Preparedness Committee meets ahead of cyclone season

The Preparedness Committee held its first meeting yesterday to discuss the preparedness status of all emergency operation centers in the lead up to the 2021-2022 Cyclone Season.

Minister for Rural and Maritime Development and Disaster Management Hon. Inia Seruiratu addressed the meeting which was chaired by Permanent Secretary for RMDDM Mr. David Kolitagane.

In laying out his expectations to the Committee members, Minister Seruiratu reminded all Permanent Secretaries and heads of various Government agencies of the need to ensure that their respective Ministries and offices were prepared and ready for the looming cyclone season.

“I know that we are so used to crises as a result of disasters, but I think this pandemic has brought a lot of lessons. I’ll be having some serious discussions with the Minister for Health about what we can do post this pandemic to prepare us for the upcoming cyclone season, most importantly in the aspect of crisis management,” Minister Seruiratu said.

“An all hazards crisis management approach, rather than just focusing on the ones we are too familiar with is critical because of the unpredictability of the future and the trends that are happening. As you are aware, climate change is a big challenge as well for us and this will bring with it other forms of crisis, but we need to prepare better.”

Minister Seruiratu reminded the Committee that in order to minimise the damages and losses, there was a need to focus on prevention and preparedness.

“This is why I’m urging all of you to communicate outside these meetings and focus on preventive measures that can be put in place now and also ensure the preparedness of the various agencies, the Government and non-government machinery and our communities. This will be the focus of the National Disaster Awareness Week (NDAW).”

Minister Seruiratu said the Ministry had already conducted its operation readiness check and had also started repositioning stores and key assets to the four divisional warehouses.

He also said the Committee had a crucial role in the implementation of the National Disaster Risk Reduction Policy (NDRRP). He reiterated that the Policy was a critical document and as Committee members, they must take ownership of it.

The Minister also acknowledged the commitment shown by all frontliners involved in COVID-19 operations for the past five months.