Advisory Panel

Disaster Service’s distinguished advisory panel provides informed support and direction for our research, statistical, computational, linguistic and interpretive work here. They are generously contributing to the work already and shall continue to do so in the future.


Eng. Neil Devadasan – IT Director, The Polis Center, Indiana University Purdue University at Indianapolis (IUPUI), Indiana, USA

Devadasan designs and develops computer applications for community information systems and for the social sciences. He has streamlined back-office data processing for the social Assets and vulnerabilities Indicators project. Devadasan also developed an interactive community information system for citizens of Central Indiana SAVI ( He did his graduate work at IUPUI and his undergraduate degree from the University of Peradeniya in Production Engineering. He was one of fifteen international fellows in the 2005-2006 Reuters Digital Vision Fellowship Program at Stanford University.


Prof. Jude Fernando – Environmental Social Scientist

Prof. Jude Fernando is an associate professor at Clark University, Massachusetts in International Development and Social Change. He has obtained his Ph. D. from the University of Pennsylvania. His areas of research interests are comparative roles of governmental and non-governmental institutions in the areas of sustainable development, environment, livelihoods, gender and empowerment, child labour, humanitarian assistance, and governance. He has published extensively on social sciences. While he has had interactions with our senior staff members for three decades, he is presently collaborating with DS on proposals

Dr Ajith Gunaratne – Professor, Department of Mathematics Florida, Agricultural and Mechanical University

Dr. Ajith Gunaratne, is an assistant professor of Mathematics at the Florida, Agricultural and Mechanical University, USA. He had his graduate education at Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, USA and his undergraduate education at the University of Peradeniya. He was previously attached to the Institute of Fundamental Studies and the University of Peradeniya.


Dr. P.H.D. Kusumawathie – Senior Research Scientist

Dr. Kusum, a Senior Research Scientist who contributes to our work. She works on entomological surveillance of dengue while being seconded to the National Dengue Control Program. She has obtained her B.Sc in Zoology with honours from the University of Peradeniya and her M.S and Ph.D. from the same University in Parasitology and Epidemiology. She also has received a master’s in health economics from Chulangakon University in Thailand. She has worked for three decades in monitoring and control of infectious diseases and has maintained an active research program.

Dr. M.T.M. Mahees

Dr. M.T.M. Mahees – Senior Lecturer in Sociology and MA Coordinator for Department of Sociology at the University of Colombo.

Dr. M.T.M. Mahees has obtained his Bachelors and Masters in Sociology. He obtained his Ph. D. in Integrated Water Resource Management from the University of Peradeniya. His fields of interests are Sociological Theories, Environmental Sociology, Political Ecology, Water Resource, Solid Waste Management, Community Mobilization, Research Methodology, Volunteerism and Counseling. He has plenty of experience in university teaching and is currently the Senior Lecturer in Sociology and MA Coordinator for Department of Sociology at the University of Colombo.

Dr. Vidhura Ralapanawe

Dr. Vidhura Ralapanawe – IT Consultant

Vidhura Ralapanawe is a  with grounding on climate science, communications, corporate strategy and change. He has received a B.Sc. (Eng) from the University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka in 1996 and M.Sc. in Responsibility & Business Practice from the University of Bath, 2000 and has obtained his Ph.D. in Organisational Change, Organisational Development, Change from Ashridge Business School in the UK. He has worked for IBM in New York and later as a consultant to the corporate sector in Sri Lanka on social and environmental risk management & business strategy. He is interested in sustainable development, technology and application of climate information. He handled the Sri Lanka case study of the Natural Disaster Hotspots Project for FECT. He is currently the Executive Vice President at Epic Group.

Prof. P iyasena Wickramagamage

Prof. Piyasena Wickramagamage – GIS, Soils and Hydrology

Prof. Wickramagamage is working as an Emeritus Professor of geography at the University of Peradeniya and Senior Research Scientist at DS. He obtained his B.A in Geography at the University of Peradeniya and his Ph.D. in Physical Geology from the University of London. His main areas of research include GIS, soils, hydrology, climate and EIA on all of which he has published extensively. He has been a partner, collaborator and Principal Investigator on several proposals and grants such as the Rainwater Harvesting Project (Provention), master’s in development Practice Project (MacArthur), AgMIP project (DfID) and the PEER projects on Water and Hazards (National Academy of Sciences, USAID).

Dr lareef zubair

Dr. Lareef Zubair – Principal Scientist /Climate and Adaptation Scientist and Technologist

Dr. Lareef Zubair, the Principal Scientist / Engineer of DS, works in the areas of climate, environment, adaptation and technological advancement for the tropics for the last two decades. He undertakes research on climate systems, adaptation approaches and uses these for generating practical solutions in tropical venues (Sri Lanka, Botswana, Maldives and Comoros). His work is undertaken through projects in partnership with decision-makers and other researchers and educators.
Previously, He was a Postdoctoral Associate in Mathematics and Engineering at Yale University, and in Climate Monitoring and Applications at the University Consortium for Atmospheric Science. He has also been a Senior Lecturer in Engineering at the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka and a Research Fellow at the Institute of Fundamental Studies, Sri Lanka. He worked as a Scientist at the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI) and is attached to the Columbia University Water Center. His undergraduate education was at the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka and the graduate work was at Yale University, U.S.A.