This handbook provides an overview of natural hazards, climate change susceptibility, disaster management and response in Sri Lanka. It provides an analysis of government disaster plans and policies and community preparedness.
Sri Lanka has faced many natural disasters in the past including floods, landslides, tsunamis, droughts, and cyclones. The country is also vulnerable to current and anticipated effects of climate change. Of note is the expected greater frequency of more intense monsoons. Temperature and precipitation inconsistencies are expected to drive more frequent floods, droughts, and epidemics.
The impact on Sri Lanka of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami was not just loss of life and property but also a change to the way in which Sri Lanka sought to manage disaster risk and responses. Since that disaster, Sri Lanka has worked with development partners, built a disaster management structure, and expanded its disaster risk reduction initiatives, including flash flood and landslide early warning systems and disaster management capacity-building. The Disaster Management Centre (DMC) is the lead government agency for disaster management and is the executing agency of the National Council for Disaster Management (NCDM). DMC implements and coordinates national and sub-national level programs for reducing the risk of disasters with the participation of all relevant stakeholders. There are also Disaster Management Committees at District, Divisional, and Grama Niladhari Wasams levels across the country. The Armed Forces have specific DMHA duties such as search and rescue and evacuation. In addition to Sri Lanka’s engagement with UN agencies, USAID, and other global DMHA actors, the country’s armed forces engage regularly with the U.S. armed forces in conferences, peer-to-peer talks, subject matter expert exchanges, and full-scale exercises to rehearse military operations in support of DMHA.
The Disaster Management Reference Handbook Series is intended to provide decision makers, planners, responders and disaster management practitioners with an overview of the disaster management structure, policies, laws, and plans for each country covered in the series.