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  Donna Thiessen 

                                                                                                                                                                        (703) 875-4357

 

USTDA AWARDS GRANT TO IMPROVE SRI LANKA’S

EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS CAPABILITIES

 

COLOMBO, SRI LANKA (September 26, 2006) – Improving emergency communications and notification capabilities in Sri Lanka is the goal of a USTDA grant awarded yesterday to Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Finance and Planning.  The grant will be used to provide technical assistance to the Disaster Management Center (DMC) in assessing emergency communications needs, evaluating technology options, conducting a financial assessment, and assisting with the procurement tenders for systems and services.

 

The $305,000 grant was signed by U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka Robert O. Blake and Dr. P. B. Jayasundera, Secretary to the Treasury, on behalf of the U.S. and Sri Lankan governments, respectively.

 

Following the impact of the December 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the DMC was established within the Ministry of Disaster Management and Human Rights’ (MDMHR) as the body tasked with day-to-day responsibility for emergency management in Sri Lanka.  As the DMC seeks to strengthen its capabilities to manage future crises, the USTDA-funded technical assistance will provide strategies, operating procedures and technology solutions in the areas of communications infrastructure and applications. 

 

The USTDA grant follows two earlier agency-funded activities in Sri Lanka related to disaster management.  In 2005, USTDA awarded a $398,000 grant to Sri Lanka’s Department of Meteorology to facilitate data collection and real-time information flow on distant seismic events and oceanographic indicators that might cause weather-related disasters.  The second grant awarded last year, in the amount of $375,000, to Sri Lanka’s National Disaster Management Center to develop standard operating procedures for the newly formed entity and ensure timely emergency communication and notification procedures to government officials, emergency first responders, and the public.  Science Applications International Corporation of San Diego, California was selected by both grantees to perform the work associated with those grants.

 

Altogether, USTDA has provided over $7.9 million for 20 projects related to tsunami reconstruction efforts in Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Thailand.  The projects supported by USTDA are in the emergency communications, energy, transportation and environmental sectors. 

 

The opportunity to provide the technical assistance under the grant awarded yesterday will be competed on the Federal Business Opportunities website at www.fedbizopps.gov.  Interested U.S. firms should submit proposals according to the instructions contained in the Federal Business Opportunities announcement.  The Ministry of Disaster Management and Human Rights will select the U.S. contractor that will provide the assistance.

 

The U.S. Trade and Development Agency advances economic development and U.S. commercial interests in developing and middle-income countries.  The agency funds various forms of technical assistance, early investment analysis, training, orientation visits and business workshops that support the development of a modern infrastructure and a fair and open trading environment.  USTDA’s strategic use of foreign assistance funds to support sound investment policy and decision-making in host countries creates an enabling environment for trade, investment and sustainable economic development.  In carrying out its mission, USTDA gives emphasis to economic sectors that may benefit from U.S. exports of goods and services.

 

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