Disaster Risk Reduction Efforts To Benefit Tens Of Thousands Of Residents In Vanuatu
PORT VILA, January 29 2013 --- The World Bank and the Government of Vanuatu last week launched two programs to address climate change and disaster risk management in Vanuatu, to benefit more than 10,000 farmers, over 100 rural communities as well as the 57,000 residents of Port Vila and Luganville. At a ceremony in Port Vila, the projects were launched by the Hon. Minister of Civil Aviation, Samson Samsen and Juan Carlos Mendoza, Operations Manager for the World Bank in the Pacific Islands .
Vanuatu is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change and natural hazards in the world, with a high frequency of disaster events, such as cyclones, flooding, earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions. Climate change is likely to exacerbate the effects of natural disasters, causing more extreme weather patterns, rising sea levels, and changes in agricultural productivity and water availability.
The Increasing Resilience to Climate Change and Natural Hazards and Mainstreaming Disaster Risk Reduction Projects aim to reduce the impacts from natural disasters and climate change, with measures to increase community resilience to extreme weather conditions and develop effective warning and response systems.
“Especially in Pacific Island Countries, climate change and natural disasters too often have a devastating impact on people's lives. These projects are designed to help government and communities manage these pressing challenges,"said Juan Carlos Mendoza from the World Bank.
Under the projects, disaster risk management programs will benefit around 35 different communities of between 4000 to 6000 residents, and will help 10,000 farmers to increase the climate resilience of agricultural crops and technologies. The installation of 300 rainwater catchment and storage systems will deliver safer drinking water to about 6000 residents of 120 rural communities. A tsunami warning system will also be installed for Port Vila and Luganville and national hazard response systems will be strengthened.
Jotham Napat, Director of the Vanuatu Meteorological and Geohazard Department said that both urban and rural residents face specific vulnerabilities to climate change and natural hazards. “The projects will help reduce risk and protect communities in the face of extreme weather events, so as to help save lives and livelihoods.”
The Increasing Resilience to Climate Change and Natural Hazards project will be managed by Vanuatu’s Meteorological and Geohazard Department. It is supported by a US $11.52 million grant co-funded by the Global Environment Facility and the European Union (EU). The EU contributes US $3 million through the ACP-EU Natural Disaster Risk Reduction Program (managed by the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery), and US $3 million through the Global Climate Change Alliance.
The US $3 million Mainstreaming Disaster Risk Reduction Project will be implemented by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Public Utilities and has been funded by the Government of Japan through the Policy and Human Resource Development Trust Fund.