Sunday, May 30, 2010

Be prepared for worse disasters

Nadia Fazlulhaq in the Sunday Times (Sri Lanka): Sri Lanka’s chief meteorologist is advising authorities to be prepared to face more natural disasters which are worse than the recent floods. Meteorology Department Director General G. B. Samarasinghe in an interview with the Sunday Times says tropical countries are becoming more and more vulnerable to weather-related natural disasters because of the climate change.

…Apart from greater coordination among them, ministries in charge of subjects such as health and disaster management and statutory bodies such as the Ceylon Electricity Board should have rapid deployment teams to act immediately ahead of a disaster situation, the Met Chief says.

“With an alarming increase in natural disasters throughout the world, all attempts should be made to minimise the loss of human lives and damage to economy. These measures should include early warning systems and training on first aid, rescue and rapid evacuation,” he says.

Investing in disaster preparedness is more advisable than spending on emergency relief, Dr. Samarasinghe reasons. “There should be infrastructure facilities. For instance, we must build cyclone-resistant buildings where evacuated people can be temporarily sheltered before a cyclone hits an area or torrential rains bring devastating floods and cause landslides,” the Met Chief says recommending that authorities should conduct risk assessments and identify risk areas as an urgent measure before the next disaster strikes….

A tea plantation near Kandy, Sri Lanka, shot by Colby Otero, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

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