Govt. launches $ 212 m program to reduce disaster impact

Saturday, 27 September 2014 00:20 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

By Shabiya Ali Ahlam Sri Lanka yesterday took a progressive step towards reducing the socio-economic impact of disasters by launching a $ 212 million Climate Resilience Program. Formulated by the Government with the support of the World Bank (WB), the program was launched with the objective of addressing in a holistic manner the physical and financial aspects of climate risks in the short- and long-term. The Climate Resilience Program consists of two projects, the Climate Resilience Improvement Project (CRIP), which amounts to $ 110 million, and a development policy loan with a Catastrophe Deferred Draw Down Option (CATDDO) for $ 102 million. Sri Lanka is the first country in South Asia to use the CATDOO facility, a new instrument that provides immediate liquidity to the Government after a disaster. In addition to the two projects, a significant amount of technical assistance is expected with the support of the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) in the areas of risk modelling and disaster risk financing and insurance. While the program provides the immediate finances required to solve current issues in areas such as irrigation, flood control and landslides, it aims at carrying out a comprehensive multi-sectoral risk assessment endeavour to develop flood and drought risk mitigation investment intervention in nine key river basins. Addressing the program launch that took place yesterday on the sidelines of the three-day Disaster Management Conference titled ‘The Future We Want - A Safer Sri Lanka’, WB Country Director for Sri Lanka and the Maldives, Francoise Clottes expressed the interest of the agency in continuing to support the Government to be better prepared to face external shocks that would impact efforts to reduce poverty and promote shared prosperity in Sri Lanka. “Given Sri Lanka’s development trajectory and increasing incidents of natural events, it is commendable that the Government is embarking on a fairly large program with essential investments in the disaster management sector. Today we are embarking on a long-term engagement to analyse the root causes of disasters and will finance a wide range of measures to increase resilience to these adverse events,” she said at the event, which was also graced by Disaster Management Ministry Secretary S. M. Mohamed, Irrigation and Water Resources Management Ministry Secretary Ivan De Silva and WB Climate Resilience Program Task Team Leader Marc Forni. Disaster Management Ministry Secretary Mohamed during her addressed asserted that it is imperative for Sri Lanka to shift from a traditional response to a culture of prevention and resilience. She noted that while not all the disasters can be avoided, their impact on a population can be mitigated through effective planning and preparation.