Supporting and strengthening the Government mechanism towards a better response during disasters

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11/08/2016 – Colombo, Sri Lanka: The Sri Lanka Red Cross Society in partnership with the Disaster Management Ministry, Social Services Ministry and the National Disaster Relief Services Centre recently held a workshop for Gramaseva and Development Officers in the Colombo Province to enhance their capacity in collection of accurate data and to streamline the disaster response mechanism.

The main objective of the workshop was to revisit the current structures and mechanisms that are in place towards responding to a disasters and to see the practicality of it and the real issues that arise when implementing them on ground level. Focus was also given towards collection of accurate data during the emergency phase of the disaster, which crucially aids many Governments and organizations to structure their response.

President of SLRCS Jagath Abeysinghe who took part during the inauguration of the workshop reminded the importance of the work done by Gramaseva and Development Officers on the ground level which in return aids many to receive quality care and support.

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“It’s vital that we understand the real difficulties on the ground and also the new challenges faced by at risk communities. Times have changed, and so has their vulnerability”

Minister of Home Affairs Vajira Abeywardena was also took part in the workshop. He emphasized that the Government’s commitment towards a better disaster response.

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“We don’t want to do this alone, when there is a disaster what we always see is that we all come together. So in an exercise such as this, where we try to determine whether our current mechanisms do respond to the true nature of the disaster, then we also need to do that together”

The Minister also thanked the Red Cross for it’s constant support towards disaster relief and response.

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During the workshop participants were given the opportunity to identify issues that they face during a disaster and how they can improve this mechanism. Red Cross facilitators provided them with tools that are used internationally in order to collect accurate data, hence providing an accurate picture of the disaster and how better to respond.

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Vice President of SLRCS Bharatha Jonikku Hewa, Director General of SLRCS Neville Nanayakkara, Deputy Director General of SLRCS Sudath Madugalle, Government Agent of Colombo Sunil Kannangara, Secretary to the Minister of Home Affairs and many other dignitaries were present at the workshop.

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