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New boats to boost disaster operations

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Disaster operations in the four divisions will be enhanced with the provision of six new boats donated by the Japanese Government through the Japanese International Cooperation System (JICS).

The boats are in addition to other machineries worth $5.8million donated to the Ministry of Rural and Maritime Development and Disaster Management by the Japanese government under an Agent Agreement signed with JICS in 2017, focusing on the restoration of basic needs and livelihoods to communities affected by natural disasters.

While officiating at the event, Minister for Rural and Maritime Development and Disaster Management Hon. Inia Seruiratu said the handover of the six boats was timely considering that we were only two months away from the new cyclone season.

“The six boats and engine donated to the Ministry of Rural and Maritime Development and Disaster Management today will enable us as first responders to attend to remote communities impacted by natural disasters in an efficient manner,” Hon. Seruiratu said.

“In the aftermath of a natural disaster, key information on initial damage assessment is crucial in mapping out Government’s immediate response. These boats will allow our officers in the four divisions to travel quickly to where the need is greatest following a disaster.”

He added that the boats would enhance the existing pool of strategic assets already available within Government to be utilised for disaster operations around the country.

“Transportation is also one of the critical enablers for providing services. And that is why this is an exciting day for us all because the provision of these new boats will not only be useful during disaster operations in the divisions, most importantly, these boats will also assist our officers to continue to maintain ‘connectivity’ and deliver Government services to Fijians in remote rural and maritime communities.”