As we are faced with four concurrent emergency situations, namely COVID-19, the aftermath of the recent civil unrest in Honiara and the ensuing security situation, the tropical cyclone season and the seismic activity of Savo volcano, many of our national emergency and response agencies are stretching their capacities and resources, which has the potential to affect any disaster responses during this festive season.
Given the above situation the NDMO is encouraging leaders in communities that have Disaster Plans in place to work with their people and devise simple evacuation plans, develop safety messages/plans and encourage people to be always on alert and take necessary precautionary measures within their means and to listen out to media releases by appropriate authorities.
NDMO Chief of Operations Mr. George Baragamu said that there are several communities in the country who already have disaster plans in place, jointly developed with the NDMO or by Disaster Management Stakeholders such as the SI Red Cross, Oxfam, World Vision, Save the Children, ADRA and CANDO. These are simple village or community disaster plans that people can use if the need arises. Mr. Baragamu said they need to revisit existing plans and also use their local and traditional copying mechanisms to deal especially with nature induced disasters such as tropical depressions and cyclones and their associated impacts such as flooding, rough seas and strong winds.
If communities can do that, it will be of huge assistance to the NDMO and the humanitarian emergency and disaster management response agencies. Moreover, they should also inform their respective Provincial Disaster Management Offices through the provincial governments and directly to NDMO.
Such information is very important to the NDMO and its stakeholders to plan its response in a more orderly and cohesive manner. Currently the NDMO through the National Emergency Operations Center (NEOC) has at its disposal the National Emergency Response Team (NERT) and the Provincial Emergency Response Team (PERT) to dispatch to areas that may be affected by a disaster.
Meanwhile the NDMO is urging people to take precautionary measures and avoid going close to flooding rivers, hillsides and going out to the sea whilst the Heavy Rain Warning is still in place.