Following the cancellation of Tropical Cyclone Rita (Cat 3) for Temotu Province, the National Disaster Management Office in Honiara is currently supporting the Provincial Disaster Management Office in Lata in preparing the Initial Damaged Assessment Team to do Initial Damage Assessments in areas likely to have been mostly affected by the cyclone.
The areas include the remote islands of Anuta and Tikopia with Anuta being the closest to the proximity of the system as it moves Southwest of Temotu. Information coming in from affected areas indicates disaster impacts on the Islands, however, information to the NEOC Honiara and PEOC Lata remains sketchy as communication to the affected areas are limited.
However based on previous reports from cyclones taking the same path in the recent past has put the people of Anuta and Tikopia as immediate victims of hazards associated with gale force winds, storm surges and continuous heavy rainfall. Structural damages to buildings and other properties is also an element at risk. In the area of livelihood and food security, food gardens would have been affected by flooding and soil erosion from the direct result of continuous rainfall.
Another sector that could potentially be affected is the education sector through disruption of classes which could mean students missing out on end of year exams. While in the health sector likely impacts will be on injuries sustained as a result of gale force winds and storm surges. Based on previous experience there is also the possibility of post cyclone risks on outbreak of diseases.
Given the current status of cyclone Rita, the National Emergency Operation Centre (NEOC) has been activated to Activation Mode Level 1, While Provincial Emergency Operation Centre (PEOC) has taken a step further to Level 2. In the meantime all seven of NEOC’s function teams have been activated to provide support to PEOC in Lata and the N-DOC while maintaining contact with a key informants in Tikopia who also relayed information from Anuta. N-DOC committee chairs are also kept in loop to advice on further responses should the need arise. “What to do information” is a key area that is being maintained to allow affected communities know what action to take in such situations.
The Temotu Provincial Government through the Provincial Disaster Management Office is leading the response and will deploy its IDA team to conduct impact assessments and emergency humanitarian relief. The Provincial based Red Cross and World Vision Branches in Lata, Temotu, provide the relief supplies.
GAPS AND ISSUES
Gaps currently facing NEOC and PEOC is maintaining effective communication to the remote island of Anuta and the engagement of external actors and humanitarian agencies of the relevant N-DOC sector committees.
Given the above scenario P-DOC Temotu is to deploy and assessment team to do an Initial Damage Assessment (IDA) on Anuta, Tikopia, Utupua and the Reef Islands. The IDA report will form the basis for a proper response form SIG to the various sectors that need assistance.
The SIG, TPG, Red Cross and World Vision is jointly supporting the response through the PDMO Temotu.