27th September 2019
Suva, Fiji – The newly-refurbished National Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) funded by the European Union (EU) under the Building Safety and Resilience in the Pacific (BSRP) Project was opened today by the Minister of Infrastructure, Transport, Meteorology and Disaster, Mr Jone Usamate and Christoph Wagner, Head of Cooperation at the European Union Delegation for the Pacific.
As a National EOC, it will be the main coordination centre for Fiji’s responses to disasters now and into the future. Eight other district level EOCs have also been funded by the BSRP project around the country. Together they form a robust network during times of crisis.
All EOCs are furnished with latest technology and equipment to ensure that communications to all parts of Fiji are maintained in the height of disasters. The new EOC provides a dynamic working environment for the staff who are required to work long hours in the office during operations. In normal times, the EOC’s will be used for training, workshops and important stakeholders meeting aligning to disaster management and resilience.
According to the Pacific Community (SPC), the total cost of the refurbishment and fit-outs for the National EOC is FJD175,000 and the total contribution of the EU for the refurbishment of Fiji’s EOCs equals FJD 500,000.
The Acting Director of the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO), Ms. Litiana Bainimarama, observes that the NEOC will play a significant role in the enhancement of emergency and disaster operations, quickening the response and recovery actions for the affected communities.
Ms. Litiana Bainimarama, Acting Director NDMO said, “the refurbished NEOC will enhance the NDMO’s operation during emergency and disaster operations hence fasten the response and recovery action for the affected communities. Also, the national EOC provides a dynamic working environment for the staff who are required to work long hours in the office during operations”.
Speaking at the opening, Speaking at the opening, the Head of Cooperation at the EU Delegation for the Pacific Christoph Wagner said, ”the important role of communications before, during and after disaster is critical to ensuring the reduction of the loss of life and impact disasters cause on the people of the Pacific and this work is testament to strengthening resilience in the face of great challenges. This work is commendable and a very well-followed lesson from the most recent disaster in Fiji.”
The BSRP Project Manager, Mr. Nakalevu, notes that the Fiji EOC upgrades have been followed up with enhancing the knowledge and skills of NDMO staff. It is a process that is collaboratively approached by the SPC Disaster Community Resilience Programme which has developed a training module specifically on working in the EOC. This has been rolled out under the BSRP project in the four divisions: North, East, West and Central. The training gives the opportunity for NDMO and other government staff to simulate real life situations during a disaster, especially addressing the issue of information management. More than 300 participants have been trained so far across Fiji. The total cost of training these individuals was FJD 70,000.
The training on WEOC will now be rolled out across the Pacific Countries where selected individuals will be trained to train their own people. The first training for the Melanesia Group of countries will be held in March at Nadi, followed by Micronesia in FSM and Polynesia in Auckland in April this year.
The Pacific Community’s Director of the Geoscience, Energy and Maritime (GEM) Division, Dr Andrew Jones commended the technical approach to this work.
He stated that this is the last upgrade and refurbishment action to be undertaken by the project and for that we are very grateful. We have also funded the refurbishment of the district-based emergency operations centres in Nadi, Lautoka, Tavua, Nausori, Korovou, Vunidawa Bua and Nabouwalu.
About the Building Safety and Resilience Project: The Africa Caribbean Pacific (ACP)-European Union (EU) project called Building Safety and Resilience in the Pacific project (BSRP) is a €19.37 million project funded by the EU and implemented by the Pacific Community (SPC). Its objective is to reduce the vulnerability, as well as the social, economic and environmental costs, of disasters caused by natural hazards, thereby achieving regional and national sustainable development and poverty alleviation in ACP Pacific Island states.
Ruben Vulawalu, BSRP Communications/Graphics Officer, [email protected]