Improving COVID-19 and pandemic preparedness and response through the downstream of multi-hazard early warning system

Lead Research Organisation: University of Huddersfield
Department Name: Sch of Applied Sciences

Abstract

Many countries are now suffering after years of insufficient attention to warnings about the need for improved pandemic preparedness. The WHO has declared COVID-19 a pandemic, but its underlying factors, vulnerabilities and impacts go far beyond the health sector, and in Sri Lanka, it is overwhelming government and response agencies. This study will address two, inter-related challenges: How will countries cope if a major natural hazard occurs while the COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing? How can pandemic preparedness make use of the existing infrastructure for tackling other hazards? The project team will attempt to understand the potential impact of a pandemic-natural hazard hybrid scenario. It will also seek to improve early warning and preparedness for such an event, as well as the availability of and access to multi-hazard early warning systems (MHEW) and disaster risk information that include pandemic/biological hazards, which is also Target G of the SFDRR [1]. We will address these challenges by examining how public health actors be better included within a MHEW environment and how pandemic threats are integrated within national and local DRR strategies. We will explore the impact of COVID-19 on the response capabilities for other hazards, either multiple simultaneous events, or cascading impacts, and consider how COVID-19 and public health surveillance can be synergised with "the last mile" of MHEW. Pandemic is global, but the preparedness and response is local, and that response is very dependent on governance, laws, culture, risk perception and citizen behaviour. The study has been designed in close collaboration with Sri Lankan health and DRR agencies who identified the key gaps that need exploring. The team will develop and disseminate guidance to better incorporate pandemics and other biological hazards into national and local DRR preparedness and response

Publications

10 25 50

 
Description Upscaling the understanding and awareness/attitudes of national and subnational actors on the impact of COVID-19 on the response capabilities for other hazards towards multiple simultaneous events and/or or cascading impacts

1. What is the practical, real world economic or societal change brought about by research in beneficiary countries?
COVID-19 has overwhelmed health systems and caused widespread social & economic disruption in Sri Lanka. The shock to Sri Lanka's economy from the coronavirus pandemic is massive. By putting societies and economies on hold, Sri Lanka has curtailed the virus' spread. These defensive measures have helped to limit the short-term impacts of the virus, but also resulted in a shift of priorities that disproportionately affect disadvantaged groups, including people in poverty, displaced people, and refugees, who most often live in overcrowded/under resourced settings. Current COVID-19 measures have also exposed gaps in the country's DRR strategies, which have failed to address pandemics and other biological hazards, the need of addressing both crises simultaneously as the COVID-19 pandemic has affected livelihoods across all communities, because:
? Health and disaster risk reduction (DRR) planning and policing have been largely reactive than proactive
? Planning and policing in both sectors have hardly been informed by forecasting of future possible scenarios or learning from global experiences. This has resulted in inadequate emphasis placed on pandemic management in both health and DRR policies
? DRR policies and plans lack clarity and specific. This has been challenging in terms of establishing accountability, i.e., in designating who is responsible for what
? DRR policies and plans lack technical considerations on biological hazards
? DRR and health policies and plans lack coherence possibility due the compartmentalized approach emulated in policy making
? Lack of attention towards economic and social vulnerability in risk identification exercises carried out
? Lack of attention has been paid to complex risk scenarios [e.g., compound events] in risk mapping exercises
It has also challenged the understanding of how risk works and how risk cascades with unexpected consequences. Government agencies are already stretched trying to manage the COVID-19 response, but how would they cope if another major natural hazard occurred during this period? How do all hazards be integrated? In preparing ahead of time for a natural hazard to include ways to protect communities from COVID-19? And thereby how the policy mechanisms be changed on preparedness and response mechanisms for other hazards that occur concurrently with a pandemic? Addressing these gaps and opportunities require the integration of pandemics into a multi-hazard strategy for DRR, at both national and local levels.

2. How we are working to improve people's lives on the ground
With the involvement of high level policy makers, the project team is making a positive contribution towards changing decision-making and behaviour of national and subnational actors on these concerns, associated with natural hazards to reflect COVID pandemic associated key issues.
Some of our high-level stakeholders include: Ministry of Health; Association of Disaster Risk Management Professionals of Sri Lanka (ADRiMP); Disaster Management Centre (DMC); and the Federation of Sri Lankan Local Government Authorities (FSLGA). There have been interactive relationships between scientific communities (University of Colombo and University of Moratuwa) , and the above stakeholders and end-users. We got together with these key local stakeholders and end-users first to examine how national level integrated early warning can positively contribute in the local context and then to co-design an integrated early warning framework. This has enabled us to create a true sense of ownership by the local communities at risk, and thereby to carry put our tasks aiming at improving people's lives on the ground, from the perspective of better alignment of covid 19 with other natural hazards, in early action.

This research has already informed Sri Lanka the ways to better prepare, respond and recover from disruptions caused by COVID-19 and other pandemic threats, made a shift to the ad-hoc early warning strategies to integrated early warning strategies to tackle pandemic risks, and thereby to make available more reliable, accurate and integrated early warning strategies. These will also provide information for the improved evacuation strategies.

3. Who are the beneficiaries and how will the project make their lives better?
The current pandemic continues to collide with a number of other threats to human life and livelihoods. Within such an environment, scientists and researchers work with policy-makers and practitioners (including government authorities, community and civil society) as well as governmental actors to co-design (identifying a problem) and co-produce research (developing understanding from research) and thereby informing policy and practice, on immediate action to provide warnings and initiate evacuation, but also quick decisions for self-evacuation, pandemic preparedness and response to make better use of the existing infrastructure, including other hazards' early warning protocols. This will directly help making lives of affected people due to multiple hazards, better. The research has also identified how public health actors be embedded within a multi hazard environment and how pandemic threats are integrated within national and local DRR strategies. Further, the research also has identified the impact of COVID-19 on response capabilities for other hazards, and cascading events.

Beneficiaries of this project include the following categories of communities in Sri Lanka: policy makers and practitioners (both DRR and health) including in the government sector and other sectors, scientists and researchers, communities at risk of hazards.

We also have received the fullest support of the IOC-UNESCO ICG/IOTWMS Working Group 1: Tsunami Risk, Community Awareness and Preparedness. Accordingly, the benefits of the study will be able to extend beyond Sri Lanka, targeting the 28 member states of the IOTWMS, twenty three of which are DAC countries: Bangladesh, Comoros, Djibouti, India, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Mozambique, Myanmar, Oman, Pakistan, Seychelles, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, Timor-Leste, and Yemen.

4. Application of amazing innovation and research: how did we find new and exciting ways to solve difficult problems ?
We very much work as an interdisciplinary team, where a number of separate disciplines (medicine including public health, sociology, built environment, engineering, disaster management climate change) surrender their own concepts and goals, and collectively define themselves by reference to a common set of strategic concepts and goals around improving COVID-19 and pandemic preparedness and response through the application of multi-hazard early warning system. This can be noted as a major innovation in the Sri Lankan context, the researchers, and other stakeholders have the tendency in working within their own silos. The diversity of disciplines represented in the project include, medicine, sociology, engineering, built environment, geography, public policy. This research records as the first systematic and scientific research compilation in Sri Lanka on COVID 19 pandemic and its cascading impacts. We have managed to convince the core stakeholders in Sri Lanka on COVID 19 pandemic (E.g. Ministry of Health) and other natural hazards (Disaster Management Centre, Sri Lanka) to be proactive, and agile, when confronted with systemic risks that have become increasingly likely.

At the policy level, most salient contribution is the contribution from the project towards the "Colombo 2020 DRR Declaration" of the government of Sri Lanka, incorporating the need to deal with biological hazard in a multy hazard scenario. It was formally launched by the Disaster Management Centre of the State Ministry of National Security, Home Affairs and Disaster Management, Government of Sri Lanka, with other disaster risk reduction related Ministries and Technical Agencies of the Government of Sri Lanka, together with other national
and international key stakeholders, setting out national priorities and time scales for their adoption, as well as declaration among key stakeholders to act upon those priorities.

The declaration also recognises the devastating impact of COVID-19 around the world and the threat posed by future epidemics and pandemics. It stresses the need to focus on developing a holistic understanding of societal challenges, risks and drivers, like poverty, climate change, loss of protective eco-systems and biodiversity, rapid urbanisation and unplanned development in hazard prone areas, socio-economic inequalities and population growth along with their interactions. It also underlines the need to build resilience against all hazards, including emerging and unforeseen hazards such as biological hazards.

Further, the project spiked the need of exploring potentials of applying bottom-up approach in pandemic response, intergovernmental collaborations to mitigate adverse impacts of pandemics, and the need to decentralizing pandemic governance to the local authority, sub national and community level in Sri Lanka.

5. Gender equality or equality, diversity and inclusion
We promote gender equity and inequality in research initiatives including policy-level efforts and community-level activities. For instance, many women who are in the informal sectors and economies, and depend on informal livelihoods have been badly affected by the pandemic. Females among underserved communities are socially and economically at greater risk during the pandemic and this intensifies in multi-hazard. We intend to capture this via the social survey which we will be conducting among underserved communities. Accordingly, it is our intention to raise the voice of equality and equity in terms of gender.

6. Remarkable stats and results underpinning the change we have brought about?
Results underpinning the change we have managed to generate via this initiative have come to light (so far) by means of 5 peer reviewed journal papers, 13 peer reviewed book chapters, and 1peer reviewed intranational conference paper.

The international symposium on Multi Hazard Early Warning and Disaster Risk Reduction, which was held from 14th, 15th and 16th December 2020 at the BMICH, Colombo, Sri Lanka as a hybrid event was another core example which underpins the change we have managed to bring about. It was jointly organized by the Disaster Management Centre of the State Ministry of National Security, Home Affairs and Disaster Management, Government of Sri Lanka; ,Global Disaster Resilience Centre, University of Huddersfield, UK; Asian Disaster Preparedness Centre, Thailand; University of Moratuwa and University of Colombo, Sri Lanka, in collaboration with partner UN agencies, JICA, and a set of other local and international partners, aiming to promote the availability and application of research, science and technology to support implementation of Sendai Framework of Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030. Our project as very strongly linked to the conference where 180 research papers were presented with 5 plenary sessions being organised, including, on "Integrating Epidemic and Pandemic Preparedness into Disaster Risk Reduction", which was led by Prof. Nishara Fernando, one of our academic partners of the research project. Significance of this event was well recognized by the government of Sri Lanka with a large number of official delegates including the Minister of Internal Security, Home Affairs and Disaster Management; Secretary, Ministry of Defence; Secretary, and State Ministry of Road and other Infrastructure Facilities; participated at the event. Sirasa TV, a leading television channel in Sri Lanka telecasted some important features of the conference and collaborated as the official media partner of the event.
The second most outstanding and impactful event of the project was the National Conference on "COVID 19: Impact, Mitigation, opportunities, and Building Resilience: from Adversity to Serendipity", jointly organized with National Science Foundation in Sri Lanka, on 27th and 28th January at BMICH, Colombo, Sri Lanka. This conference was aimed at developing and disseminating guidance to better incorporate pandemics and other biological hazards into national and local DRR preparedness and response which is the core theme of the research project. 82 peer-reviewed research papers were selected for presenting at the conference.

7. Benefits of international collaborative working. What has been the impact of international partnerships in your success, and in what ways do our collaborators take centre stage in the story?
The core of our strategy is collaborating internationally with our Sri Lanka based partners, and pooling efforts to tackle the problems we identified to deal with as part of 0 this project. Early online project meetings were used to establish a common framework and detailed data collection protocols that are informed by our partners and other key stakeholder inputs from Sri Lanka. Our partners provided access to data immediately. Co-creation is at the heart of our methodology to ensure that knowledge exchange is intensive between the teams. Our international DRR landscape offered our Sri Lankan partners to complement national actions. Without a doubt, if not the GCRF funding , this research wouldn't have taken shape , coupled with our long standing, established links with our Sri Lankan partners. During the pandemic, they acted as catalysis for our success. We have contributed to the notion that real world research has a strong international character , with international publications and peer reviewing, extensive sharing of data and results, and that these processes are critical to shaping and achieving high quality research and to providing solid foundations for public policy and action.
Exploitation Route some of the associated mechanics include:

1). Position paper on the integration of epidemic and pandemic preparedness in disaster risk reduction planning in Sri Lanka
2). Increased project visibility, and to visually represent the general overview, data, and most relevant findings of the research project
3). Provision of input towards important policy documents, with increase research visibility
4). Spotlights the effects, consequences, and ramifications of the Covid-19 pandemic in the areas of knowledge production, knowledge transfer and innovation.
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Construction,Education,Environment,Healthcare,Government, Democracy and Justice

URL http://pandemic-mhew.org/
 
Description Impact area: Upscaling the understanding and awareness/attitudes of national and subnational actors on the impact of COVID-19 on the response capabilities for other hazards; and change decision-making and behaviour of national and subnational actors through improved standard operating procedures for natural/pandemic early warning How it was achieved: 1). Updated and up to date information on improving COVID-19 and pandemic preparedness and response, and on the multiple challenges and cascading impacts through the downstream of multi-hazard early warning system 2). Sharing of latest research findings with various stakeholders (researchers end users, policy makers etc.) on improving COVID-19 and pandemic preparedness and response, and on the multiple challenges and cascading impacts through the downstream of multi-hazard early warning system
Sector Communities and Social Services/Policy,Environment,Healthcare,Government, Democracy and Justice
Impact Types Societal,Economic,Policy & public services

 
Description Colombo Declaration of Multi-Hazard Early Warning and Disaster Risk Reduction
Geographic Reach Asia 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
 
Description Input to United Nations European Forum for Disaster Risk Reduction in Portugal (EFDRR
Geographic Reach Europe 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
 
Description Scientific advice on 'Crisis Prevention, Preparedness, Response and Resilience'
Geographic Reach Europe 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
 
Description COVID-19 : Impact, Mitigation, Opportunities and Building Resilience: From Adversity to Serendipity, a 2 day national inter disciplinary conference from January, 27-28, 2021 
Organisation National Science Foundation of Sri Lanka
Country Sri Lanka 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Our research project was a strategic partner of the National Science Foundation of Sri Lanka (NSF) conducted 2-day national inter disciplinary conference titled "COVID-19: Impact, Mitigation, Opportunities and Building Resilience" There were 1100 participants, both face to face and online It aimed at bringing all the key players of the relevant public and private sector institutions under one roof to deliberate and reflect on the above aspects of the pandemic so as to build a robust and resilient community and economy in Sri Lanka. Other strategic partners included: World Health Organisation; State Ministry of Skills Development, Vocational Education, Research & Innovations, Sri Lanka; Ministry of Health, Sri Lanka; Postgraduate Institute of Management, Sri Lanka; and Disaster Management Centre, Sri Lanka.
Collaborator Contribution Our research project was a strategic partner of the National Science Foundation of Sri Lanka (NSF) conducted 2-day national inter disciplinary conference titled "COVID-19: Impact, Mitigation, Opportunities and Building Resilience" There were 1100 participants, both face to face and online It aimed at bringing all the key players of the relevant public and private sector institutions under one roof to deliberate and reflect on the above aspects of the pandemic so as to build a robust and resilient community and economy in Sri Lanka. Other strategic partners included: World Health Organisation; State Ministry of Skills Development, Vocational Education, Research & Innovations, Sri Lanka; Ministry of Health, Sri Lanka; Postgraduate Institute of Management, Sri Lanka; and Disaster Management Centre, Sri Lanka.
Impact Conference book, co edited by Prof. Dilanthi Amaratunga can be accessed via this link : https://covidcon.nsf.gov.lk/images/files/BookofAbs-26012021.pdf Senaratne, R., Amaratunga, D., Mendis, S. & Athukorala, P (eds) (2021), COVID 19: Impact, Mitigation, Opportunities and Building Resilience "From Adversity to Serendipity", Perspectives of global relevance based on research, experience and successes in combating COVID-19 in Sri Lanka, Vol. 1, National science Foundation, Sri Lanka: ISBN 978-624-5896-00-4
Start Year 2019
 
Description International Symposium on Multi Hazard Early Warning and Disaster Risk Reduction, held on 14th, 15th and 16th at the BMICH, Colombo 
Organisation Disaster Management Centre
Country Sri Lanka 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Experience over recent years of the impacts of tsunamis, cyclones, flooding and other major natural hazards has shown that inadequate preparation for, and response to, emergency situations have contributed to widespread damage and the avoidable loss of lives and livelihoods. Between 1998 and 2017, climate-related and geophysical disasters killed 1.3 million people and left a further 4.4 billion injured, homeless, displaced or in need of emergency assistance. While the majority of fatalities were due to geophysical events, mostly earthquakes and tsunamis, 91% of all disasters were caused by floods, storms, droughts, heatwaves and other extreme weather events. There are increasing calls for strengthened risk assessment and mitigation, community awareness and preparedness, and multi-hazard early warning systems at all levels. As emphasised by the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR 2015-2030), this requires an integrated and holistic approach to early warning for multiple hazards, and for risks tailored to user needs across sectors and community awareness. Together these will help to mainstream disaster risk reduction and to support efforts towards the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. This high-level, international symposium, which was organised in collaboration with Disaster Management Centre, Sri Lanka; Global Disaster Resilience Centre, University of Huddersfield, UK; IOC-UNESCO IOTWMS, WG 1 on Tsunami Risk, Community Awareness and Preparedness, and other partners will be held to recognise achievements, and to highlight work that still needs to be done. It will promote collaboration among academia, research institutions and disaster management offices, and encourage multidisciplinary and multi sectoral interaction.
Collaborator Contribution The Sri Lankan Government, third and private sectors, and higher education commit to work together to improve multi-mazard early warning and reduce disaster risk At the culmination of an International Symposium on Wednesday 16th December 2020, thirty-two national, regional and international agencies responsible for tackling disaster risk in Sri Lanka, came together to agree the Colombo Declaration of Multi-Hazard Early Warning and Disaster Risk Reduction. The three-day event, held in Colombo, Sri Lanka, as a hybrid face to face and online, brought together over 2500 participants from the Sri Lankan Government, the third and private sector, and higher education. They examined how research, science and technology could be used to support efforts to reduce to support the implementation of Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction towards 2030. Due to the pandemic, many Sri Lankan and international participants took advantage of an online platform to join the event remotely. The event was jointly organised by the Disaster Management Center from the Government of Sri Lanka, the University of Huddersfield in the UK, the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center, and the University of Moratuwa in Sri Lanka, with the input from several other partners. The Symposium programme included a combination of four keynote addresses and five panel discussions that involved leading national and international policy makers and scientists. These were complemented by twenty technical sessions where 157 detailed scientific, policy and practical applications were presented and shared. These wide-ranging interventions provided the basis for a Declaration by the Disaster Management Centre, Government of Sri Lanka, together with other key stakeholders responsible for disaster risk reduction in the country, region, and beyond, to work together to tackle the priority issues identified and addressed during the Symposium. It is a key milestone for the Disaster Management Practice Community in Sri Lanka, adopting the Colombo Declaration, which will reshape, rephrase and accelerate the implementation of National strategies supported by Global and regional instruments. The Declaration expresses deep concern at the growing frequency and intensity of extreme weather and climate-related challenges, and their continuing impact of disasters, resulting in an unacceptable loss of human lives and livelihoods, displacement of people, and environmental and economic damages in Sri Lanka and across the world. The Declaration sets out fifteen key priorities and actions that must be taken by stakeholders in order address these challenges. The Declaration also recognises the devastating impact of COVID-19 around the world and the threat posed by future epidemics and pandemics. It stresses the need to focus on developing a holistic understanding of societal challenges, risks and drivers, like poverty, climate change, loss of protective eco-systems and biodiversity, rapid urbanisation and unplanned development in hazard prone areas, socio-economic inequalities, and population growth along with their interactions. It underlines the need to build resilience against all hazards, including emerging and unforeseen hazards such as biological, human-animal transfers of diseases, hormones and microplastics. The Declaration was inspired by the UN Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, agreed by UN member states in 2015. It includes a strong call for higher education and science to support the understanding of disaster risk and promote risk-informed decisions and risk sensitive planning from the local to the global levels. The goal is to strengthen the evidence-base in support of the implementation of the new framework. The Declaration recognizes the importance of ensuring coherence among the global frameworks such as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, and the New Urban Agenda among others. There is an urgent need to strengthen and mainstream the inclusion of the research, science, and technology applications. There is also a need to build a community of practice that crosses scientific disciplines, and links science, policy and practice. This Declaration provides an important step in roadmap for achieving this and protecting people at risk.
Impact Fifty-four scientific contributions from the conference will also be published in a peer reviewed book, titled: "Multi-Hazard Early Warning and Disaster Risks [Amaratunga, D., Haigh, R,. & Dias N. (Ed.)], to be published by Springer Nature in 2021. It is a key milestone for the Disaster Management Practice Community in Sri Lanka, adopting the Colombo Declaration, which will reshape, rephrase and accelerate the implementation of National strategies supported by Global and regional instruments.
Start Year 2019
 
Description ?????? - 19 ?????? ?? ???? ????????? (Covid 19 and Disaster Management), article published in the "Hiru" news paper in Sinhala Language in Sri Lanka 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The above paper article was published in a reputed newspaper in Sri Lanka in Local Language for the awareness of general public on Covid-19 and its impact
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description COVID-19 preparedness: national to local engagement with the focus on DRR principles, View point by Professor Dilanthi Amaratunga, Global Disaster Resilience Centre, University of Huddersfield, UK , ADRiMP Sri Lankan news letter 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The newsletter was published by ADRiMP, Sri Lanka.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Disasters don't stop for a virus 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact At the Annual Meeting of the Sendai Framework National Focal Points In Europe and Central Asia, held from 15-16 December 2020, DGRC's Prof. Dilanthi Amaratunga did the keynote on "Disasters don't stop for a virus". This annual meeting was organised by the UNDRR Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia, which covered 56 countries across European and Central Asia
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Integrating Epidemic and Pandemic Preparedness into Disaster Risk Reduction 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Prof. Dilanthi Amaratunga was a Panellist at the International Plenary Session on Integrating Epidemic and Pandemic Preparedness into Disaster Risk Reduction, held on the 15th December 2020
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Interdisciplinary Policy dialogue On COVID 19: Impact, Mitigation, Opportunities and Building Resilience 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Prof. Dilanthi Amaratunga delivered a keynote speech at the International Dialog on "Disaster during Disaster: Multi-Hazard Approach for Geological and Hydro-meteorological Hazards Amid Covid19 Pandemic", organised by Indonesia National Disaster Management Organisation (BNPB), Meteorological, Climatological and Geophysical Agency (BMKG) of Indonesia together with UNESCO and Indonesia Disaster Experts Association, held on the 12th October, marking the International DRR day. 12th October 2020
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description International Symposium on Multi Hazard Early Warning and Disaster Risk Reduction 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact At the culmination of the international symposium on Multi-Hazard Early Warning and Disaster Risk Reduction 2020 (MHEW DRR 2020) held on 14th, 15th and 16th at the BMICH, Colombo witnessed the participation of thirty-two national, regional and international agencies responsible for tackling disaster risk in Sri Lanka. This three-day international symposium held as a hybrid event of face to face and online brought together over 2,500 participants from the Sri Lankan government, private sector, non-governmental organisations and higher educational institutions on to one common platform. The event was jointly organised by the Global Disaster Resilience Centre, the University of Huddersfield in UK, the Disaster Management Centre (DMC), the Asian Disaster Preparedness Centre and the University of Moratuwa along with the input and sponsorship from several other partners. The new normal lifestyle amidst the current global pandemic of COVD-19 paves the way for the creation of a virtual platform which was a well-coordinated and successful effort between the whizzes of the two universities and DMC, the host of this international event. Many local and international participants took the advantage of the virtual platform facility and joined remotely.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description National Conference on COVID-19 : Impact, Mitigation, Opportunities and Building Resilience: From Adversity to Serendipity 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact GDRC was a strategic partner of the National Science Foundation of Sri Lanka (NSF) conducted a 2-day national interdisciplinary conference titled "COVID-19: Impact, Mitigation, Opportunities and Building Resilience" under the theme "From Adversity to Serendipity" from January, 27-28, 2021. It aimed at bringing all the key players of the relevant public and private sector institutions under one roof to deliberate and reflect on the above aspects of the pandemic so as to build a robust and resilient community and economy in Sri Lanka. Other strategic partners included: World Health Organisation; State Ministry of Skills Development, Vocational Education, Research & Innovations, Sri Lanka; Ministry of Health, Sri Lanka; Postgraduate Institute of Management, Sri Lanka; and Disaster Management Centre, Sri Lanka
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://covidcon.nsf.gov.lk/images/files/BookofAbs-26012021.pdf
 
Description Presentation on Integrating epidemic and pandemic preparedness into national and local disaster risk reduction strategies , School of Applied Sciences, Research Conference: COVID-19, 24th February 2021 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact This work presented at the conference organized by the School of Applied Sciences, the University of Huddersfield on COVID-19 on 24th February 2021. The presentation was about 20 mins and the post-presentation discussion took place as a policy level dialogue.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description Research relevance and interest beyond a community of scholars: How can we achieve this? 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Professor Dilanthi Amaratunga was the invited keynote speaker at the launch meeting of the Strengthening University-Enterprise Collaboration for Resilient Communities in Asia (SECRA), held from 2-4 February 2021. Her keynote speech was titled: "Research relevance and interest beyond a community of scholars: How can we achieve this?
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description What role for science in understanding, reducing and managing Disaster Risks? 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Professor Dilanthi Amaratunga was the invited keynote speaker at the 2020 Annual Sessions of the Sri Lanka Association of Advancement of Science, held from 6th - 11th December 2020. Her keynote entitled: "What role for science in understanding, reducing and managing Disaster Risks?"
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020