Learning from past disasters to be better prepared

George Baragamu, SI NDMO Chief Operations Officer, offers guidance to the Post-Disaster Assessment Technical Working Group

The Solomon Islands has been hit by storm surges, flooding, earthquakes, the tail of Tropical Cyclone Pam and a tsunami that killed 12 people in the last 3 years. Learning from each disaster and better preparing for the next one has become critical in the Solomon Islands and the government along with key partners have recognised the need to improve post-disaster assessment processes.

An effective and efficient assessment process is the best way to address information needs post-disaster. In order to help streamline and generate best-practice collection of this critical information a team of experienced Solomon Islanders from various organisations has been established to review, identify challenges within the existing process and make clear recommendations on how to improve and standardise the system.

Director of the Solomon Islands National Disaster Management Office, Mr Loti Yates said “it is critical for the country to have accurate and timely information about the needs of affected communities following a disaster so that the right decisions can be made and the right support can be provided.”
EU Ambassador to Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, Leonidas Tezapsidis, said “Better training, planning and decision-making for natural disasters can only reduce vulnerabilities to natural calamities in the Pacific region. The EU promotes the participation of both women and men in such activities. Climate change actions in development programmes increase community resilience to natural hazards. I am happy therefore that the EU supports the BSRP project in partnership with the Pacific Community and national stakeholders”.

This Technical Working Group is now standardising post-disaster assessment forms and identifying data analysis needs in order to progress this work in 2016 across agencies with key roles in disaster response .