The first Provincial Emergency Response Team (PERT) Induction Training conducted by National Emergency Operation Centre (NEOC) of the Solomon Islands National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) has successfully concluded last week, Friday, 30th October at Nila station in the Shortland Islands, Western Province.
A total of 22 participants (Western – 14 and Choiseul – 8) were awarded their certificates upon completion of a week-long intensive training.
They are now qualified and competent to assist with coordination of response when disaster situations arise in Choiseul and Western Province. Participants are mostly from provincial sector committees of the Provincial Disaster Operations Committees (P-DOC).
A statement from National Disaster Council (NDC) said this training is part of capacity and capability development to provinces in terms of disaster management.
“The aim is to allow provinces as first responders to have the necessary capability to coordinate and manage COVID-19 including future disasters affecting their provinces.”
“Also these provinces were first chosen given the urgency to manage potential risk of COVID-19 cases at the PNG/ Solomon Islands border and the frequent border crossings between citizens of both countries.
NDC further explains that it is a direct implementation by the National Disaster Operations Committee (N-DOC) of the COVID-19 Oversight Committee decision to urgently establish an SIG joint operations centre at the PNG/SI border to ensure a harmonized and coordinated government effort under the whole of government response.
“This pilot PERT training covers selected topics from the National Emergency Response Team (NERT) curriculum and is tailored to capture the important components of multi- sectoral coordination of COVID-19 response activities at the provincial level focusing on the national border.”
“The NERT curriculum is based on a global best practice of Onsite Operations Coordination Centre (OSOCC) which brings together principles of disaster management and humanitarian action,” said NDC in the statement.
The participants were introduced to the historic evolution of NERT, NEOC/ PEOC/PERT overall Disaster Management Structure and the SIG COVID-19 Coordination Arrangement.
Furthermore, contents of the sessions covered topics: Basic elements of Coordination and Assessment Methodology, Command Control vs Consensus, Importance of Personal Preparedness, Plan of Action, Establishment and Management of OSOCC for COVID-19 and Security Elements, Reception/Departure Centre, IM and Daily Reporting, Communications Equipment, Situational Analysis, Civil/Military Concept, Role of Liaison officers, Dealing with Media/Social Media, Understanding Minimum Humanitarian standards on localized setting, Environmental factors during response, Solomon Islands Medical Assistance Team (SOLMAT) linkage to PERT and Kobo Online Assessment Tools and how to read maps.
From theory sessions, the training involve practical hands-on activities.
The training and OSOCC establishment is funded by the Australian Government through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
UNDP Solomon Islands Country Manager, Berdi Berdiyev and Australian High Commission Second Secretary Aid Finance & Humanitarian, Heather Randall and Assistant Program Manager, Heyer Vavozo, also flew-in on the third day of the training to witness firsthand the training.
Also the next day, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry Police, National Security and Correctional Services (CSSI), Karen Qalokale and Assistant Commissioner, Simpson Pogeava paid a visit and briefed the participants about their response operations at the border and commencement of Lofung Border Station project.
NEOC was pleased that the participants were enthusiastic and keen to learn about disaster management and OSOCC operation.
Chief Operations Officer, George Baragamu, outlined main outcome of this training is for Choiseul and Western Provinces to deploy personnel on rotational basis to manage the OSOCC at Nila.
He also thanked donors for their timely support to have the OSOCC up and running.
UNDP Technical Adviser for NDMO, Vini Talai, said that the training provided the opportunity to connect the disaster management structure of Solomon Islands down to provincial and community level.
She added that the role of community-based governance structures is critical in maintaining resilience during the aftermath of a sudden onset or complex events such as COVID-19 and therefore it was worthwhile to have community representation in the training as well.
“UNDP is committed to support NDMO and Solomon Islands Government at the operational and policy levels to address COVID-19 and other disasters,” Ms Talai said.
Nila OSOCC will be manned as of next week by the newly trained PERT members and other supporting government agencies like Customs, Biosecurity, Immigration, Health, Livelihood, Education and Government Communications.