Sri Lanka mid-year update 2018

Connecting Business initiative Secretariat • 31 July 2018
Media in group Sri Lanka

A-PAD Sri Lanka Activities - January to June 2018

A-PAD SL platform continued engagement with the private sector and linking them with the government, humanitarian agencies and grassroots. The continuing drought in several parts of the country and the impending floods in May 2018 were the focus. Preparedness in saving lives and reducing damages and losses were the priorities. New partnership, especially with the private media was extremely beneficial. A win-win strategy both for the private sector and the community at risk.

Consultative Meetings – A total of 27 Meetings among the private sector, government and the humanitarian sector including UN agencies were hosted/facilitated by A-PAD during the first six months.

DRR Awareness Programmes – A total of 36 DRR and Resilient Awareness programmes for the membership/partners and communities were conducted with 4185 direct beneficiaries. Indirect beneficiaries were very large due to media partnership. Resources were collaboration from A-PAD private sector members including the media.

TV and Radio Programmes – A three hour live panel discussion on disaster preparedness was aired. 18 DRR awareness programmes were consecutively aired and repeated on news and special programmes leading to the May floods. Interviews of A-PAD aired on TV and radio.

Search and Rescue Preparedness – A-PAD SL supported private sector SAR team which was established in Nov 2017 underwent a series of preparedness and knowledge based training anticipating deployment of the team in May in the event of floods. Training carried out for the 40 man team were;

  • Localized “Capacity Building & Skill Development” training in Kandy, the Central Province of Sri Lanka. The three-day preparatory exercise in individual and collective skills to respond to flood and swift water rescue. A handbook was designed and provided to each member.
  • Psychosocial Training for First Responders – Being sensitive to the trauma of victims; capacity to identify such victims and refer; and be aware of the rescuers capacity and how to deal with such limitations. Training conducted by a professional clinical psychologist.
  • Psychological First Aid (PFA) – One day program for the team was conducted and a set of guidelines provided. A handbook provided to each member.
  • CPR Training – Members underwent a CPR training conducted by a professional organization (member of A-PAD) and all team members were certified.

Recovery Programme – Schools Affected by May 2017 Floods- A-PAD partnered with Rotary Club Battaramulla in supporting schools which had not received any assistance following the floods in May 2017. Five schools were provided water sanitation and educational support -provision of clean drinking water, re-establishing school library and providing educational equipment and books. A nursery school affected by multiple disasters (2016/2017) was supported to relocate and re-start enabling children to attend school.

Emergency Responses – Torrential rain in May once again was hazardous with floods and landslides. However the joint efforts by the private sector, humanitarian sector and government reduced deaths considerably with better preparedness and awareness.

  • A-PAD SAR teams (private sector) were deployed, linked with the military and conducted very successful operations. A better pre-deployment strategy and resource harness were evident in comparison to the last two years. Communication and networking had improved tremendously.
  • Emergency Relief – A-PAD linked private sector with needs in liaison with the government. Humanitarian sector used A-PAD logistic platform in delivering goods through the private sector company. Private sector “Relief Convoy” of the Maharaja Capital Company was maximized in directing to relief goods to the stranded communities. The contribution came from masses and companies.

Partners in Disaster Preparedness and Response – A-PAD worked directly with a total of 114 partner organizations in disaster preparedness and response ( Pvt Sector – 35, central govt – 17, local government 38, military and service – 7, UN, I/NGO – 17).

International Participation - A-PAD SL attended CBi Annual Network Meeting in Geneva. The networking and knowledge and support available were certainly an encouragement to A-PAD SL platform. It added tremendous value to local initiatives in saving lives and nurturing resilience.  The continual engagement with CBi Secretariat is a source of tremendous strength to the A-PAD platform.

Pacific Partnership 2018 - USNS Mercy  - The US Navy’s Military Sealift Command-operated hospital ship USNS Mercy arrived in the US 7th Fleet area of operations to serve as a platform for exercise Pacific Partnership 2018 (PP18). The vessel arrived to Sri Lanka on the 25th of April and was operation until the 8th of May. MERCY, a.k.a “floating hospital” is the world’s largest hospital ship in the world, carried out a series of community clinics, surgeries, symposiums and training programs with the support of local medical entities.

40 volunteers from A-PAD SL participated during the two-week event as translators, assisting foreign doctors to communicate with the local communities and vice-versa. This was an enriching experiencing and a significant partnership that A-PAD Sri Lanka forged in harnessing localized resources, whilst also providing international exposure to our volunteers.

Photo: Iain Mitchell