Integration of “disaster risk reduction” into infrastructure reconstruction sector: Policy vs practise gaps

Roshani Palliyaguru, Dilanthi Amaratunga, Richard Haigh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


– The literature emphasises that integration of disaster risk reduction (DRR) into planning processes is a key to reduce natural disaster losses, boost socio‐economic development needs and ensure sustainability in development gains. But linking DRR to the infrastructure reconstruction sector has become a challenge in developing country settings. Therefore, the purpose of the main research, of which this paper is based on, is to explore how integration of DRR into infrastructure reconstruction should be done in such a way to contribute to socio‐economic development process. As a part of this main aim, this paper focuses on exploring the existing gap in the concept of DRR at the policy‐making level and the infrastructure reconstruction project level. Thus, the paper seeks to review the current policies on post‐disaster reconstruction and DRR at the national and intermediate‐organisational level in Sri Lanka and integration of DRR concept within these policies. Not limiting to the policies, DRR processes were assessed on their success through the level of implementation of DRR strategies at the post‐disaster infrastructure reconstruction projects.

– The paper is based on the data collated from a case study conducted in a water supply and sanitation reconstruction project in Sri Lanka supported by expert interviews among national and intermediate‐organisational level policy makers those who are involved in the development of policies related to disaster management and construction activities.

– The results highlight the lack of individual policies on reconstruction and DRR of reconstruction at the national and intermediate‐organisational level except certain sections within certain policies. It was found that integration of DRR within these policies is lower than the level of importance of such integration. Further, the level of implementation of these policies in practise is average as it is averted by required speed and quality of reconstruction, availability of finances for reconstruction, the scale of reconstruction projects, reliability and practicability of policies, legitimacy of policies and adequacy of authority delegated to the relevant bodies, the consistency of various policies, detail explanations on relationships with other policies, the level of awareness about policies by the relevant bodies, attitude of construction professionals and experience of reconstruction bodies in the field of disaster reconstruction.

Research limitations/implications
– The findings of this paper is not limited to one specific policy related to disaster management or construction in Sri Lanka. It represents an overall view of most of the existing policies in the field. Furthermore, the data collection was limited to the Sri Lanka context.

Practical implications
– The findings of this paper will be useful to relevant policy makers to understand the areas needed further attention within the policies in terms of integration of DRR concept within them.

– The paper is unique in its findings as it discovers overall gaps in the concept of DRR within the policies and actual infrastructure reconstruction project practises.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-296
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Disaster Resilience in the Built Environment
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2010
Externally publishedYes


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