Solomon Islands and Vanuatu as two least developed disaster-prone countries are making strenuous effort to improve their disaster authorities on how they can more effectively institute disaster preparedness and management plannings.

A team from the Solomon Islands’ Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology (MECDM) were recently in Port Vila on an exchange program with the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department (VMGD) to deliberate on issues relating to disaster.

VMGD is Vanuatu’s recognized agency for coordinating all disaster aspects.

The team from Solomons comprises of the Director General of the MECDM, Chanel Iroi, the Director of National Disaster Management, Loti Yates, Director of Climate Change Division, Douglas Yee, Director of Meteorology David Hariasia, Disaster Information Management Specialist, John Norton and the Coordinator of the a project called CRISP, Mary Alalo.

The purpose of the visiting team was to bring together disaster colleagues in Vanuatu to network, share ideas and experiences, and grow capabilities.

Disasters are not isolated incidents but development programs that requires planning, coordination and long-term responses.

They affect people’s well-being in terms of health, environmental sustainability, gender equality, livelihoods, access to education. Disasters are taking an heavy toll on the economy of pacific island states.

The inability to cope with disasters is a common challenge every where while the smaller nations are fighting to build greater resilience to reduce risk and save lives, homes, infrastructure services as health facilities, schools and road

The Disaster Information Management Specialist, Norton, told the Daily Post that discussions have also addressed the need to review disaster policies and plannings. He pointed out that Vanuatu Government’s support to disaster is quite stronger than in Solomon Islands’ but Vanuatu’s National Disaster Management Office needs to improve.

“Vanuatu’s National Disaster Management Plan needs to be reviewed.

“The Solomon Government’s support to disaster is not strong.

“It does not have a national advisory board like Vanuatu but it is reviewing its disaster management policy. In the meantime, we are here sharing experiences and learning, and that’s positive,” he added.

The day before they left, the Solomons team presented to Vanuatu a new approach to building resilience that is underway in the Solomon Islands.

This is call the CRISP (Community Resilience to Climate Change and Disaster Risk Project).

Funded by the World Bank, CRISP has been investing in climate and disaster risk information and early warning systems as well as community projects in climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction in up to four provinces.

CRISP has a flexible structure that ensures funds satisfy communities.

It provides another modality of implementation that could be considered by the Vanuatu Government for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation micro-projects.

Following this visit, a Memorandum of Agreement (MOU) will be signed in recognition of the existing relationship between the two countries and to strengthen cooperation in areas of work, for example, exchange of personnel, specialists and researches in joint projects.

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