THE dissemination of information and warnings of imminent natural disasters to vulnerable areas like coastal communities is of critical importance, says Transport Ministry deputy secretary Malakai Tadulala.
He said while improvements had been noted in terms of cyclone and flood preparations, the same could not be said for tsunami warnings.
Speaking to this newspaper at the Coastal Inundation Forecasting Demonstration Project workshop in progress in Nadi, Mr Tadulala said improved systems were needed.
"The very focal point at village level is to issue warnings to the immediate community," he said.
"There needs to be further networking to achieve this. If village and community leaders can get warnings or advice directly from the source, that would be very effective and that is perhaps an area that this program needs to look at."
Mr Tadulala said while improvements had been made, as evidenced by the fact that there was no loss of life during the Tropical Cyclone Evan, more needed to be done about tsunami warnings.
"The dissemination of warning must reach people who can take action and take charge of evacuation.
"In terms of warning, the quicker we get advice to those that make the decisions at village or community level, the better.
"If we can minimise the bureaucracy then it will be more effective.
"This is especially true for tsunami warnings as was witnessed recently when a tsunami warning was issued, people were panicking.
"We need to have proper directions and advice otherwise there will be panic."