Nearly ten years have passed since the Indian Ocean Tsunami disaster struck 13 out of 14 coastal districts in December 26th 2004. It caused devastating loss of lives and widespread damage to infrastructure, environment and subsequently the national economy in Sri Lanka.
Ministry of Disaster Management of Government of Sri Lanka conducted a three day conference from 24 to 26 September 2014 in Sri Lanka participated by global, regional, national and local level partners and stakeholders. The Disaster Management Conference 2014 was organized in association with UNDP, Sri Lanka Red Cross, ADPC, JICA, WHO, Coordinating Office of Science, Technology and Innovation, Sri Lanka (COSTI), IFRCC, World Bank and UNISDR.
The aims of the conference were to assess and share the lessons learned, best practices and challenges of post tsunami disaster risk management and development activities that were initiated in the country over the last nine years and to discuss Sri Lanka’s way forward.
One of the sessions was conducted by ADPC under the theme ‘Science, Systems and Applications towards Sustainable Disaster Management’ presenting ADPC’s contributions towards strengthening disaster management in Sri Lanka. Prof. Richard Haigh from University of Huddersfield, UK, Prof. Weerasinghe from University of Ruhuna, Sri Lanka, Mr Ivan Blikberg from UNESCAP and Mr. Atiq Kainan Ahmed and Mr. Arambepola from ADPC presented.
Furthermore, Mr. N M S I Arambepola, Dr. Buddhi Weerasinghe, Mr. Sisira Kumara and Dr. Senaka Basnayake from ADPC presented in other sessions of the conference on the themes of Global & Regional Cooperation in Disaster Management, policy and legislation frameworks for disaster management, leadership in disaster resilience, and early warning for community resilience in Sri Lanka. They also chaired and moderated a few sessions in the conference.
ADPC also developed a short film for the Ministry highlighting Sri Lanka’s 10 years’ progress in disaster risk management since the devastating Indian Ocean Tsunami in 2004. The film was screened at the closing ceremony of the conference.
The conference was well-organised and achieved its key objectives. It created a good networking opportunity for disaster risk management stakeholders to discuss future collaborations and the strategies for post 2015 as both Millennium Development Goals and the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) come to an end next year.