Statement made by Deputy Country Director - Recovery Project Inception WorkshopApr 19, 2018
Ms. Darshana Senanayake, Secretary to the Ministry of Disaster Management
Mr. S.S. Mudalige, Director General, Department of National Planning
Dr. S. Amalanathan, Additional Secretary to the Ministry of Disaster Management
Other distinguished officials
My fellow UN colleagues
Ladies and gentlemen
Exactly one year ago, heavy rainfall and high winds triggered by the Southwest monsoon caused severe floods and landslides in May 2017 which affected 15 districts in the Southern and Western provinces of Sri Lanka.
The natural disaster cost the lives of 219 people and injured 154 others, while another 74 people were reported missing.
The number of completely-damaged houses were reported to be 3,048 and while 76,803 houses were partially damaged, especially in the worst affected districts - Galle, Ratnapura, Kalutara, Matara, and Hambantota.
Unfortunately, this also happened in the year before – in 2016.
So many times, every year we are shocked by the devastation caused by natural disasters and by the huge financial cost that it will take to build back better.
It is in this context that I am honored to have the opportunity to make some remarks at this Inception Workshop of the Recovery Project.
Disasters occur on a continual basis across the globe, bringing in their wake large-scale damages and losses
to countries and communities.
Our world and the Asia Pacific region in particular, are currently witness to many natural disasters, destroying public infrastructure, disrupting basic services and causing loss of lives.
Weather-related disasters will in fact only get worse until concrete measures are taken in line with the Paris Agreement and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.
We must work to support adaptation to what is already happening and to reduce existing disaster risks to protect communities from the impact of disasters.
Risk-informed development and recovery plans therefore must be inclusive of climate action, and must take into account the impact of rapid urbanization.
Today’s workshop in this regard provides an invaluable opportunity to discuss the recovery plan for Sri Lanka to build back better.
We in UNDP, are happy to be supporting this event.
Globally, UNDP is a leading implementer of Disaster Risk Reduction programmes with $1.7 billion invested in the ten years from 2005 to 2014 in 163 countries
Having supported recovery preparedness and PDNA training and capacity development for recovery in 25 countries, UNDP has also supported more than 40 Post-Disaster Needs Assessments after catastrophic events across the globe – including in Sri Lanka.
UNDP has also supported the Government of Sri Lanka to develop the 2005 Road Map Towards Safer Sri Lanka in line with the UN sponsored Hyogo Framework of Action and most recently, the Sri Lanka Comprehensive Disaster Management Programme.
Now, we are pleased to further support the Government to take the PDNA forward and establish a Recovery Plan through this Project, to help Sri Lanka build back better in times of a disaster.
I am confident that through the Recovery Project we will raise awareness among the communities, decisionmakers, and other stakeholders on disaster recovery methodologies, and be able to institutionalize strategies of disaster risk reduction through the development of a National Recovery Policy and Build Back Better guidelines.
UNDP, together with its partners, stands committed to continue to support the Government of Sri Lanka to build a more resilient Sri Lanka.
I wish you all a stimulating and productive workshop, and thank you all for participating.