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Lessons from Cyclone Pam help Vanuatu media prepare for future events

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Vanuatu broadcasters and media came together with the National Disaster Management Office, and the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazard Department to plan and prepare their Climate and Disaster Resilience Plans this week.

 

Funded by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade through ABC International and PACMAS, the Pacific Media Assistance Scheme, and implemented in partnership with the Secretariat of the Pacific Communty (SPC) and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), this training seeks to assist Pacific broadcasters in eight countries in preparing plans that will help them be more resilient to the effects of climate change and disasters.

 

Having the very recent experience of category five Tropical Cyclone Pam, the broadcasters and government ministries were able to share their experiences and lessons learnt to help develop plans.

 

This will help them continue broadcasting warnings and information to the public during times of disaster when people need this service the most.

 

According to the Acting Director of the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazard Department of Vanuatu, David Gibson, the workshop is useful in helping the media understand the terms and definitions used by the Meteorological Services, and the National Disaster Management Office.  This includes the differences between the various levels of advisories and warnings issued during disasters.

 

“The National Disaster Management Office and the Meteorological Services rely on the media to get this information out to the communities accurately and in a timely fashion in order to save lives,” Mr Gibson said.

 

“The hope is that in the development of the Broadcasters Climate and Disaster Resilience Plans their needs are met as well as ours, and that our relationships are strengthened through formal memorandums of understanding between us and the media,” He said.

 

With the memory of Cyclone Pam fresh in their minds, lead trainer Dr Kirstie Méheux from SPC was able to help the broadcasters identify gaps in their current way of responding to disaster and how they could be better prepared for future events.

 

“It is important that after a disaster we take time to reflect on our experience to identify the things that worked well and also the ways we can do things better next time. This training is a timely opportunity to capture lessons and develop strategies to learn from them,” Dr Méheux said.

 

Vanuatu Broadcasting and Television Corporation (VBTC), along with private broadcasters Capitol FM 107 and Buzz FM 96, all developed Climate and Disaster Resilience Plans during the training, followed by a simulation exercise to test the plans, identify gaps, and refine the plan.

 

Newsroom training on understanding climate and disaster management terms for journalists was held on the last two days of the week.

 

A “lessons learnt” discussion between all media, and stakeholders, including VMGD, NDMO, the Vanuatu Police Force, and local telecom services facilitated by SPREP’s Salesa Nihmei finished off the week.

 

The purpose of the meeting was to capture all the experiences from the media and the stakeholders during Cyclone Pam as a case study in order to map a way forward.  This will assist with the National Lessons Learnt Workshop to be held at the end of the month.

 

The Broadcasters Climate and Disaster Resilience Plan project is being rolled out across eight Pacific island countries including the Cook Islands, Kiribati, Palau, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Tuvalu, with Vanuatu being the sixth country to complete their training.

 

The training is being implemented by SPREP and SPC and exercises in the participating countries are due to be completed by the end of August 2015.


Media contacts: Dr Kirstie Méheux, SPC Geoscience Division,   This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Nanette Woonton, SPREP,   This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

Caption – participants from Buzz FM (Kizzy Kalsakace), Vanuatu Meteorology and Geohazards Department (Florence Iatu) and Vanuatu Police Force (Jane Pakoa) developing the Climate and Disaster Resilience Plan for Buzz FM

Last Updated on Monday, 29 June 2015 14:17  

Newsflash

President of the Republic Of Palau, His Excellency Johnson Toribiong, National Authorising Officer, Darren Fritz, Distinguished Guests, Ladies & Gentlemen

On behalf of the Director-General of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, Dr. Jimmie, Rodgers, I extend a warm welcome to all who are here to witness this occasion. This unveiling ceremony of a plaque to recognise the key stakeholders in the establishment of this National Emergency Operations Centre in Palau. The key stakeholders namely the Government and people of Palau as beneficiaries, the European Union as the development partner, and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (more commonly referred to as the SPC) as your facilitating regional organisation.

Mr President, It gives me great pleasure to be here today to participate in this important ceremony. I am accompanied by Mr Amena Yauvoli the Manager of the SPC North Pacific Regional Office, he of course is well known to many of you.

I have had the privilege over many years to 2005 to work with Palau in my capacity as Deputy Director of SOPAC, then the Pacific Islands Applied Geoscience Commission. In March 2007, I was here as a consultant for SOPAC, and my mission was to work with the Office of the Vice President and staff of the National Emergency Management Office (NEMO), to develop the implementation plan for a Project which included the construction of a National  Emergency Operations Centre. In my capacity here today as the Director of SOPAC, now the Applied Geoscience and Technology Division of the SPC, it gives me a unique pleasure to be able witness the completion of this building.