21st JAMCO Online International Symposium
March 14 to September 15, 2013
Tsunami Response Systems and the Role of Asia's Broadcasters
Tsunami Disaster Prevention in Sri Lanka
The purpose of this article is to explore how the Sri Lankan government has improved the Tsunami Disaster Prevention Systems in Sri Lanka. A special focus will be given to the role of Broadcasters and international organizations on disaster management. It has been eight years since the Indian Ocean tsunami hit Sri Lanka. Since then the Sri Lankan government has been focusing more on disaster prevention and initiating several development projects at various levels to educate the people and protect them from disasters / tsunami. This research covers four major topics, namely: the role of Sri Lankan government, the role of media & broadcasters, the role of international organizations, and some selected development projects on disaster management at various levels (national, community, and village). One of the key findings of this research is that the Sri Lankan government has set up a good disaster management network system from top to bottom, in other words from national / government level to grass root levels.
*(Key words: Tsunami, Early Warnings, Disaster Prevention, Media and Broadcasters)
One of the world’s worst natural disasters, causing more than 300,000 deaths affecting over 15 nations in two continents occurred in December 26th, 2004. The tsunami waves that struck nearly 2/3 of the Sri Lankan coastal belt resulted in 35,320 confirmed deaths and 6,300 missing people. The economic loss has been estimated at US$ 2.2 billion, disregarding the cost of social disorder. Nearly 516,100 were displaced of which 33% were below the poverty line. 98,000 dwelling houses and 75% of the fishing fleet, which was the main livelihood of the coastal population, were damaged. More than 500 tourism related business, which was the main source of income in this area was damaged. 23,449 acres of agricultural lands were destroyed. 200 education institutes were damaged and 450 others were used as temporary camps for Internally Displaced People (IDPs). The world’s worst train tragedy killing 1,260 passengers also happened on this tsunami day (Jayantha Ranatunga: 2005: 1-2).
The lack of preparedness to face such a crisis compounded this situation. The 1st wave, which was less ferocious, instead of treating as a warning sign, sadly brought in a much larger crowd of curious onlookers to the beach to observe this unusual phenomenon resulting in much larger loss of lives by the most ferocious 2nd wave that followed 30 minutes later. The 3rd and 4th waves killed even more people who were either rescuing the drowned or salvaging valuables. People in the southern coast completely ignored the tsunami destruction that occurred in the eastern coast nearly 40 minutes before it hit the southern coast (Ibid. 2005: 2). This indicates that the early warning message was not transmitted at the time of tsunami in Sri Lanka.
Much of these deaths would have been avoided if early tsunami detection and warning systems were in place as the earthquake occurred nearly 3 hours before the tsunami reached Sri Lanka. According to Jayantha Ranatunga (2005), the absence of early warning system was one of the main causes for the large number of deaths in the country. He further added that this was partly due to the fact that no tsunami warning system existed in the Indian ocean, which was considered as a safe region, unlike the more tsunami prone Pacific ocean.
Most geologists and decision makers have underestimated the potential of tsunami threat from the highly active “Northern end of the Sunda Trench” (earlier known as the Java Trench located in the northeastern Indian ocean, near Indonesia). Even the 1941 tsunami that caused over 5,000 deaths in the eastern Indian coast was mistaken as a “storm surge” (Ibid. 2005: 3).
Even if the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) was aware of the tsunami threat, they had no contact person in India, Sri Lanka or Thailand to communicate such a warning. Due to the absence of a tsunami preparedness program they could not inform the people and request them to follow an effective safety procedure to be away from the tsunami tidal waves. The lack of awareness and preparedness were the causes of large number of deaths in Sri Lanka. This appalling situation of the absence of early warning system and a way of communicating the danger was well demonstrated in Sri Lanka (Ibid. 2005: 4).
Many lives in the southern and western coasts could have been saved if they were informed of the danger when the waves hit the east coast of Sri Lanka nearly 30 minutes earlier. Even the comparatively weak 1st wave and the receding of water from the coast were completely ignored as a warning signal. Tragically, this unusual ocean phenomenon brought in much more curious onlookers to the beach from safer areas to succumb to the more ferocious 2nd wave. Even the 3rd and 4th waves caused loss of lives indicating complete ignorance of the dangers of tsunami waves. For 99% of Sri Lankans, tsunami was an alien word heard for the first time.
This lack of awareness is unpardonable as Sri Lanka’s local tradition hold that, overflow of the ocean occurred several times during its history, submerging large areas of the country. The 1st recorded tsunami-like event dates back to 200 BC (over 2,200 years ago). According to Mahawansa (a historical book about Sri Lanka), mighty waves submerged several villages for miles around Kelaniya, the capital of the king Kelanitissa’s principality. According to Rajavaliya (a historical narratives about Sinhalese kings in Sri Lanka), 100 seaport towns and 970 fisherman villages were overrun by the sea waves. The tsunami triggered by the eruption of the Krakatoa volcanic island in Indonesia on the 27th of August, 1883 reached Sri Lanka around 1.30 pm. The sea receded exposing the seabed for 20 to 70 fathoms from the shore for few minutes, but fortunately the tidal waves did not return. The waves were only 4 feet above the sea and only two deaths were reported, with no records of property damage. The above examples show that tsunami was not a new phenomenon in the Sri Lankan history, but most of the Sri Lankans did not know what it is exactly and how much damage it can do to the people.
The Sri Lankan government and the scientific community were harshly criticized for their failure to warn the coastal people. The media was particularly critical of the role played by the Pallekele seismological station (early warning center). They could not understand that the automatic unmanned station could not predict the tsunami waves. This station recorded the tremor 7 minutes after the earthquake and immediately transmitted the data. However, due to the lack of awareness and limitation of media coverage it did not reach the people.
This research aims to cover the following four topics, namely: the role of Sri Lankan government, the role of media & broadcasters, the role of international organizations, and some selected development projects for the tsunami victims. The author has conducted a few interviews and gathered data at various levels such as the Ministry of Disaster Management, Disaster Management Centre, Sri Lankan broadcasting corporation, United Nations Development Programs, and some school principals, community leaders, religious leaders and fishermen both in Colombo and Galle districts in Sri Lanka. The following section will explain the role of Sri Lankan government on disaster prevention systems in Sri Lanka.
2. The Role of Sri Lankan Government on Disaster Prevention
Over the past few decades, disaster losses in Sri Lanka have increased substantially. The country is prone to natural disasters caused by floods, cyclones, landslides, droughts and coastal erosion with increasing instances of hazards related to environmental pollution. The devastation caused by the Indian ocean tsunami of 2004 has highlighted that Sri Lanka is also vulnerable to low-frequency, high impact events which cause extensive damage and reverse years of development gains. In the past few years, the Sri Lankan government has been taking significant steps towards strengthening the legislative and institutional arrangements for the disaster risk management. The following table shows the role of Sri Lankan government from 1977 to the present 2013.
Table: 1 – The Role of the Sri Lankan Government
(Source: Prepared by the author based on various reports and research materials).
The above table shows that, the Sri Lankan government has been playing a key role on disaster management from the 1970s. However, the role of Sri Lankan government has been dramatically increased particularly in the aftermath of the tsunami. It is noted that in 2005 right after the tsunami, the Sri Lankan government passed a legislative act (Parliamentary Act No.13) and established a Cabinet Ministry called as the Ministry of Disaster Management and Human Rights and created a couple of parliament committees and development authorities for the disaster management in Sri Lanka. The following section will explain the role of Ministry of Disaster Management and Human Rights in Sri Lanka.
2.1. Ministry of Disaster Management and Human Rights
The Ministry of Disaster Management and Human Rights was established in 2005. The main purpose of this Ministry was to facilitate harmony, prosperity and dignity of human life through effective prevention and mitigation of natural and man-made disasters, while promoting human rights in Sri Lanka. The key activities of the ministry are categorized into three main areas: (1) Disaster prevention, mitigation, preparedness and early response for population vulnerable to disasters, (2) Overall coordination of post-disaster activities such as relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction and (3) Promotion of human rights of all Sri Lankans. The following framework-1 shows the organizational structure of the Ministry of Disaster Management and Human Rights.
Framework: 1- Ministry of Disaster Management & Human Rights (Organizational structure)
(Source: Ministry of Disaster Management in Sri Lanka – home page – 2012).
According to the framework-1, the Ministry of Disaster Management has five divisions, each division connected with each other and focuses on various issues with regard to disaster management. The National Council for Disaster Management (NCDM) is in charge for social services, rehabilitation and reconstruction. Department of Meteorology (DOM) is in charge for early warning services. Disaster Management Centre (DMC) is in charge for overall projects implementations. National Building Research Organization (NBRO) is in charge for disaster mitigation, preparedness and safety through innovative disaster education & research. National Disaster Relief Centre (NDRC) is in charge for planning and implementation programs to meet impact of disasters. Although there are five divisions function under the Ministry of Disaster Management, the Disaster Management Centre (DMC) is important and plays a central role on disaster management in Sri Lanka. The following section will explain the role of DMC.
2.2. Disaster Management Centre (DMC)
The Disaster Management Center (DMC) was established under the National Council for Disaster Management (NCDM) in accordance with the Sri Lanka Disaster Management Act No. 13 of 2005. The aim of DMC is to create a culture of safety among communities and the nation at large through systematic management of natural, technological and man-made disaster risks. DMC has four divisions, namely: Mitigation Development Division (MDD), Preparedness Planning Division (PPD), Emergency Operations Division (EOD), and Education & Public Awareness Division (EPAD). Following framework- 2 explains each of these divisions in detail.
Framework: 2 – Disaster Management Centre (Organizational Structure)
(Source: Disaster Management Centre (DMC) in Sri Lanka – home page – 2012).
According to the framework-2, the Mitigation Development Division (MDD) is responsible for the national level disaster mitigations, risk reduction based on structural and non-structural activities. Preparedness Planning Division (PPD) is in charge for preparation, reviewing and updating national disaster management plan and national emergency operation plan. Emergency Operations Division (EOD) is an important pre-requisite for effective and coordinated response to any emergency. Education & Public Awareness Division (EPAD) generally provides training and public awareness for relevant agencies in Sri Lanka. Following section will explain the role of media on tsunami disaster prevention in Sri Lanka.
3. The Role of Media on Tsunami Disaster Prevention
Media can play a significant role in creating awareness about disasters among common masses and thus reduce disaster risks. During disaster situations, media should not only inform the public with timely and factual information but also to advice the public about actions to be taken (e.g. evacuation, useful tips, techniques, do’s and dont’s etc.) and also inform on actions being taken by authorities and aid groups and relief organizations. During an emergency, the media should be sensitive to the needs of the public in affected areas and should avoid misinforming and broadcasting unconfirmed reports that may lead to despair and panic. Reliable and timely information provided through the media can help people overcome unnecessary fear and fatalism during and after an emergency. For the media to fill these roles most effectively, the government, the scientific and disaster mitigation organizations need to establish and strengthen working relationships with the media.
Media plays a prominent role in Sri Lanka, covering the entire island through television and FM radios with more than 50 channels. Prior to the tsunami in 2004 there was no such network or emergency broadcasting centers in Sri Lanka. However, after the tsunami the Sri Lankan government has established an Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) and introduced various early warning systems in the country. According to a media spokesperson in Sri Lanka, the role of domestic media was very limited during the tsunami in 2004. Most of the tsunami related videos were documented and telecasted by the foreign media when compared to local media in Sri Lanka. The lack of awareness and preparedness were identified as the causes for these situations. He further added that the media can be divided into two categories: electronic media and social media. Electronic media is a media that use electronics or electro-mechanical energy for the end-user (audience) to access the content where as social media refers to the interaction of people in which they create, share, exchange and comment contents among them in virtual communities and networks. In the case of Sri Lanka, both media (electronic and social) have improved a lot in the post tsunami period (after 2005). This will be explained in detail at section 3.1, 3.2, and 3.3.
3.1. Emergency Operations Centre (EOC)
Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) is an important pre-requisite for effective and coordinated response to any emergency. The EOC is operating on 24×7 basis and coordinates all incident information of disasters and resources for management. It receives, analyzes, and display information about the incident to enable decision-making. The EOC also finds, prioritize, deploy, and track critical resources. It enhances decision-making, communication, collaboration, and coordination. The EOC has all necessary equipment with conference facilities and display systems. It comprises one full-fledged operation room, one control room that is 24×7 operational and one communication room to manage all communication equipment. Public can call on hot line numbers to inform emergencies. There are several phone numbers that are available for the public to contact the EOC. Disaster Management Centre (DMC) is currently proceeding with this establishment of 24×7 call centers for emergencies / disasters.
Disaster Management Centre (DMC) is the main focal point responsible for coordinating early warning messages, along with the relevant technical agencies and technical committees. The multi-hazard early warning dissemination division of the DMC will be in constant coordination with all technical agencies responsible for natural and man-made hazards, and in instances of any imminent disaster it will take action to inform the responsible officers for onward communication to the sub-national levels and communities. The following framework-3, explains the structure of National Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) in Sri Lanka.
Framework: 3 – National Emergency Operation Centre
(Source: Disaster Management Centre (DMC) – Report in 2012).
According to the framework-3, the national emergency operation centre receives information from various sources such as international & regional disaster warning centers, tsunami multi-hazard warning centers, disaster management centers, emergency service providers, civil society, NGOs, police, military etc, and communicates with relevant agencies or authorities to inform the people in case of disaster or tsunami.
The followings are some of the key responsibilities of EOC: (1) Maintaining and operating early warning towers and other early warning dissemination equipments, (2) Dissemination of early warning messages and ensure the reception at remote vulnerable villagers, (3) Co-ordination of donor assistance to strengthen capacity of technical agencies for early warning, (4) Initiating awareness on activities related to early warning among the various agencies and public, and (5) Guiding district disaster management units in coordinating and implementing warning dissemination-related activities in the province, district, and local authority levels.
3.2. Early Warning Systems
In Sri Lanka there were no early warning systems for a tsunami prior to 2004. Different government institutions are mandated to monitor and issue early warnings in the case of different hazards. For example, Meteorology Department (MD) for weather related issues, the National Aquatic Resources Agency (NARA) for Oceanic, Geological Surveys and Mines Bureau (GSMB) for seismological and National Building Research Organization (NBRO) for landslides. After the Tsunami, an Interim committee / Parliamentary committee on early warning system was set up in 2005. Department of Meteorology was designated as the tsunami early warning centre for Sri Lanka. Meteorology department is connected with the following authorities: Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre (PTWC), Japanese Meteorological Centre (JMC), and California Integrated Seismic Centre (CISC). The following table-2 shows how the early warning message passes to the Meteorology department from various authorities and departments within a few minutes in Sri Lanka.
Table: 2 – Early Warnings on Tsunami in Sri Lanka
(Source: Prepared by the author based on the DMC Report in 2012).
According to the table–2, there are four organizations which mentioned above are responsible to monitor the earth-quake / tsunami and transfer the information to the relevant authority. The above table shows that within 30 minutes the early warning can be reached to the Meteorology department in Sri Lanka.
The establishment of a tsunami early warning system in the Indian ocean is promoted mainly by UNESCO in response to the UN World conference on disaster reduction held in Japan in January 2005. The first two early-warning buoys were deployed in the coastal waters of Sumatra in mid-November 2005. The seven-meter buoys are connected to pressure sensors on the seabed and will send information to a central station on the Indonesian mainland by satellite. Scientists will analyze the data and decide whether to raise an alarm or not.
In the case of Sri Lanka, the department of meteorology and Disaster Management Centre (DMC) are responsible for receiving tsunami early warnings. According to the Tsunami Prevention Act No. 13 in 2005, the Disaster Management Centre (DMC) is responsible to release the early warnings to the public via the media and relevant authorities. The process of early warnings goes from national level, provincial level, district level, and village levels.
Regarding the national level, there are seven national TV stations which have early warning units, seven national radio stations which have 24×7 emergency operation centers, 34 national early warning towers which pass the early warning signals to the Meteorology department and telephone call services are responsible to inform to the people about the disaster prevention in Sri Lanka. At the provincial level there are some regional radio centers, telephone operators, disaster management coordinators, police and military communicators that are responsible for passing the message to the people. At the village level, telephone calls, early warning subcommittee, police vehicles, NGOs and CBO workers, temple and church bells, push bicycle and motorcycle messengers are responsible to inform the people. The following table shows some TV and radio channels, news alert, and news websites that provide early warnings to the people in Sri Lanka.
Table: 3 – Early Warnings through Media
(Source: Prepared by the author based on the DMC Report in 2012).
3.3. The Role of Broadcasters
Broadcasters can play a key role on disaster prevention. It is reported that broadcasters should educate people about the natural disasters and calm them down after a natural disaster strikes, as well as prevent panic and the spread of rumors. A journalist from India said broadcasters there had not carried a tsunami warning during the tsunami. “If we had, perhaps people could have moved to safer areas. But there was no system to give us a warning.” In fact, television is an essential witness to this reconstruction. Broadcasters are in a position to help the people who are suffering by letting the world know of their situations and needs. More lives may be saved in the future by raising awareness of natural disasters and precautionary measures.
In Sri Lanka, the role of broadcasters was very limited during the tsunami in 2004. In fact, there was no special committee or group among the broadcasters to educate the people or assist them to evacuate from disaster areas. Some broadcasters pointed out that when tsunami happened most of the broadcasters were out of the station and there was no connection or networks among them. It took nearly 10 hours to gather some broadcasters and have primary meeting with them (Interview with several broadcasters in Sri Lanka, December 15th, 2012).
However, after the tsunami, the Sri Lankan government focused more on the disaster management and established some emergency teams that include broadcasters and newspaper reporters. The main purpose of this recruitment is to educate the people and direct them toward safe evacuation. In fact, it is important to educate the people and direct them to a safe area and mobilize the outsiders so that the victims can get assistance from the outsiders. It is reported that when tsunami happened in 2004 in Sri Lanka, the preliminary meeting held with the broadcasters decided to open an emergency operation center within the premises of Sri Lanka broadcasting centre and send broadcaster team to collect food, clothes and basic needs from other parts of Sri Lanka and send the assistance to the tsunami victims. This tsunami assistance has become to known as “tsunami sahana” (special relief for tsunami victims). Even now many broadcasters and TV channels conduct this program when natural disaster happens in Sri Lanka.
Apart from the relief assistance, the broadcasters also began to collect some information about the tsunami and telecasted a tsunami awareness programs via the State-owned television called Sri Lanka Rupavahini Cooperation. Moreover, the broadcasters also began to contact some foreign media and mobilized their support for the immediate assistance from various countries. It is noted that when tsunami happened in 2004 in Sri Lanka, India sent five helicopters and 10 rescue teams to save the people from the tragedy. This indicates that broadcasters can play a major role in assisting the people during natural disasters.
4. The Role of International Organizations
International organizations have been playing a key role on the issue of tsunami disaster prevention in Sri Lanka. It is reported that more than 50 organizations both local and international engaged on the disaster prevention and provided a huge amount of money to build houses and improve their livelihood issues. In order to bring back the normalcy among the tsunami victims many international organizations and institutions began to work with the Sri Lankan government. As a result the Sri Lankan government introduced “A Road Map” for disaster risk management toward a safer Sri Lanka in 2005. This road map is focused on seven thematic components and focuses in more than 100 disaster management projects that aim to provide services on human rights, conflict resolution, and capacity building. These projects can be divided into three categories: short-term projects, mid-term projects, and long-term projects. Short-term projects mainly focus on the relief assistance such as food, shelter (temporary), and livelihood issues. Mid-term projects mainly focus on the recovery issue. Long-term projects focus on infrastructure and development issues. It is reported that the Sri Lankan government has allocated US$ 28,000 for the projects on tsunami disaster management from 2005 to 2015. The implementation of projects can be divided into three sections, namely at the national level, community level, and school levels. This will be explained in detail at section 4.1, 4.2, and 4.3.
4.1. Development Projects at the National Level
There are more than 20 national projects launched by the Sri Lankan government and international organizations to strengthen the disaster management systems in Sri Lanka. The followings are some of the national level projects: technology projects on disaster management, coastal zone management projects, and mangrove projects. Technology projects on disaster management mainly focus on the early warning systems. It is reported that there are 34 early warning towers and centers built by the government from 2005 to 2012. Coastal zone management projects mainly focuses on the “Buffer Zone”. In 2005, right after the tsunami, the Sri Lankan government declared that the residents should build and own their houses and properties 100 meters away from the beach. These 100 meters are considered as a buffer zone where nobody can own a business or physical property. However, there are some buildings and properties are still located within the Buffer Zone. This can be seen mainly in the Galle district in Sri Lanka.
4.2. Development Projects at the Community Level
According to “A Road Map” for disaster management in Sri Lanka (2005), there were 50 community level projects that were marked by the government and international organizations. The purposes of these projects were to improve the livelihood issues and increase their capacity building. It is reported that the community level projects mainly focused on three groups, namely the religious groups, fishing community, and NGOs / CBOs.
Religious community can play a major role in disaster management. Sri Lanka is a multi-religious country where Buddhist (72%), Hindu (15%), Muslims (9%), and Christians (4%) have been living for a long time in almost every parts of the country. According to a Buddhist monk in Galle district, there are several religious groups that conduct preaches and workshops about the disaster prevention in Sri Lanka. Regarding the fishing community, the Sri Lankan government has introduced some projects among the fishermen and created some networks among them so that they can pass the messages and make precautions in case of emergency. Apart from this, there are some NGOs and CBOs such as Sarvodaya, Rural Development Organizations, and Seva Lanka that are also working for disaster management at the community level. It is noted that the community level projects have improved the knowledge of disaster management among the people.
4.3. Development Projects at the School Level
The Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004 clearly demonstrated that the population of Sri Lanka was not prepared to deal with the hazards threatening them. The populace did not recognize the risks, did not know how to protect them, and in decisive moments often responded inappropriately. For example, many Sri Lankans actually ran out onto the beach as the sea receded dramatically in the drawback just before the flood wave came crashing ashore, and were thus lured to their deaths. Education is deemed to play a key role in this context as a vehicle for communicating the knowledge and skills necessary for reducing vulnerability and achieving a culture of disaster safety or prevention. The Sri Lankan government and many international organizations launched several projects on disaster management. It is also reported that both the Sri Lankan government and some international organizations have conducted some workshops and seminars among the university lectures, graduates, teachers and school children in many parts of Sri Lanka. The main purpose of these workshops and seminars are to educate the people about the tsunami and reduce the vulnerability during the disasters.
Many foreign countries and international organizations financed for these workshops and seminars. For example, UNESCO, UNDP and GTZ conducted various projects among the students in Sri Lanka. For example, the ‘Disaster Risk Management & Psycho-social Care Project” which was funded by GTZ was a good example. The main purpose of this project was to promote knowledge and skills of personnel employed in the education sector with respect to disaster preparedness and school disaster safety. The project’s direct target group was teachers, who were to be enabled to instruct students in disaster preparedness and how to respond to emergencies. In order to generate this knowledge and build methodological competency among teachers, the project worked with 17 national colleges of education as well as 100 teacher-training centers in Sri Lanka.
Moreover, the above project also focused on establishing the first aid team in many schools in case of emergency or disaster. It is reported that the above project financed the establishment of a first aid team in more than 100 schools in many parts of Sri Lanka. The first aid team includes five units, namely the alarm team, evacuation team, security team and search-and-rescue team. The first aid team conducts workshops on disaster management from time to time in their schools and educates the children about disaster prevention.
According to a school principal in Galle district, the first aid team conducts at least one workshop every two months and educate the children how to protect themselves in case of disaster. He further added that when an earthquake happens, children are asked to hide under the table and then go to school ground with an emergency bag, which includes food, clothes and medicines. The purposes of these workshops are to train the school children how to react in case of disaster. Apart from the first aid teams, there are some stage dramas and street dramas by the school children meant to educate the people about the tsunami disaster prevention in Sri Lanka.
The overall conclusion of this research is that the Sri Lankan government has established a good network system from national level to grass root level via various departments and authorities. This research found that many people lacked tsunami knowledge prior to the tsunami of 2004. However, after the tsunami this situation has been improved a lot.
Regarding the media, it is noted that during the tsunami attack, the role of media was very limited. In fact, the media were unaware of the tsunami approaching or hitting since there were no media unit responsible for broadcasting early warning messages. It has been improved since. As I mentioned earlier at section 3.2, several TV stations and radio channels opened an emergency unit (24×7) and appointed special broadcasting teams to inform the people when disaster / tsunami happen in Sri Lanka.
Regarding the disaster management projects, it is reported that both the Sri Lankan government and international organizations introduced many disaster management projects at various levels in Sri Lanka. For example, the school safety education project (first aid project) is important for raising awareness of disaster reduction among the school children. The school interviews revealed that there are still some school children that do not understand what causes a tsunami and what is a disaster prevention system. Based on the research and interviews, the following recommendations are proposed for disseminating knowledge and raising public awareness of tsunami disasters: promote disaster education at every school level; conduct seminars and classes to educate the people; implement some community-level public awareness programs; enhance information management systems; and improve coordination mechanisms within the disaster management system in Sri Lanka.
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Mohamed Shareef ASEES
Visiting Lecturer, Colombo University, Sri Lanka
BA Political Science, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka
MA International Cooperation Studies, Graduate School of International Development, Nagoya University, Japan
PhD (All But Dissertation) International Cooperation Studies, Graduate School of International Development, Nagoya University, Japan