Thursday, 20 January 2011

Recovery assesesment underway in flood affected areas of Sri Lanka

Today, Thursday was the day where the recovery assessment teams got deeply into their work. Bringing together seven teams of highly qualified people is no easy task. But the SLRCS and Federation have some highly experienced staff that we drew together to form teams to do detailed assesssment in seven flood and landslides affected districts.

We tried to bring different expertise in to each livelihood agriculture expert, health professional, engineer and some generalists to have a critical look at the needs.

Paddy fields that have been innundated for days, and are now slowly dying. This is a huge economic tragedy.
Dr. Mahesh briefed the Batticoloa team yesterday and they departed today for the affected areas and he was on the phone all day advisng, supporting and ensuring the correct methodology is followed and keeping a consistent approach. The information being gathered will be collated over the next two days and on Saturday in Colombo, Dr. Mahesh and Dr, Manish Pant will sit down with SLRCS colleagues and finalise the Flood Appeal with early recovery needs which has to be finished by Monday.

I have always said leadership is about getting out and motivating staff and volunteers. Yesterday Tissa Abeywickrama, the recently appointed Director General, left a busy office in Colombo and visited the team in Polonnaruwa, came to Batticaloa late last night, went to the field this morning to talk to volunteers, villagers and members of the assessment team. Later today he left for Ampara and Monaragala.

Tissa Abetwickrama discussing the community needs with villagers.

We visited a number of flood affected villages of Manunae West adminstrative division. We crossed badly damaged bridges, causeways that had been battered by flood waters and winds, and many of the roads were almost impassable, with people volunteering to fix them. Flanking both sides of the road were rice paddys virtually completely destroyed and dying.

We visited two schools where SLRCS volunteers were runniung clinics for children with cuts, infections, etc, Quietly, health education were given. At one village, Karaveddy with a population of 1784 people Tissa, Mahesh, the Chairman Mr Wasantharaja and myself spoke to the people to get their needs.

Red Cross first aid volunteers treating school children foer minor injuries and infections while giving health education
For me it was inspiration to see Tissa inspiring his team and talking in such a humble manner with the affected people. This is a national society going through drastic change and we are seeing quality leadership which makes this a well performing national society.

Some houses were washed away, other had roofs blown off by high winfds. This is a combination of both.

This afternoon, members of thge assessment team came in from a field trip and sat down with Dr. Mahesh to colate the information , validated, analysed and debated. “my role as the recovery coordinator, is to encourage, mentor and challange them and draw the findings together to devlop a coherent plan to assist my country mates who were been affected by three disasters in the recent pass.”


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