EU Funds Provincial Emergency Operation Centres in Solomon Islands
The new Western Province Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) was officially opened at Gizo on Friday 18 October 2013. Construction of the new EOC was made possible through funding from the European Union under the Disaster Risk Reduction Project (B-Envelope) implemented by the Applied Geoscience & Technology Division, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) based in Fiji.
In opening the building, Provincial Secretary and Acting Premier, Adrian Tony, stated that the Western Province is very much grateful for the assistance from the European Union in strengthening disaster management and the Provincial Government will ensure that the new EOC will be properly maintained to improve administration and coordination of disaster management.
He also stated that Western Province has recently experienced natural disasters with the recent tsunami that caused loss to property and human life and that the new Emergency Operation Centre will improve preparedness and reduce the risk to disasters.
The representative from SPC, George Beck, stated that Gizo is vulnerable to multi-hazards and the new EOC will provide a dedicated building from which to coordinate response to disasters as well as carry out their day-to-day operations.
He further stated that communities are already experiencing impacts to climate change and SPC is also working closely with the national Government to address important areas in policy and planning to reduce the risks to disasters.
The Head of Delegation of the European Union in Solomon Islands, Mr. Eoghan Walsh, stated that the focus of this project is to build resilient communities and the new EOC’s will improve preparedness. The EU is also supporting Pacific Island countries strengthen disaster management and climate change through a new project totalling Euro 20 million that has recently commenced with SPC as the implementing agency.
The Solomon Islands stand to benefit from this new project to build on the support provided through the current disaster reduction project in addressing vulnerability and priority areas in climate change. With the funding available from the European Union through this project Emergency Operation Centres were also constructed at Lata (Temotu Province) and Kirakira (Makira/Ulawa Province).
The National Disaster Management Office has also benefited from training in disaster management. A total of Euro 550,000 was allocated to addressing disaster management in Solomon Islands.