Suva, Fiji – Disaster response in Fiji is expected to be strengthened, with the opening of two newly-refurbished Emergency Operations Centres (EOC) funded by the European Union under the ACP-EU Building Safety and Resilience in the Pacific (BSRP) project and implemented by the Pacific Community (SPC).
These are among nine emergency operations centres refurbished across Fiji in the past 13 months to increase disaster preparedness and communications before, during, and after a disaster.
Both the EOCs were officially opened by the assistant minister for Rural and Maritime Development, Mr Jale Sigarara.
In Nausori, the Central Divisional Emergency Operations Centre was opened following a renovation cost of $27, 600. The Korovou District Emergency Operations Centre in Korovou, Tailevu, was refurbished at a total cost of $36,600
Mr Sigarara indicated that the refurbished EOCs would ensure disaster response operations are not disrupted when activated during an emergency.
He said it would ensure increase communication within the district.
With a population of about 400,00 in the Central Division, Mr Sigarara said the new office in Nausori would further enhance Fiji’s efforts in building resilient people in the district and also strengthen disaster preparedness and management.
The Korovou EOC, which was also installed with state-of-the-art equipment like the rest of the EOCs set up around the country, will serve the urban and rural populace in and around Korovou Town.
“We also acknowledge the assistance from the European Union and the partnership with the Pacific Community which has made possible the upgrading of our Emergency Operation Centres across the country,” he said.
Speaking at the opening, the Team Leader for Climate Change, Energy, and Circular Economy at the EU Delegation for the Pacific Adrian Nicole 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 Pacific Community’s Director of the Geoscience, Energy and Maritime (GEM) Division, Dr Andrew Jones commended the technical approach to this work.
He said “the need for increased communication was identified by Fiji as a priority after the devastation of Cyclone Winston through detailed consultations and country-wide lessons learned research
“This work now ensures divisions are able to both engage locally and communicate with the National Disaster Management team to increase coordination in times of crisis and provide robust data and information in such times,” Dr Jones said.
Other EOC refurbishments funded by the EU include the Lautoka Planning Cell, Nadi District EOC, Tavua District EOC, Lautoka/Yasawa District EOC, Nausori Divisional EOC and its new equipment, Vunidawa District EOC and Nabouwalu District in the Northern Division.