Thursday, July 19, 2007

Sri Lanka Learning from Past Disasters

The Tsunami was the topper, but Sri Lanka sees its share of floods, droughts and epidemics. In a wise move to learn from these disasters, going back to 1974, the government's Disaster Management Centre (DMC) is gathering a database of information about how it dealt with them in order to plan for better handling of disasters in the future.

"This database will help policymakers make investments in disaster reduction more efficiently, and relief providers will be able to identify vulnerable areas to target their programmes," U. W. L. Chandradasa, the DMC's director of mitigation and technology, told IRIN.
Apparently, it doesn't take a disastrous response to a disaster (as in Katrina), to provide useful and instructional lessons. Every emergency provides opportunities to learn. As the preliminary report says:
The systematic tracking of small and medium disasters [which do not hit the headlines of international or even national media] along with detailed data about large-scale disasters will provide the necessary disaster intelligence to keep a tab on emerging patterns of disaster risk and look at the underlying causes.
Of course, a study of Katrina could fill volumes and we still see little evidence that FEMA has gotten its act together for the next powerful storm.

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