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Sri Lanka: Cargo Ship Fire Emergency - Operation Update Report n° 1; 22 September 2021, DREF n° MDRLK013

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Summary of major revisions

Extension of time frame (no-cost extension): Scaling up beach cleaning activities requires more time for the operation as the process is labour intensive and time-consuming. The COVID-19 restrictions in the country and detection of positive cases at SLRCS Headquarters (HQ) resulted in delays in the planned operation implementation. Hence, the operation is extended for two months to complete planned activities.

Changes to the operation strategy: The major changes include scaling up beach cleaning activities in Gampaha and Puttlam districts by deploying 180 additional volunteers (10,250 additional volunteers’ days), with three additional trainings. This change is proposed because the military has withdrawn from beach cleaning, and MEPA has requested SLRCS for scaling up because many locations have to be cleaned, particularly in Gampaha and Puttlam districts with a higher concentration of plastic pellets and debris than in other districts. Planned donations of special Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits to the military will not occur as they are no longer engaged in the operation. Instead, these kits will be reallocated to additional SLRCS volunteers who will be involved in cleaning the beach. Furthermore, planned work to establish oil spill barriers will not be implemented under this operation as MEPA has allocated resources and equipment for this.

A threat of large-scale oil spills has not been detected thus far. However, experts believe possible oil spills may happen in the future, and MEPA has an oil spill contingency plan to deal with the potential threat. Although the total number of families aimed to reach through multipurpose cash grants remain the same (3,000 families), the target in Gampaha district will be increased up to 2,500 families (initial target 2,000 families) while reduced down to 500 families for Colombo district (initial target 1,000 families). The assessments and stakeholder consultations revealed that economic impact is higher in Gampaha than other districts, hence the increased target for cash support.

There is roughly about CHF 50,000 savings mainly from the following lines of the original budget:

• Procurements (special PPE kits, goggles, boots, gloves-industrial, and cleaning tools).
• Oil spill barriers.
• International surge deployment.
• Few other budget lines with a small savings.

The following budget lines have been increased to meet the new demand considering the changes described above under operation strategy:

• Cost of volunteer deployment.
• Increase in media/communication/visibility.
• Increase in project staff cost to match with the timeframe extension.

However, the total operational budget remains the same.