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April 7, 2017

Sri Lanka Learns Lessons from Japan: Shifting from response after the fact to preparation-oriented DRR activities

From April 3rd to 7th 2017, thirteen Sri Lankan government officials in charge of disaster risk reduction (DRR) activities visited Japan to learn about the country's DRR efforts. The delegate was headed by S.S. Miyanawala, Secretary, Ministry of Disaster Management on acceptance of an invitation from JICA.

Due to its geographical features, Sri Lanka is vulnerable to natural disasters such as floods and landslides. In fact, massive floods and landslides resulting from torrential rains occurred in May 2016, affecting more than 400,000 people with 200 dead or missing.

The purpose of the invitation program was to deepen Sri Lankan officials' understanding of Japan's experiences and technologies in DRR. During the session, the delegate visited offices of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism; the Japan Meteorological Agency; JICA headquarters; and actual sites where activities to prevent floods and landslides are taking place.

One thing that particularly attracted the delegate during the visit was Japan's preparation-oriented DRR activities. In Sri Lanka, natural disasters such as floods and landslides occur almost every year. However, due to budget constraints, their anti-disaster activities tend to be responses after the fact, such as rescue and restoration efforts once the disaster has happened.

The delegate learned about DRR activities such as flood control and landslide prevention at rivers like the Arakawa (in Tokyo) and Sakaigawa (in Kanagawa Prefecture), as well as about community-based preparation and educational activities for DRR in Japan. Participants commented that they recognized the significance of preparation-based anti-disaster activities as a result of the sessions held in Japan.

Other comments from participants also indicated heightened motivation. They told that they were impressed by various DRR efforts in Japan e.g. collaboration among involved institutions and community-based activities, and would like to effectively utilize what they learned in Japan for DRR activities in Sri Lanka.

This invitation program became a great opportunity to further strengthen the cooperative relationship between the two countries in the field of DRR . JICA will continue its support for Sri Lanka's DRR efforts, based on Japan's experience and knowledge in DRR.

PhotoThe delegate learned about Japan’s weather observation and forecast system at the Japan Meteorological Agency

PhotoLearning about flood control in the Arakawa basin at the Arakawa Museum


PhotoVisiting a site where an anti-disaster slope, which will be introduced in Sri Lanka under JICA project, was constructed.

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