Govt frowns on media organisations collecting, distributing disaster relief



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By Maheesha Mudugamuwa


 


Director General of the Government Information Department Dr. Ranga Kalansooriya, MP Malith Jayathilake, Deputy Minister of Disaster Management Dunesh Gankanda, Minister of Disaster Management Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, Secretary to the Ministry S.S. Miyanawala, Director General of Disaster Management Centre Maj. Gen. L.B.R Mark, Prof. Rohana Lakshman Piyadasa and Prof. Rohan Samarajiva at a discussion on Media Sensitivity in Emergency Responses and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) at JAIC Hilton Hotel in Colombo yesterday.


Director General of the Government Information Department Dr. Ranga Kalansooriya said yesterday that the collection as well as distribution of donations was not the responsibility of the media organisations; instead they should provide accurate information to the public and also make government institutions aware of their weaknesses.


Addressing a workshop on "Media Sensitivity in Emergency Responses and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR)" organised by the Disaster Management Ministry and Disaster Management Centre (DMC) together with the Asia Pacific Alliance (APA) at the JAIC Hilton hotel in Colombo, the DG Information said the way the media organisations behaved during the recent disaster situations by collecting donations and distributing them among disaster affected people was unacceptable.


Disaster Management Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, speaking at the same workshop, said the disaster-prone locations in the country would soon be mapped out to facilitate emergency response and relief.


The Ministry had decided to strengthen the state and district-level disaster management authorities by carrying out hazard risk and vulnerability assessment of the areas in the respective districts in relation to possible man-made or natural disasters, the Minister said.


To minimise the loss of property and life, it was always better to be informed not only of the ways and means of tackling the situation but also of the preventive measures. Such information exchange was very important, Minister Yapa said.


Doubting whether the media and the ministry were working for the same purpose, which was to reduce the risk of disasters and to avoid any loss of lives during disasters through better responses for emergency situation, the Minister stressed the importance of strengthening the cooperation between the media and the officers at the ministry.


He said a new national building code would also be introduced to mitigate the risk of future disasters and to prepare constructions that would endure any types of disasters.


Highlighting the historical reports regarding the disasters, the Minister said it was reported that an earthquake which had occurred in Colombo in 1615 had left about 2,000 dead and therefore though there was no immediate earthquake threats to the capital city of Colombo, it was important to construct buildings capable of withstanding tremors.


Referring to the current drought situation experienced in several provinces, Minister Yapa said his Ministry had taken steps to provide water to the people in those parts of the country.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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