Boosting Solomon Islands Government’s disaster response capability

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Honiara, Solomon Islands (13 August 2021) – Australia, in partnership with UNDP and the National Disaster Management Office, has strengthened the capacity of Provincial Disaster Management Offices in Central, Makira and Temotu to respond to crisis situations.  Three new additional Yamaha 23-foot boats, 60 horsepower Yamaha engines and stationery items were provided to support disaster preparedness and response operations in Central, Makira and Temotu provinces.

When disasters occur, Provincial Disaster Management Offices (PDMOs) work closely with communities to support early assessments and coordinate responses. Resourcing the PDMOs and their respective Emergency Operation Centres (EOCs) is part and parcel of the broader rollout of the National Disaster Management Plan 2018 and will strengthen the preparedness efforts of provinces.

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Mr Melchior Mataki, Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology, expressed his gratitude for UNDP’s and Australia’s strong support over the years, “The National Disaster Management Office is very grateful for the partnership it has with UNDP and DFAT, which has allowed us to address a number of critical areas in terms of our capacity to prepare and respond to emergency events and disasters including the logistic capability of PDMOs to support provincial governments in the implementation of disaster risk management operations in the provinces.”

The EOCs provide a hub for coordination and planning for provincial sectors and have basic resources to function. They are expected to have adequate infrastructure, systems, structures, and processes to assist provincial and community level preparedness, response, and recovery. This has been challenging due to the lack of resources for Disaster Risk Management at the provincial level.

The handover, which took place in Honiara on August 13, is in addition to two boats and engines provided in October of 2020 to Choiseul and Western Provinces.  In connection to the purchase of boats and engines, four members of the National Emergency Operations Team (NERT) were also trained in basic boat maintenance provided by YSato Marine in early August.

In handing over the boats, the Australian High Commissioner, Dr Lachlan Strahan, noted the important role provincial disaster offices have in supporting communities to prepare for and respond to disasters. “I have recently visited the three provinces where these boats will be deployed to.  In each case, the Provincial Disaster Management Offices provide an essential service to communities often separated by significant distance.  Australia is so pleased to be part of this strong partnership to step up national and provincial disaster preparedness and response.”

Echoing the same sentiments, UNDP Solomon Islands Country Manager, Mr Berdi Berdiyev, reiterated the commitment to supporting the Solomon Islands Government’s disaster response capability and broader resilience efforts on climate change, natural disasters, including recent volcanic activity on Savo island  and COVID-19 preparedness efforts.

Mr Berdiyev emphasized that “through coordination and ongoing support from all development partners, the Government has a robust plan for responding to natural disasters.”

He further added, “UNDP will continue to work alongside Solomon Islands Government and international partners to support the government’s ability to understand, communicate and reduce risk, while effectively managing the risk that remains.”

This initiative is part of the Disaster Risk Management (DRM) project with the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) and Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology (MECDM) as principal partners implemented by the UN Development Programme with financial support from the Australian Government.

About UNDP

UNDP is the leading United Nations organization fighting to end the injustice of poverty, inequality, and climate change. Working with our broad network of experts and partners in 170 countries, we help nations to build integrated, lasting solutions for people and planet.

Learn more at undp.org or follow us at @UNDP/ @UNDP_Solomons.

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