New Zealand High Commission Suva, Fiji

New Zealand's increased support for disaster risk reduction

Acting HOM, Mark Ramsden delivering his speech during the launch of the National Disaster Awareness Week

During the launch of the 2013 National Disaster Awareness Week, Acting Head of Mission Mark Ramsden said the New Zealand Aid Programme in Fiji has a strong focus on supporting disaster risk reduction.

“Following the very challenging 2012 year, which saw two floods and one tropical cyclone, New Zealand recognised the need to increase the disaster preparedness and response component of the aid programme in Fiji, and committed NZ$4.5 million for this purpose. This funding, which was announced following the disaster events in 2012, is now assisting the people of Fiji to better prepare for, and respond to, natural disasters.

“Disaster preparedness and response programmes actively involve the community to find local solutions, which is vital for effective disaster management. It means an increased percentage of the population will be better equipped to deal with natural disasters,” said Mr Ramsden.

The New Zealand Aid Programme works closely with the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) in a variety of areas, including increasing public awareness, training disaster response officials, and creating a strong disaster response system through infrastructure development.

New Zealand is providing funding to the NDMO of NZ$1 million over a period of three years. The first year has focused on training, publications, awareness raising, upgrading the National and Divisional Emergency Operational Centres, and replenishing NDMO prepositioned supplies including two water delivery units.

Mr Ramsden also commended the theme for National Disaster Awareness Week. “The theme of ‘Living with disability and disaster’ is timely and well considered, increasing awareness and understanding of the particular needs of people with disabilities during a disaster event.”

Along with disaster risk reduction and response, the New Zealand Aid Programme in Fiji focuses on informal settlements and supporting the 2014 elections in Fiji, with projected aid to Fiji of NZ$12.4 million in 2013/14.

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