Supporting Disaster Resilient Construction in Sri Lanka’s Coastal Areas

November 2012, Batticaloa and Kalmunai, Eastern province Sri Lanka. Two awareness workshops on “Best Practices for Disaster Resilient Constructions in Coastal Areas” for local contractors, masons, carpenters and members of the Rural Development Society (RDS) were held in the cities of Kalmunai and Batticaloa recently. This is a key output of the project ‘Disaster Resilient City Development Strategies for Sri Lankan Cities’ funded by the Government of Australia, being implemented in the cities of Balangoda, Ratnapura, Batticola and Kalmunai in Sri Lanka.

The workshops were organized based on the awareness needs assessments undertaken through stakeholder consultations in the four cities where the project is being implemented.

Local contractors, masons, carpenters and members of Rural Development Societies (RDS) were the main participants at the workshops. The key objective of this awareness programme was to mainstream disaster risk reduction practices into housing construction activities in order to withstand cyclones and tsunami hazards in the eastern province. The workshop discussed best construction practices in housing construction in coastal areas.

The awareness workshops consisted of presentations on the roles and responsibilities of the Disaster Management Center; Responsibilities of builders and architects; current status of the Housing Sector in the Kalmunai and Batticaloa Municipal Council Areas and Best Construction Practices in housing construction in Coastal Areas. Resource persons from UN-Habitat, District Disaster Management Units of the two cities, and the Urban Development Authority, District offices facilitated the workshop.

An awareness programme for local communities to enhance their disaster response capacity in emergency situations as well as a disaster mitigation pilot project will be conducted in December 2012 in Batticaloa.

Kalmunai and Batticaloa are two cities being assisted by the Government of Australia funded “Disaster Resilient City Development Strategies for Sri Lankan Cities” Project. The project aims to establish sustainable disaster resilient and healthy cities and townships in disaster prone regions of Sri Lanka. The project is implemented by UN-Habitat, in collaboration with the University of Moratuwa, Ministry of Disaster Management, Urban Development Authority and Local Authorities of the selected four cities.