Honiara 14 September 2020 – The National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) offices in Western and Choiseul Provinces, Solomon Islands, have received two 23-foot fibreglass boats, two 60 horsepower outboard motor engines, life jackets and other safety equipment as part of the Disaster Risk Management and COVID preparedness project implemented by UNDP and generously funded by the Government of Australia.
Speaking at the hand-over ceremony, the Chair of the National Disaster Operations Committee (N-DOC) Mr Loti Yates said that the essential equipment will enable officers to effectively carry out their disaster preparedness and response activities including timely execution of their COVID-19 preparedness and response plans.
Mr Yates further stated that the boats will also help in multi-sectoral approach whenever a disaster strikes. He stated that currently, inter-island ferrying is the only mode of transport when conducting awareness programs, disaster impact assessments, recovery and other operations including COVID-19 preparedness. “These new boats will help provincial disaster officers to move around and implement their important work. I therefore sincerely thank the Australian Government and UNDP for this timely support.”
Acting Australian High Commissioner Ms Sally-Anne Vincent said the two boats are part of Australia’s long-term support to the NDMO to strengthen national and provincial efforts in disaster preparedness and response. The project will support the NDMO for the next two years in the areas of coordination, disaster preparedness, response and recovery and the provision of technical assistance. “The Disaster Management and COVID-19 Preparedness project steps up Australia’s long-term support to meet the new challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic” she said.
UNDP Solomon Islands Country Manager Mr Berdi Berdiyev reiterated the commitment to supporting the Solomon Islands Government’s disaster management and broader resilience efforts on climate change, natural hazards including COVID19 preparedness efforts.
Mr Berdiyev stated that the COVID19 crisis can only be addressed through close cooperation and coordination amongst all partners. “Today’s event is an illustration of the positive tangible results such cooperation brings,” he said.
Additionally, Mr. Berdiyev informed that through the UNDP Pacific’s Disaster Resilience for Pacific Small Islands Developing States (RESPAC) project, four laptop computers will be handed over to NDMO to equip the provincial teams engaged in the joint operation at the Solomon/ PNG Border in Shortland Islands.
In addition to the Disaster Management and COVID-19 Preparedness project, Ms Vincent noted “this support to the NDMO complements Australia’s support to the RSIPF and Ministry of Health to assist on the Western Border. I am very pleased Australia is able to support such important work through such a genuine partnership.”