SPC Geoscience Division


Lessons learned from Winston

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30 May 2016, Labasa

TC-WinstonThe devastation Tropical Cyclone Winston unleashed on Fiji is still a reality for many across the country.

To explore how Fiji’s National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) responded, and what could be improved upon for next time, a series of Lessons Learned Workshops will be held over the next four weeks, beginning in the Northern Division of Fiji today.

Parts of the Northern Division of the country were badly affected, with many communities in the direct path of Cyclone Winston, the strongest recorded cyclone in the Southern Hemisphere struck land on 20 February.

The Lessons Learned Workshops are funded by the €19.37 million (FJD 45 million) ACP-European Union Building Safety and Resilience in the Pacific Project implemented by the Pacific Community (SPC).

This workshop is the first in a series of six planned across the country that will culminate with a national lessons learned workshop.


The teams responsible within the NDMO for preparation, response and recovery will all be participating in the workshops, along with the Mata-ni-Tikina (community representatives), United Nations agencies, non-government organisations and community members affected by the devastation of Cyclone Winston.
The European Union Ambassador to the Pacific, H.E. Andrew Jacobs, commends the NDMO and its Director for their dedication to improving disaster resilience and preparedness in Fiji.

“The European Union is committed to supporting Fiji recover from the impact of cyclone Winston. We also recognise the dedicated response by the NDMO team and the EU supports the improvement of response and the preparedness of communities for future natural disasters,” he said.

The NDMO Director, Akapusi Tuifagalele, said the partnership from both the EU and SPC is helping ensure the country can respond to future disasters in an even more coordinated way.

“We are being extensive in understanding where we did well and how we can do better for the communities of Fiji,” Mr Tuifagalele said.

SPC’s Project Manager for BSRP, Taito Nakalevu, said this work, along with previous lessons learned workshops in Vanuatu after Cyclone Pam, will form a benchmark for how the Pacific can respond better to disasters in the future.

Press event details:        Labasa Civic Centre, Fiji
Date:                                Monday 30 May 2016                       
Time:                                9:00am – 10:00am (interviews available)

Lessons Learned Workshop Schedule:

Northern (Labasa) 30 May
Western 2-3rd June
Central Suva – early June
Headquarters – early June
Eastern Division – early June
National Workshop – TBC (late June)

Media contacts:
Lisa Kingbserry, Communications and Media Officer ACP-EU BSRP Project +679 9252 849 [Appeler : +679 9252 849] This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Litiana Bainimarama,  Training, Education and Awareness Officer, NDMO Fiji +679 9238 825 [Appeler : +679 9238 825]
Kasim Mohammed Nazeem, Press Information Officer, European Union +679 8672 255 [Appeler : +679 8672 255] This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Background information

The ACP-EU Building Safety and Resilience in the Pacific project (BSRP) is a €19.37 million project funded by the European Union and implemented by the Pacific Community (SPC).  The objective of the project is to reduce the vulnerability, as well as the social, economic and environmental costs of disasters caused by natural hazards, thereby achieving regional and national sustainable development and poverty alleviation in ACP Pacific Island States. ACP refers to Africa, Caribbean and Pacific.

Last Updated on Thursday, 16 June 2016 16:31  


Kia Orana and Salutations:

Delegates representing Members of the SPC
Director General of the SPC, Dr Jimmie Rodgers
Director of the SOPAC Division, Dr Russell Howorth
Members of the STAR scientific and technical network
Representatives of partner and donor organisations
SPC Staff

I must say from the outset that Noumea occupies a special place in my heart and it’s a great pleasure to return to be among friends from around the region, and to be a guest of Director General Dr. Jimmie Rodgers.  

The only down-side is that this visit has to be a very brief one as I must return home to Parliamentary duties.  But it’s great to be back and to be included in this week’s organised gatherings of esteemed representatives from around the Pacific and beyond.

Following the STAR Network Meeting address yesterday, my pleasure doubles this morning in providing a few welcome remarks and a short Outgoing Chair's Address for this opening plenary session of the Second Meeting of the SPC Applied Geoscience and Technology Division – more commonly referred to – as SOPAC.

It is pleasing to welcome delegates representing most of the SPC Members here today. I also extend a welcome to all those delegates representing partners and donors that provide the support, including financial resources for the Division to carry out its extensive work programme.  In particular, I recognise the Chair of STAR, Professor John Collen and his colleagues from the Science, Technology and Resources (STAR) Network.  

Thank you for the privilege of addressing the STAR Meeting last evening.  I’ve noted that some 40 scientific and technical papers were presented over the course of the 2-day meeting.  

Likewise Professor Gary Greene, Chair of the Programme Monitoring and Evaluation Group (PMEG), who are drawn from the STAR Network to provide for Members the invaluable independent annual ongoing overview of the Division and its work.

I am aware you have been carrying out your monitoring and evaluation over the past week with staff at the Division Offices in Suva and here in Noumea amongst the Members.  On behalf of the Members, I extend to your team our sincere appreciation.