Following the Boxing Day tsunami in the Indian Ocean, Hikkaduwa was one of the most devastated regions in Sri Lanka. An unsuspecting Peraliya was quickly thrown into the world media spotlight as it was also the site of the world's largest ever train disaster when the Queen of the Seas Colombo-Galle Express train was derailed there in the waves of December 26, 2004.
It is estimated that some 2,500 people died in the village while only 8 walls of 498 houses remained standing.
The need for an early-warning system for the region was recognised as early as January 2005 by volunteers Dr Novil Wijesekara, Alison Thompson and James Ellis who were working on the recovery operation in Peraliya: several false tsunami warnings had adverse psychological affects in the population.
It is also obvious that if a proper warning system were already in place, many lives would have been saved in the tsunami. An international coordinated tsunami warning system has been proposed by the United Nations but is unlikely to be in operation before the end of 2012. In the meantime, the Indian Ocean region remains largely unprotected.
Our aim is to not only help protect the villages of Peraliya, Thelwatta, Seenigama and Dalwathamullah but to grow around the entire coastline and to also create a culture of preparation in case of a future disaster.
The remains of the Queen of the Seas in Peraliya, December 27, 2004
CTEC's Vision is to create a disaster preparedness culture in Sri Lanka at community level through community participation and empowerment while sharing the benefits of information technology with rural communities for culturally appropriate and sustainable development.
CTEC's Mission: Tsunami and disaster prepared coastal communities in the Galle District by December 26, 2006. ( successfully created by this date)
1) To create a mechanism to receive, analyze and disseminate information on natural disasters at the community level, with special emphasis on Tsunami and to prevent unnecessary worries and panic due to false Tsunami warnings.
2) To work in collaboration and consultation with expert national, regional and international organizations involved in monitoring of natural disasters.
3) To formulate and implement an action plan with the participation of the community and other stakeholders, to be followed in case of an emergency.
4) To obtain community participation in the process of continuous vigilance through volunteering.
5) To inculcate attitudes of mutual responsibility and cooperation among the community members
6) To rediscover traditional and local knowledge on warning signs of natural disasters and disseminate such knowledge to future generations.
7) To act as a gateway to the information technology and information superhighway to the community.
8) To function as a focal point in disseminating information pertaining to the physical, mental and psycho-social well-being of the community.
1) To create a Community Disaster Warning Center
2) To establish a public address system in the community and extend along the coast.
3) To formulate a Disaster Action Plan
4) To educate and train the community on the Disaster Action Plan
5) To rediscover and disseminate traditional and local knowledge on Tsunami warning signs.
6) To obtain community participation in working towards disaster preparedness.
7) To conduct courses for the children and the youth on Information Technology.
8) To broadcast educational, health and religious messages to the community.
9) To expand the warning system around Sri Lanka, funds permitting.
10) To integrate fully with the international system proposed for 2012
11) To install a volunteer system in every village along the coast called Community Points