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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2673

Navy upgrades ‘Disaster Response Capabilities’

Colombo, 27 June, (

The Commander of the Navy, Vice Admiral Ravindra C. Wijegunaratne on identifying the importance of responding swiftly during natural disasters, declared open a dedicated ‘Disaster Response Unit’ (DRU) at SLNS Gemunu, Welisara on Sunday (25).

The Navy Commander during his address highlighted a very important aspect to the officers and sailors who were present on the occasion. He mentioned that ‘at present we do not have a visible enemy like the LTTE we had before 2009. But, today we face a yet another enemy that comes in the form of natural disasters and it is our prime duty to save the public from natural disasters like floods, landslide, etc. In doing so we have to be prepared to meet the highest professional level.’

He further stated that this unit would be able to swiftly respond to natural disasters especially in the Western and Southern areas. The DRU comprises Fiberglass Dinghy (FGDs) boats, Rubber Floatable Dinghies (RFDs), Outboard Motor (OBMs) engines, state of the art mobile kitchens made using containers, all cooking utensils, tents, water pumps, high pressure water guns, and mobile toilets among a host of other equipment that are essential for naval personnel to act as first responders during a disaster. He also mentioned that another two units of this nature would be established in the North Central and Eastern Areas where the community is battered by flash floods that come as a result of monsoonal rains.

This unit comes as a very important initiative by the Navy, as such it will be of immense value during the launching of Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Operations, commonly referred by the military personnel as HA/DR operations. Especially during times of floods, the naval personnel have a major role to play as first responders, since access to inundated areas will be primarily by small FGDs and RFDs.

The Navy recently held a parade at the Colombo port Eastern Container Terminal pier, in the presence of the Commander of the Navy to felicitate all those who actively took part in rescuing civilians in the aftermath of the recent severe weather.

There too, Vice Admiral Wijegunaratne highlighted the role played by naval personnel in rescuing the motherland from the clutches of terrorism. He assured continuing concerns over the common citizens in the country and pledged Navy’s undeniable assistance in any form of natural or any other disaster. Adding further he said, ‘as armed personnel who depend completely upon the public money, we have a paramount responsibility in delivering our noble service at any cost for the protection of them’.

- Asian Tribune -

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