Sri Lanka has been the scene of waves of resettlement due to conflict and the 2004 South Asian Tsunami. Practical Action Sri Lanka, in partnership with DESMIO, a local NGO, sought to facilitate a housing project with people with disabilities and those most vulnerable in Manmunipattu Division of Batticaloa, a conflict affected and hazard prone division. This case study highlights the extent to which Practical Action Sri Lanka’s housing intervention reflects a climate smart disaster risk management (CSDRM) approach and whether this has led to an opening of inclusive spaces and citizen engagement on disaster risk management (DRM) in a post-conflict setting. The investigation highlights that Practical Action Sri Lanka has taken up actions which reflect elements across the three pillars of the CSDRM approach. Their participatory process of including beneficiary knowledge of local hazards and knowledge of changing climate opened up a space for local communities to participate in housing design and construction. The process allowed beneficiaries to learn about the planning, design process and benefits through masonry training. This learning was shared across the community and with other NGOs. In addition, supporting the livelihoods of beneficiaries was a core component of their housing reconstruction intervention as seen through masonry training of beneficiaries, paid unskilled labour for construction and support for a paper production plant. The integration of actions which reflect the three pillars of the CSDRM approach was possible as a result of building on their strengths of participatory development and promoting sustainable livelihoods as well as their dedication to organisational learning and innovation. However, more action could be taken to integrate the CSDRM approach, for example by triangulating local knowledge with weather trends, building on the capacity of local level authority, and opening up a space for linking various stakeholders and governmental scales together for information sharing and priority setting for DRM.
Ibrahim, M. Post-disaster housing reconstruction in a conflict affected district, Batticaloa, Sri Lanka: Reflecting on the Climate Smart Disaster Risk Management Approach, SCR Discussion Paper 6. (2010) : 47 pp.