Vanuatu Red Cross Society (VRCS) Santo recently presented key findings from its Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices (KAP) Survey to a group of Government and NGO representatives in the Luganville Municipal Council (LMC) Chamber.
According to VRCS Santo, the aim of the KAP survey was to study and analyze the data collected to measure current knowledge, attitudes and practices towards disaster preparedness among people and households in targeted communities within Luganville.
While this extensive and significant report is still in its draft phase, preliminary findings have highlighted some disturbing facts that show the vulnerability index for Luganville is very high. Some key findings include the following:
• Only a third (36%) of household buildings are constructed using heavy and durable quality materials,
• three quarters (73%) of households receive less than Vt30,000 a month,
• women have lower knowledge of disaster than men,
• one third (36%) know the necessary actions/preparedness measures associated with a ‘red alert’ Cyclone warning even though 87% know what a ‘red alert’ means
• less than half (46%) feel that they are well aware of their own preparation for a disaster.
Some recommendations provided in the report include:
• Engagement of more women in the awareness level raising for disaster risk and preparedness as well as disaster management processes at the local level, especially in risks assessment and planning.
• Developing plans of action targeting areas considered vulnerable in terms of knowledge, exposure to enhance their level of knowledge of disaster risks, preparation and courses of action.
• Encouragement of households to have alternative sources of water.
• Increase the knowledge of cyclone alerts by emphasizing the relevant and appropriate actions associated with the different warning levels.
• Capitalizing on other disaster related activities and responses provided by other partners in government and NGOs to ensure coherent and consistent efforts coordination.
• Increasing the knowledge of earthquake preparedness to address the lack of knowledge in this particular disaster.
One of the key presenters from VRCS Santo, shared with Daily Post, “USAID/OFDA provided GDPC-American Red Cross, a technical reference centre of the International Federation of Red Cross (IFRC), to pilot this particular project. This same project is being piloted in two urban centers in Indonesia and another one is about to be launched in an urban center in Myanmar. Traditionally Red Cross has worked in rural areas, however the Red Cross/Red Crescent has begun to recognize the vulnerability of urban areas due to urban migration and climate change etc hence the initiative to pilot a project to cater for resilience in urban areas. Once all the tools are tested out these particular tools will then be promoted in other urban cities around the world. This project is collecting data from a very large urban city, medium sized urban cities and Luganville to test the suitability of the tools before promoting it out to urban centers throughout the world. We are very privileged to be part of this project”.
Another significant spinoff from this project, was the engagement of a local ni-Vanuatu consultant company, Henge Consultancy, to analyze and consolidate data collected. VRCS Santo is proud to build capacity by utilizing local talent instead of awarding this contract to international firms.
LMC Deputy Mayor, Renata Netaf, responded positively and commented after the presentation stating, “I’m really grateful for this data that VRCS has provided. It is very useful for planning purposes that LMC has access to this type of data. I believe that we need to employ a Focal Person at LMC to be responsible for coordinating this information because it needs to be centralizes so it can be quickly accessed to everyone in times of disaster. We need a more coordinated approach between government and NGOs”.
She added, “I’ve really enjoyed this information sharing session provided to us by VRCS. Just as common courtesy we as the local government want NGOs to present their yearly plans, accompanied with the relevant government department they are aligned to. This will ensure that we can have sustainability of the significant work initiated by the project as we continue to work with the relevant Government Department when the funding timeframe of the project is completed.”