COLOMBO, November 1 – The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has been working closely with the Government of Sri Lanka on disaster preparedness and response, to help address and mitigate the loss of lives and property resulting from the increased frequency of flash floods and landslides. Most recently, USAID brought the lead designer of the World Meteorological Organization’s Flash Flood Guidance System (FFGS) Dr. Konstantine P. Georgakakos to Sri Lanka to work with the Ministry of Disaster Management on including Sri Lanka under a regional FFGS.
FFGS takes data from automated rain gauges and combines it with global data from satellites in order to provide at-risk communities with accurate warnings in enough time to vacate their homes. With the Ministry’s engagement, Dr. Georgakakos examined the existing system in Sri Lanka and explored ways to improve it. The collaboration will include extensive training on modern systems, satellite information, automated sensors, and weather prediction. The South Asia regional system is supported by USAID, the World Meteorological Organization, and the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Dr. Georgakakos’ visit complements USAID’s ongoing disaster response and recovery programs, and efforts to encourage a localized response to disasters, as “going local” through community and faith-based actors and networks can improve delivery of aid to communities experiencing disasters.