Annual International Training on Natural Disasters Management 18th June – 6th July 2018

18th June – 6th July 2018 – Ms Fetalai Gagaeolo (Disaster Management Officer) had represented the Ministry to the Annual International Training on Natural Disasters Management, held in Thailand.  The objective of the training is to enhance knowledge on natural disaster and risk management, to understand how to create network among stakeholders in natural disaster preparedness and awareness in their countries, to be able to develop relevant plans and policies to improve effectiveness of natural disaster and risk management of respective countries, and to learn from Thailand’s experiences in the application of community-based natural disaster management in situations like earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, landslides and sink holes both before and after the event.

From the Trainings, she as able to learn about good management and coordination- very crucial in Disaster Risk Management e.g. unity (one command) and flexibility (expand and change). Communication and operations won’t make any sense at all if there is no/poor coordination (DMO-and response agencies/first responders). SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) are very important in NEOC-personnel to be well-versed with SOPs etc-Need to have SOPs for different NEOC functions. NEOC-Operations is always a top-down approach, it was and will never be a bottom-up approach. Money is needed to implement Risk Reduction activities so that less money is spent on Response. A multi-hazard warning center can only be successful if the warnings it produces reach individuals at risk and are easy to understand, resulting in appropriate responses. Community connections are the relationships necessary to develop, implement and maintain an effective end to end early warning system. Meteorology Services and Disaster Management offices to be working together. Having a great understanding and knowledge on the science of hazards .i.e causes etc…is very crucial especially for DMO personnel e.g.  What causes cyclones, movement of plates, etc.

Disasters wouldn’t know who you are!! Need to be well prepared, and also to anticipate disasters that could strike at any time.

She had also learnt a new definition of “Disaster”: It is a consequence of our Inability in Managing Disasters.

But how will the Ministry and Samoa benefit from this training? Ms Fetalai had shared that knowledge Management is very critical in building community disaster resilience. Samoa needs more DRM awareness at all levels (community, sector and national) at the preparedness/prevention phases. The proper monitoring and evaluation of all community disaster preparedness projects also contributes to building resilience within their communities.

There’s a crucial need for continuous effective coordination of programmes at the preparedness phase of DRM between DMO, Ministry of Police, FESA, MOH, MFAT, MOF to ensure that HADR SOPs are revised and well versed for transparent and effective communication and operation at the response phase.

She had also emphasized the importance of DMO and Meteorology Division to effectively work together as it is very crucial for community preparedness. Understanding the science and background of hazards is very important for all DMO/MNRE personnel to advance preparedness activities.

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