July 19, 2005
The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Human Disaster Management Council are jointly holding a one-day seminar to share Japanese knowledge and experiences in disaster management with government officials, academics, donors, non governmental organizations (NGOs) and other stakeholders at the Hotel Taj Samdra on 20 July 2005.
The main topics that will be discussed at the seminar are institutional and technological settings for disaster management in Japan and case studies in JICA’s disaster management projects in several countries.
There are four speakers for the seminar including Mr. Masayuki Kitamoto (Executive Director, Asian Disaster Reduction Center, Kobe, Japan), who will make an introductory presentation on the disaster management system in Japan, Mr. Yuji Nishimae (Section Chief, Earthquake and Tsunami Observations Division, Seismological and Volcanological Department, Japan Meteorological Agency) who will speak on the Japanese earthquake monitoring and tsunami warning system, Mr. Hideaki Matsumoto (Global Environment Department, JICA) who will make presentation on JICA’s cooperation for disaster management, and Mr. Mikio Ishiwatari, (Senior Advisor, Institute for International Cooperation, JICA) who will explain JICA’s assistance for forecasting, warning and evacuation in disaster management.
The recent tsunami highlighted a strong need to strengthen capacities of the Sri Lankan government for disaster prevention and preparedness as well as information management for emergency response. Prone to frequent disasters such as typhoons, earthquakes and volcanic activities, Japan has been carrying out numerous countermeasures like national land conservation, weather forecasting technology improvement and disaster information system development. Exchanging information on how Japan deals with natural disasters and seeking their best practices applicable to the Sri Lankan situation could benefit policy makers and other stakeholders to broaden their perspectives for formulating effective mitigation measures in order to minimize losses and suffering caused by disasters. JICA is now making assessment of needs for assistance and preparing a project to strengthen disaster management capacities of the Sri Lankan government where the Japanese experience is expected to play a key role.
On 31 December 2004, immediately after the Tsunami disaster, the Government of Japan donated Rs.29.6 million worth emergency aid materials including tents, mats, blankets, generators, water tanks and water purification systems. From 29th December 2004 to 15 January 2005, the Government of Japan dispatched a disaster relief medical team (JDR medical team) through JICA to operate an emergency medical clinic in Sainthamaruthu in Ampara District. In January 2005, the Government of Japan provided US$ 80 million worth Non-Project Grant Aid in order to support relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction activities in the tsunami affected areas. From 17th January to 9th February 2005, JICA dispatched a Tsunami Disaster Needs Assessment Mission, comprising 16 members, to carry out an overall assessment on urgent requirements in the tsunami affected areas. From March 2005 onwards JICA has been implementing “Recovery, Rehabilitation and Development Project in Tsunami Affected Area” to cover Northern and Eastern Province, Southern Province, and road rehabilitation.