Suva, Fiji – The National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) in Fiji received a donation of 12 laptops from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Disaster Resilience for Pacific Small Island Developing States (RESPAC) project to assist in their efforts to effectively communicate to all stakeholders whilst coordinating preparedness and response for the Coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19).
The laptops were presented to the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Infrastructure, Transport, Disaster Management and Meteorology, Taitusi Vakadravuyaca by the UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji Resident Representative, Levan Bouadze.
“This is such a crucial time and this assistance from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Disaster Resilience for Pacific Island Developing States (RESPAC) project will allow our officers to stay connected to our operations especially during this fight against COVID-19 in Fiji,” said the NDMO Director, Vasiti Soko.
“NDMO officials will be required to work from home or in isolation as we are also practicing social distancing. This will boost our work output, allow us to meet the demands of operations and stay connected with our stakeholders as they reach out to create awareness in the rural and maritime communities,” the Director added.
Soko thanked UNDP for its continued support in the areas of building capacity of regional and national partners to understand and effectively address the consequences of and responses to climate related hazards.
“We do not know how and where NDMO will need to work to be able to coordinate the preparedness and response to this COVID-19 crisis. It may be from the office, from home, or from an alternate Emergency Operations Centre,” said RESPAC Programme Manager and UNDP DRM Advisor, Noud Leenders.
“This preparedness measure ensures that all the critical staff of NDMO are able to operate continuously from anywhere and at any time to support the most vulnerable.”
Leenders added given the nature of the work of National Disaster officers, it is essential they are able to be mobile, strengthening its functional capability during this crisis.
UNDP is a key partner of the NDMO in Fiji, National Disaster Management Offices in the Pacific and local governments. UNDP is committed to enhance capabilities in early warning systems, disaster
preparedness, post-disaster recovery planning, strengthening capacity to conduct Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) and Disaster Risk Framework (DRF) training. This is in line with the broader agenda of improving institutional arrangements to inform effective disaster recovery processes, reduce risks and promote resilient development.
The RESPAC project works in 15 pacific countries, working in the areas of preparedness, mitigation, early recovery and full-scale disaster assessments. Drawing in on its vast experience in crisis situations, RESPAC helped Fiji recover in the aftermath of Tropical Cyclone Winston, utlising the Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) and Disaster Recovery Framework (DRF). In addition, RESPAC developed the early recovery plan for Solomon Islands after the Makira Earthquake, a DRF was also developed to assist Tonga after Tropical Cyclone Gita to help the country get back on the road to development, to build back better, reducing disaster risk and strengthening resilience.
“In Fiji of course, we try to work in this space and to ensure that RESPAC supports the most vulnerable in any way we can,” said Leenders.
The RESPAC project funded by the Russian Federation overall objective is to improve capacity of Pacific Small Island Developing States focused on three components, Strengthened early warning systems and climate monitoring capacity in selected PICS; Preparedness and planning mechanisms and tools to manage disaster recovery processes strengthened at regional, national and local level; and Increased use of financial instruments to manage and share disaster related risk and fund post disaster recovery efforts.
The NDMO mission is to coordinate and manage risks during disasters with an ultimate aim to reduce mortality in Fiji.
For more information, please contact:
Rusiate Baleilevuka, NDMO Senior Administrative Officer Media, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Andrea Waqa-Montu, RESPAC Communications Specialist, Email: email@example.com