Kiribati is divided into 3 island groups – Line, Phoenix, and Gilbert groups. In total, there are 23 islands and 16 of them are inhabited. The Line and Phoenix island groups are very remote and have higher risks to tsunami impacts and drought. To mitigate disaster risks at the community level, the 2012 National Disaster Plan made it mandatory for all island communities to have an Island Disaster Committee.
To support their establishment of all IDC’s across the islands, the Kiribati government enlisted the support of the EU-ACP Funded BSRP Project. The project, implemented by the Pacific Community, work with the National Disaster Management office to organise workshops and trainings to prepare IDC’s for future disasters.
To date, there have been five IDC’s that have been established in Abaiang, Onotoa, Tamana, Arorae and North Tarawa islands. The IDC workshop teaches committee members about early warning systems, how to prepare their communities for a disaster, which communication channels to use during a disaster and how national disaster management plans are implemented. The workshop equips committee members with the right information and tools to help them organise their own communities in times of a disaster. The committee members also play a vital role in increasing community disaster awareness. They will be going into their communities and teaching them what they learnt from the workshop.
Having a framework that clearly demarcates the roles and responsibilities of key people in the community will allow for smooth coordination at a community and national level during a disaster. The IDC aren’t only activated during a disaster, throughout the year, they work within their communities to mitigate climate change related risks.