An Assessment of Structural Measures for Risk Reduction of Hydrometeorological Disasters in Sri Lanka

Kanchana Ginige*, Kalindu Mendis, Menaha Thayaparan

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Sri Lanka has a high incidence of natural hazards with hydrometeorological hazards being the most prevalent. Despite the fact that structural measures such as flood walls and embankments play a vital role in disaster mitigation, it is observed that there is a gap in the development of effective, sustainable, and state of the art structural measures in Sri Lanka. This paper, in this context, aims to assess the nature of existing structural measures in the country in order to highlight what improvements are needed, and the costs and benefits of the necessary improvements. This is achieved through a comprehensive literature review followed by the analysis of twelve semi-structured interviews conducted with experts in the subject of structural measures for disaster mitigation. The findings reveal that Sri Lanka has sufficient types of structural measures in relation to floods, landslides, and coastline erosion compared to other developing countries. However, age and outdated technology are critical issues that hinder the expected performance of the measures. Moreover, it is observed that sufficient structural measures for mitigating the risk of drought related disasters are not in place in Sri Lanka compared to measures for other hydrometeorological hazards. The key benefits of improving structural measures in the country are identified as land development, economic growth, and increased stability of cities, and the main costs and challenges are high initial capital cost, high maintenance and repair cost, and the negligible residual value of structural measures. The findings of this study will lead to gaining a comprehensive understanding of gaps and weaknesses in structural measures in Sri Lanka and will influence policymakers and other respective practitioners in disaster mitigation to effectively enhance the existing portfolio of such measures.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100232
Number of pages10
JournalProgress in Disaster Science
Volume14
Early online date13 May 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 18 May 2022

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