What happened to the early disaster warning system that costs country more than €29m in foreign debt?

What happened to the early disaster warning system that costs country more than €29m in foreign debt?

Written by Staff Writer

07 Jun, 2017 | 10:11 pm

Following the Tsunami in the year 2004, the need for an early disaster warning system and an instant response system in the country became a priority.

Taking this need into consideration, the then Secretary to the Ministry of Disaster Management P. D Amarasinghe signed an agreement on December 10, 2007, with J. V. Meertance, a Director of a company in the Netherlands – Search and Rescue Operation BV.

A project of 6.6 million euros was suggested.

A loan of 4.5 million euros was obtained from the Rabo bank International in the Netherlands.

An emergency operations centre that operates for 24 hours, provides data collection, analysis, a research centre establishment of ten centres in rural areas and the establishment of fifty early warning towers was suggested under the project.

In a bid to broaden this process, the director of the Dutch company signed another agreement in the year 2009 with the Secretary of the Ministry of Local Governments and Provincial Councils at the time, H. P. C. Herath.

According to the agreement, the loan amount received from Rabo Bank International in the Netherlands was 24.9 million euros.

According to this new agreement, it was suggested to allocate finances to renovate two fire and rescue centres, establish eighteen new such centres, establish twenty-five more early warning towers, fifteen emergency operation centres in fifteen districts and to modernise the Disaster Management building.

Thereby, a total of 29.4 million euros has been obtained from the Rabo Bank International in the Netherlands under these two agreements.

The main objective of all these was to identify disasters before hand, collect, analysis and communicate this information to these countrywide centres. So, the operation would act swiftly to provide protection to the people with the provincially established fire and rescue centres.

A satellite communications centre was of paramount importance for this project to be carried out.The first phase of the project was to focus on a V-Sat, a Very Small Apature Termimal Satellite.

Even though the agreement said that it would be constructed in a plot of land belonging to the Disaster Management Centre, it was later constructed at the Satellite Centre in Padukka.

According to a technical evaluation produced to the Director General of the Disaster Management Centre in August 2014, the system has only functioned for two months.

Meantime, News1st received a walkie talkie given under the disaster recovery programme several years ago.

According to the estimates, the cost of one of these walkie talkie devices exceeds Rs. 300,000.

Loans of 29.4 million euros delivered a redundant 24-hour disaster management programme, leaving the country with the most basic disaster warning system

29.4 million euros as per the current conversion rate is Rs. 5.056 billion.

What has been done for the disaster management of the country after obtaining such large amounts as loans?

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