SUVA – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) officially handed over two high frequency (HF) radio packs to the Fiji Ministry of Rural and Maritime Development and National Disaster Management in Suva on 1 February 2017. The HF back packs will be used by the Fiji National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) for their operations. The handover is part of WFP’s ongoing efforts to strengthen emergency communication systems in Fiji, in its role as lead of the Pacific Emergency Telecommunications Cluster (ETC).
The HF radio backpacks are a rugged, portable all-in-one system for long distance communications over an independent voice network.
“In a disaster situation when “normal” communication systems may become unavailable it’s vital to have alternative communication options for coordination,” said Salma Farouque, WFP Pacific Emergency Telecommunications Coordinator. “This handover marks another milestone in the collaboration between WFP and the Fiji NDMO to revitalise their HF radio communications network.”
“Since the establishment of its regional office in Fiji recently, the World Food Programme has continually engaged with the NDMO to upgrade the dilapidated state of emergency communications in the Ministry,” said Assistant Minister for Agriculture, Rural Maritime Development & National Disaster Management, Hon. Joeli Cawaki. “This engagement is important as communication is a vital component of emergency response operations.”
He went on to thank WFP for upgrading ten sites, including NDMO headquarters last year, and said the ministry would like WFP to continue its upgrade initiatives in collaboration with the NDMO. “Your assistance is timely as Fiji prepares for future disaster events, and especially during this current cyclone season,” Cawaki added.
WFP’s Head of Office, Peter French, commended the Ministry and NDMO on their work. “The WFP is pleased to be a part of Fiji’s emergency communications upgrade and looks forward to providing further practical assistance as we work with the Government towards strengthening the country’s preparedness capabilities.”
In line with its global mandate and obligations as the head of the humanitarian clusters for emergency logistics, telecommunications and food security, WFP established a technical presence in the Pacific in late 2015 to assist regional governments with their emergency preparedness measures, and to enhance their capacity to assist people in need.
This support is coordinated through WFP’s office in Fiji. The regional programme focuses on assisting five priority Pacific Island nations, Fiji, Samoa, Vanuatu, Tonga and the Solomon Islands, as well as potential support in Northern Pacific Island States.
WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. Each year, WFP assists some 80 million people in around 80 countries.
Follow us on Twitter @wfp_media | @wfp_asia | @ITresponse
For more information please contact (email address: email@example.com):
Sanya Ruggiero, WFP/Fiji, Tel. +679 8666 445, firstname.lastname@example.org
Penioni Kuinikoro, NDMO, Tel. +679 7666 415, email@example.com