Today’s global challenges continue to grow. We currently have five ongoing emergencies ranked at the highest level of operational complexity and urgency in Iraq, Nigeria, South Sudan, in the Syria region and Yemen. While the majority of these are conflict emergencies, the frequency of natural disasters is also on the rise – with Cyclone Winston hitting Fiji in February 2016 and Hurricane Matthew striking Haiti last October. The need to strengthen preparedness and resilience is becoming more and more critical.
For the very first time, the Emergency Telecommunications Cluster (ETC) has been officially activated to support emergency preparedness activities. The request for activation and inclusion of the ETC in the list of Pacific Humanitarian Team clusters was endorsed by the Emergency Relief Coordinator on 30 November, with the World Food Programme (WFP) as nominated lead.