Author(s): Sushila De Silva

Staying afloat when disaster strikes

Upload your content
Two women Tea Laborers plucking Tea leaves in a Tea Garden in Hatton, Sri Lanka.

Earlier this year the community of Chrystler’s Farm, a tea estate in Nuwara Eliya in the highlands of Sri Lanka, celebrated their initiative to restore the local canal.  The canal that winds through the estate and its village floods during heavy rains.

The restoration of the canal is the culmination of a series of community discussions and an anticipatory action exercise that took place in July of 2023. The three-day proactive disaster response exercise simulated an actual flood situation.

The simulation began with Chrystler’s Farm residents receiving an SMS from the district Disaster Management Center warning them that three days of heavy rains were expected. This prompted the filling of sandbags and clearing of any blocked drains and waterways in anticipation of rising floodwater.

The simulation ended with a final alert letting everyone know that the flood waters had receded.

IWMI’s CGIAR Early Warning, Early Action, Early Finance (AWARE) Platform is designed to promote early warning and effective response to climate hazards. IWMI’s Giriraj Amarnath, Principal Researcher – Disaster Risk Management and Climate Resilience, shows community members how the AWARE platform works during a break in the activities. The triggers that will activate the warnings in the event of a real flood will originate from the information generated by the system.

Initiatives like this are the first step in mitigating disaster, building the resilience of communities and creating locally-led climate adaptation. AWARE and the ACTION grant program highlights the need for systematic resilience to support nature-based flood mitigation solutions like the restoration of the canal, improved river drainage, green infrastructure and the introduction of canopies upstream as a means of building long-term resilience to climate extremes.

The simulation and the restoration of the canal have provided the community with the capacity and knowledge they need to prepare for future disasters. The community marked the completion of the work on the canal with a celebration, to which they invited everyone who supported them to plant trees along the bank. The trees will help protect the bank, preventing soil from eroding into the canal.

The International Water Management Institute (IWMI) organized the activities in partnership with World Vision Lanka under the CGIAR Research Initiative on Climate Resilience, or ClimBeR.

Explore further

Hazards Flood
Country and region Sri Lanka
Share this

Please note: Content is displayed as last posted by a PreventionWeb community member or editor. The views expressed therein are not necessarily those of UNDRR, PreventionWeb, or its sponsors. See our terms of use

Is this page useful?

Yes No
Report an issue on this page

Thank you. If you have 2 minutes, we would benefit from additional feedback (link opens in a new window).