Disaster Management

The X-Press Pearl Disaster: From Flames to Prevention

Sri Lanka’s ecological disaster related to the MV X-Press Pearl, a container ship carrying hazardous chemicals that caught fire off its coast on 20 May 2021, is back in the news as the country attempts to claim damages. The ecological disaster washed up tons of plastic pellets and other pollutants on the country’s beaches and harmed its marine ecosystem. It is a stark reminder of the risks associated with transporting hazardous materials and the urgent need for governments and companies to take proactive measures to prevent such disasters in the future. This blog revisits the environmental impact of the X-Press Pearl disaster and discusses how Sri Lanka can use the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR) to develop strategies and policies to prevent similar disasters from happening near its shores again.

Righting the Ship: The X-Press Pearl Disaster and the Imperative for Regional Maritime Cooperation

On 20 May 2021, Sri Lanka’s worst-ever marine disaster occurred when a fire erupted on the Singapore-registered MV X-Press Pearl container ship just 18 km Northwest of Colombo. While the long-term cost is yet to be determined, the negative impact on industries such as fisheries and tourism, and people who rely on the coastal resources of Sri Lanka is already apparent. This article examines the key consequences of this disaster on Sri Lanka’s coastal economy and highlights the need to enhance regional maritime cooperation to prevent the recurrence of such disasters.

Women in Times of Disaster: Gender Dimension of Disaster Management in Sri Lanka

It has become apparent that natural disasters have a gender aspect, where women are often affected more severely than men. A woman’s pre-disaster familial responsibilities are magnified and expanded by a disaster, often with significantly less support and resources. The author argues that, given that women are often in a disadvantaged position in many contexts, the promotion of gender equality implies that attention need to be paid to female empowerment in disaster management.

A Mess as Old as Time: The Economic Cost of Natural Disasters in Sri Lanka

The recent floods in Sri Lanka, triggered by the monsoon rains, left a trail of destruction in its wake. However, natural disasters are nothing new to Sri Lanka. This blog analyzes the economic cost of devastating natural disasters that wrack the country time and time again and examines lessons for Sri Lanka from other Asian countries.