Disaster Management (DM) – Overview
SLRCS Disaster Management (DM) programme aims to increase community resilience to cope and manage disasters while maintaining organizational readiness to respond to natural and man-made disasters. The overall DM programme focuses on two thematic areas: institutional disaster management readiness and community disaster risk reduction readiness. Under these two thematic areas, five types of programmes (components) are implemented: institutional preparedness for response, community-based disaster risk management, Climate change adaptation, livelihood and development, and development of skilled human resources, for which SLRCS has established training infrastructure.
SLRCS has extensive experience in disaster relief and response work for both natural and man-made disasters. Its strength stems from its long history of providing relief and other humanitarian services in Sri Lanka. While developing its capacity to respond effectively to disasters, SLRCS is also involved in disaster risk reduction (DRR) activities to reduce the impact of future disasters by improving vulnerable people’s resilience and strengthening early warning systems. By implementing school disaster management programmes, special attention is paid to the protection of students and schools. SLRCS has a mechanism in place for implementing DRR measures as well as disaster response. SLRCS mobilises its organisation and volunteers at the appropriate levels to respond to disasters. To improve the effectiveness of its disaster response, SLRCS is constantly working to decentralize disaster response activities and has expanded its DRR initiatives up to the community level.
SLRCS DM programmes have established strong collaboration with other stakeholders involved in DM, particularly with the government DMC, and is a member of the National Disaster Management Committee (NDMCC), with its role clearly defined in the “Towards a Safer Sri Lanka” – The Road Map for Disaster Risk Management. While supporting national-level initiatives, the programme has also participated in regional and global-level initiatives.
SLRCS Disaster Management – Introduction
Sri Lanka Red Cross Society (SLRCS) considers disasters and conflicts as agents which diminish gains from overall development endeavors, and hence recognizes the need to have a proactive, comprehensive, and sustainable approach to disaster management to reduce the impact of disasters on the vulnerable communities in Sri Lanka.
SLRCS commits itself to fulfill the mandated roles specified under the National Disaster Management Framework of Sri Lanka Government, while maintaining its independence and respecting the core organizational values. When not engaged in disaster response, SLRCS wishes to work with communities, authorities and other important stakeholders, to reduce vulnerabilities, and improve community resilience.
To encourage stakeholders’ participation in the SLRCS programmes, SLRCS seeks to encourage use of vulnerability and capacity assessment techniques for the service design and delivery, in order to stay relevant and community focused. Sri Lanka Red Cross has reach in vulnerable communities through the network of its branches, and is in a position to offer valuable contribution to their sustainable development.
This fact ensures that all disaster management programs of SLRCS are implemented purely on the basis of need, respecting the dignity of the affected and vulnerable, and devoid of racial, religious, ethnic or any other discrimination.
Mandated role specified under Constitution of Sri Lanka Red Cross guides scope of disaster management activities, principally targeted at reducing the suffering of people, provide effective disaster response, improve preparedness and support disaster related tracing. These interventions subscribe to clause 25 of the Sri Lanka Disaster Management Act Number 13 of 2005.
Disaster Management activities of the SLRCS are auxiliary to the public authorities while retaining its independence to act according to its own rules and regulations.
Disaster Management programs of the SLRCS embed a multi-hazard paradigm and cover all phases of disaster management i.e. Pre disaster, during disaster and Post disaster within the capabilities of the organization (NHQ, District Branches, Divisions and Units) and its partners.
Fundamental Principles, Conventions, rules and regulations of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement are at the core of all Disaster Management programs and interventions.
To define the mandate of the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society in disaster management, and enhance its capacity, in accordance with the constitution of the Sri Lanka Red Cross, the National Disaster Management Framework (Act No.13 of 2005), Seville Agreement, Code of Conduct, Federation DM Policies and the fundamental principles of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.
The overall objectives of this policy and the subsequent strategic and operational arrangements associated with it are as follows:
To define the scope of natural disaster management (DM) and conflict preparedness and response activities (CPR) to be undertaken by the Society and to establish a framework and enabling mechanisms to implement these activities.
To define SLRCS role in disaster management, at all levels, including disaster response, when and not a National Disaster has been declared by the Government.
To enhance linkages of DM with other SLRCS structures, policies, processes, resource base to enable the effective implementation of identified disaster management activities.
To foster a paradigm of operational alliances needed for efficiency and effectiveness, with the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC), International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Partner National Societies (PNSs), UN bodies, Government organizations, NGOs, Public Sector, Private sector and the community as stakeholders of identified disaster management activities. To ensure that all programmes and activities are need based and are targeted at improving community resilience, through their participation in the programme, wherever possible.