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Managing disasters: It’s time to shift gears

13 June 2017 12:00 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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While there are so many waiting to find fault with the present government, we should also be thankful to our president for taking a very bold and timely decision to stop the importation of vehicles for all government institutions this year, considering the outcome of the adverse weather conditions that caused havoc in the country.
Further, instead of renovating the official residences of few ministers, the president’s immediate instructions to rapidly implement the programme to reconstruct the houses destroyed by the floods and landslides were also a laudable decision.
Although the president’s recent decisions will be very disappointing for some of the money-minded ministers and other government officers, who were anticipating to purchase their new luxurious expensive vehicles and renovate their official residences, the president has once again proven to all that he is not willing to follow suit like his predecessor.
This is a great example every Sri Lankan citizen should follow, especially the rich and affluent, during this time of need when our fellow brothers and sisters are left in shambles. While it was encouraging to see so many Sri Lankans contributing in various forms to help those affected by the floods, there are still some who are living in their own luxury world building their own castles, similar to those ministers who submitted a supplementary estimate of Rs.369 million, of which, a large component would have been for their vehicles and to renovate their official residences on May 26, 2017, when on the same day, most of the people who voted for them were suffering due to the torrential rain.
While there are good examples in the corporate sector of those who donated philanthropically for the flood victims, it is disappointing to note that there are some established corporates, which spend luxuriously, not realizing that one part of our nation is in dire need.
While we criticize our MPs for spending extravagantly, there are many corporates and rich people in Sri Lanka who simply do not care about what is happening around them but only concerned in how to increase their own bank balances and feed their own stomach. Unless the same disaster strikes their homes and their family members, they will never understand the plight of those who were affected by these disasters.
For instance, there are many conferences, awards nights and other corporate events happening these days in various business circles. One could manifest the amount of money spent on various entertainment items lined-up in those business events with big budgets to add more colour to such corporate events. However, most of the time, these entertainment events are not even relevant to the main purpose of these business events but only corrupt the naive and the innocent.
Considering the need of the hour when so many of our own fellow countrymen are devastated and left homeless, if the organisers could cut down on these unwanted cost and shift gears and decide to donate the same amount of money spent on entertainment events to these flood victims, that would be beneficial for both the organisers due to the positive publicity that will eventually result from their benevolent act and also for the flood victims as they can re-establish their lives.
So, please think before you approve that cheque for those entertainment events for your upcoming company events. If you could please donate that money to help renovate the flood victims’ houses or to buy school books, shoes, etc. for children, it would be a lifetime opportunity for you and the satisfaction that comes from that cannot be measured by money. For example, the enjoyment that comes from a dance group will only be for about maximum five to 10 minutes. Once the performance is finished, the enjoyment is gone and also the millions of money spent on that event. 
But, when you cancel these unwanted expenses and donate to flood victims who are left with nothing, you invest for a lifetime for the future of our nation. This will definitely be a lifelong return on investment (ROI) for you and your business for the benevolent donation done by your organisation. The recipients of your donation will eternally be praying for your good health and success to encourage you to help so many lives. But the dancers who perform for a few minutes will forget about your well-being once you pay their bills!
Furthermore, whilst we are very grateful for most of the media organisations responding fast to help flood victims, it will even be more beneficial if the amount of money spent on reality TV shows could be used to help renovate the lives of flood victims. When one part of our nation is mourning, we must be considerate of their plight and not spend a huge amount to get down prominent Bollywood film stars. 
These media institutes could boost their positive image at a greater level if the heads of such institutions shift gears this year and decide to cancel these glamorous reality TV shows and awards shows for this year, similar to how our president shifted gears and cancelled the importation of vehicles to help rebuild the lives of our flood victims.
We should all work together; this is not the time to point fingers at each other. There is a great opportunity in front of you where you could invest your funds and hard- earned money to save up a treasure for you and your family by the decisions which you will make during these days. This treasure will be a strong foundation that cannot be even matched with your wealth which could be easily lost. 
At the end of the day, what you sow will only be reaped by you and not what others sow! So even if you get publicity for what others have given, you will never get that treasure unless you give out of your own pocket! So, let us all join together and shift gears to find out how best we could be a helping hand to our fellow Sri Lankans who were affected by the floods!
(The writer of this article can be contacted at ethicalroadsl@gmail.com) 

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