Settling the Ripples: An examination of Sri Lanka’s approach to addressing cascading impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic

Nishara Fernando, Naduni Jayasinghe, Dilanthi Amaratunga, Richard Haigh, Chandana Siriwardana, Hemantha Herath, P Ranaweera, Ariyasinghe U, Sunil Jayaweera

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


The COVID-19 pandemic in Sri Lanka has not only posed a severe threat to human health and longevity but also cascaded into a large scale economic downturn and bleak social effects signifying the systemic nature of risks. This study examines the major economic and social effects caused by the first wave of COVID-19 in the country and the manner in which these effects have been addressed with the aim of providing policy implications for systemic risk governance. This chapter is based on a number of secondary sources and primary data gathered from interviews conducted with key informants at both national and sub-national levels. Findings show that the pandemic has caused severe socio-economic impacts across the country which have been addressed with the main dominant involvement of the Presidential Task Forces, NGOs and INGOs at national level and Disaster Management and Public Health authorities at sub-national level. Effective collaboration among multiple-stakeholders and the emulation of a decentralised approach have been identified as the main strengths of Sri Lanka’s approach to overcoming the cascading effects of the pandemic. However, response to these effects has been hampered due to inefficiencies caused with the establishment of new structures instead of leveraging the existing structures, difficulties faced in accurately identifying beneficiaries of relief services, inadequate allocations for stimulus packages and lack of focus on resilience building. Findings further demonstrate that effective and efficient mitigation of the cascading effects of hazards such as pandemics, calls for a shift in focus from short term response to building both economic and societal resilience.
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 pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9786245896004
Publication statusPublished - 29 Sep 2021


Dive into the research topics of 'Settling the Ripples: An examination of Sri Lanka’s approach to addressing cascading impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this