disaster Warning System written by local and international experts. This draft report emerged from an Expert Consultation that was held in January 26, 2005 where broad input was obtained from Sri Lankans with disaster management expertise, experts in hazard warning and the public who responded to newspaper advertisements. The primary purpose of the video news conference was to discuss the concept paper with the Sri Lankan media in order to give the widest possible publicity to the draft report that was written up on the basis of international best practice and local input.
Comments and suggestions are hereby invited on the interim report: “Specifications of a national all-hazards warning system.” Draft for comment The paper is based on international and local expertise and the input from an expert consultation held on January 26th, 2005. All comments received prior to February 19th will be taken into account in finalizing the report. It is intended that the final report will be handed over to the appropriate authorities in government on or around the 26th of February, 2005, two months to the day from Sri Lanka’s greatest calamity. Comments may be submitted in the comment space below, or alternatively emailed to asia@lirne.
The original purpose of the visit was to participate in a super session on “Strategies for implementing universal access.” The session was well attended and useful. My presentation was Expanding Access to ICTs (Powerpoint) Along with Bill Melody’s forceful comments it clearly established the importance of market and regulatory reforms, a position that may otherwise have been deemphasized as a result of the Chair’s interest in subsidies. The visit was also used to pursue the disaster warning-communication issues that have come to the fore in the aftermath of the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004. On the 18th of January I visited the Big Island’s Civil Defense Emergency Operations Center and the Pacific Tsunami Museum accompanied by Bill Melody and at the invitation of Dr George Curtis, a tsunami expert at the University of Hawai’i at Hilo.
The Vanguard Foundation and LIRNEasia held an Expert Consultation, on January 26th 2005 (Crystal Room, Taj Hotel, Colombo Sri Lanka) to obtain views and ideas on a national all-hazards warning system for Sri Lanka. Four presentations were made, providing a broad framework for discussion with participants, to provide input for a concept paper that Vanguard Foundation and LIRNEasia will produce, with recommendations for such a system. This draft concept paper will be available on the web for public comment in the first week of February. The presentations can be viewed by following the links: What Lessons from the 2004 Tsunami? Dr Harsha de Silva, LIRNEasia National Warning System Parameters Prof.

My talk on disaster warning in Honolulu

Posted on January 22, 2005  /  0 Comments

I was on the closing plenary at the Pacific Telecom Council, with Peter Anderson (Simon Fraser University, Canada), Stuart Weinstein (Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, Honolulu, USA) and Charlie Kagami (Japan). Plenary Talk Photo The topic was “Disaster warning: how can we get it right the next time?” The talk is What happened in Sri Lanka: And Why it won’t be so bad next time.
The BBC world service programme ASSIGNMENT this week is about the tsunami and emergency communications in Sri Lanka and includes an interview with Rohan. You can hear it at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/meta/tx/nb/assignment_au_nb.
The press conference in Colombo, Sri Lanka and Washington DC of the World Bank President, Mr. Wolfensohn is available in its entirety via Audio and Video streaming. More details on post-Tsunami reconstruction effort can be found on World Bank’s website. Detailed damage assessments will follow initial estimates WASHINGTON, January 12th, 2005-World Bank President James D. Wolfensohn said Wednesday that reconstruction in the tsunami-hit countries of Asia and Africa must be driven by the local communities affected by the disaster, adding that the process of rebuilding should be transparent and ensure accountability for the funds pledged.

SMS as part of Early Warning System

Posted on January 12, 2005  /  93 Comments

SMS enlisted for Tsunami warning system? By Ben Charny, CNET News.com Monday, January 10 2005 11:55 AM At least five countries have begun developing an alert system using cell phone text messages, a response to the catastrophic Asian tsunami that exposed flaws in present-day early warning schemes. Discussions among officials in India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Thailand, which were hard hit by the killer tsunami, along with France, have begun in just the last few days, according to a source familiar with the plans. The goal is to supplement older systems that proved little help for nations in the path of the immense waves in late December that have so far killed more than 140,000 people in 11 countries.

Design of eSri Lanka

Posted on January 6, 2005  /  10 Comments

An article describing the thinking behind the design of e Sri Lanka, with emphasis on e government and infrastructure is at . As the title note states, this was a collective design that many contributed to. So, I cannot take credit for the design, though I will have to take responsibility for any errors in the article. This is a good journal for those working on developing country infrastructure issues. Subscribe.