Building Resilience: Introduction

Dilanthi Amaratunga, Naduni Jayasinghe, Nishara Fernando

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The recent COVID-19 pandemic has been perceived and experienced by most governments and societies across the globe as an unprecedented shock. However, facts reveal that pandemics have been far from alien. Before the advent of the Coronavirus, a number of outbreaks have repeatedly triggered the world ranging from those as early as the Spanish flu of 1918, the Asian flu of 1957 to more recent outbreaks such as HIV/AIDS in 1981, SARS in 2003 and MERS in 2012. Most countries have demonstrated a low level of preparedness for COVID-19, have failed to incorporate pandemics in their Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) strategies, and to act on the basis of science and warnings about the threat of a pandemic. COVID-19 has given rise to complex risk scenarios and compound vulnerabilities which most countries have hardly anticipated. Most countries have barely recognized multi-hazard scenarios although now they are faced with the challenge of responding to extreme climatic events such as floods, earthquakes and landslides in the midst of their boundless efforts to curtail the spread of COVID-19. The pandemic has called into question the viability of existing response mechanisms to climatic events and urged relevant stakeholders to rethink their approaches, at all levels. The effects of the pandemic have not failed to transcend the health sector, cascading into other sectors such as the economy, society, legal systems and politics. This way, the pandemic has not just dismantled one part of a system but failed the entire system thereby showcasing the systemic nature of risks.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCOVID 19: Impact, Mitigation, Opportunities and Building Resilience
Subtitle of host publicationFrom Adversity to Serendipity
EditorsRanjith Senaratne, Dilanthi Amaratunga, Shanthi Mendis, Prema-chandra Athukorala
PublisherNational Science Foundation of Sri Lanka
Number of pages4
ISBN (Electronic)9786245896004
Publication statusPublished - 29 Sep 2021


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