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SIMPLE GUILD TO DISASTER MANAGEMENT

By P.T.K. Ramakrishna Management Consultant

As usual, we Sri Lankans are often forced to fall in to the same pit that we fell in the
night(results of precious guidance)!
What is disaster?
Disaster is any event, natural or man-caused, which creates an intense negative
impact on people and the environment. It exceeds the affected communitys internal
capability to respond, prompting them to seek outside assistance!
It indicates a cyclic process by which we plan for and reduce the impact of disasters,
and take steps to recovering after a disaster has occurred. Appropriate actions at all
points in the Disaster Management Cycle will lead to greater preparedness, better
warnings, reduced vulnerability or the prevention of disasters during the next
repetition of its happening!
The Disaster Management Team, the Ministry staff and the Hon. Minister himself in
the first place require an intensive training to manage a disaster program! The
inability or the inefficiency of these groups cause immense hardship and untold
agony to the people who are at the suffering end also resulting in disgust to the
people who rush to rescue aimlessly!
At the point of disaster, the emotions are high, the sufferings are high and the people
go reckless are high resulting in untold pains! It is obvious that if the tasks are taken
over by the public without a system being followed the situations gets worsen! It is in
these circumstances that an organized disaster management system can come in to
handy and meaningful.
Governments boast about spending large sums of money, mobilizing resources,
Foreign Aids, Local Aids, Hundreds of individuals and Organizations collecting reliefs
and contributing immensely without a strategy would cause only more confusion and
waste. Further, would pave for plenty of misuse, misdeeds, waste and complications
at the end!
We are a country very well accustomed to make hay while the sun shines and
many are waiting for these situations to get their accounts updated! May be a reason
that a disaster system cannot be established! We have hundreds and thousands of
politicians, administrators, councillors, mayors, chairman and GS etc. etc., . where
they go during emergencies without taking responsibilities god knows!
The Disaster Management has to be professionally handled by the Ministry. They
require to have a standardised, disciplined system and need to train all their staff and
the general public with knowledge to handle such situations. We have had many
disasters in the very recent past. but everything is too soon forgotten. The
Governments cannot brush it away finding excuses and passing the ball!

A simple programme may be of great assistance.!

01.

One body or organization handling the situation under their control and be
responsible and accountable. All and every activity must be recorded.
Inclusive of all forms of reliefs obtained!

02.

This body has to have village wise, street wise organizing committees
consisting of dedicated voluntary social workers appointed by the people
together with the Gramasevake Niladari and the Provincial Council heading
the mission.

03.

Each of these members must be allocated with specified areas, delegated


administrative powers and functions.

03.

A register to be maintained by the GS and their contact numbers. They should


be issued with an official identification and authorisation letters issued by the
ministry.

04.

They should meet once in three months at village level to review the situations
of the village in terms of possible risks . such as earth slips, roads damage,
drains block, Culverts, dumping wastes etc.

05.

The GS must submit the minutes of each such meeting held and the decisions
arrived to the District Office for further action.

06.

The GS must maintain a clear register to know exactly how many people are
living in each of these area and locations.

07.

The team must be very well trained to understand and manage the disaster. A
safe meeting point at a time of risk must be planned.

08.

In the event of a disaster the authorised person takes the initiatives with the
advices of the GS and other relevant officers appointed by the Ministry.

09.

Organizations and volunteers foods, distributions of relief, must be directed


through the heads of the respective areas under one command. (an
authorised personal from the forces could be appointed to assist the situation
as well).

10.

The Ministry of Disaster is unique and has an important role, responsibility to


go to the root levels of these disasters inclusive of continuous researches and
development to minimize these risks. If not, the entire operation goes waste
giving no purposeful benefits!

Time has come to face many of these in the future which is created by us
alone! Hope we will not continue to talk about it till the next disaster without
finding a solution!