President Maithripala Sirisena (centre) launches the official web domain of the organisation
With both natural and man-made disasters becoming frequent, the need for a professional forum of disaster risk management professionals has been long felt in Sri Lanka. With the vision of providing a professional discussion forum relating to disaster and climate risk management in the country, the Association aof Disaster Risk Management Professionals in Sri Lanka (ADRiMP) was launched recently.
ADRiMP is an assembly of professionals representing varied disciplines to nurture a culture of safety in Sri Lanka associated with the impact of disasters. The professional body also aspires to provide a platform for dialogue to achieve effective implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (2015-2030) and the Paris Agreement (2015 - 2030) for combating climate change and advocacy for policy initiatives.
Dr. Buddhi Weerasinghe, the association’s president, possesses over 20 years experience in Disaster Risk Management. Weerasinghe commenced his work in 1996 with the pioneering project in Sri Lanka under the Asian Urban Disaster Mitigation Program of the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC), Bangkok.
At the launch of the association, Dr. Weerasinghe, addressing the gathering, noted the significant contributions made by professionals, scholars, academia international and local non-governmental organisations which have been vital in the establishment of the association.
“Our vision is to provide a forum for dialogue across multi-disciplinary sectors which is essential for disaster risk management. The trend is to be isolated in compartments within our own independent institutions and fields of study. It is time for us to combine our energies to bring new knowledge, to research and become a think tank for the country and to take informed decisions regarding the safety of Sri Lanka and our future generations,” Dr. Weerasinghe said.
The chief guest at the event, President Maithripala Sirisena, launched the official web domain of the organisation; www.adrimp.org.lk. The State Minister of Irrigation, Water Resources and Disaster Management Palitha Range Bandara addressing the gathering said that the Government has been forced to deal with numerous disasters and hazards during its brief tenure.
“Sri Lanka faced floods, landslides, strong winds and even droughts frequently over the past few years. During these disasters, the Government was able to combine all relevant sectors in order to successfully face these disasters,” the minister said.
Minister Bandara was of the view that the Government has been able to prevent further disasters from taking place by mitigating risks of hazards. “The professionals who were involved in these efforts have come together under one roof to work simultaneously,” he noted.
The minster was confident that through effective initiatives led by professionals of the country’s disaster management sector, the Government could serve the public promptly and mitigate forthcoming disaster situations.
“In comparison to the disaster situations in 2016 and 2017, we have faced disasters more successfully this year due to the efforts of the professionals present here today.
Accordingly, 293 deaths were reported during the previous disaster period.
However there have been only 24 deaths reported during the disaster situations this year,” the Minister observed. The Minister added that while 5 of these deaths were reported due to lightning, the majority had been caused due to the negligence of the public.
“This year the Government was not criticised nor condemned in the media due to its efficient response in managing disaster situations. Relief was provided promptly while victims were not only safely sheltered, but also provided with compensation within a matter of 24 hours,” he added.
The Minister was also of the belief that the Meteorology Department is at present able to issue accurate and timely weather forecasts as opposed to misleading bulletins issued earlier. Huddersfield University’s Professor of Disaster Risk Management and Reduction Dilanthi Amaratunga, who is also the Head of its Global Disaster Resilience Centre, delivered the keynote address of the event.
Prof. Amaratunga noted that while there has been a major shift in the focus of thinking in terms of disaster management, it is imperative for ADRiMP to facilitate knowledge sharing and capacity development in order to support policy makers and research.
(Photographs via: www.president.gov.lk)
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