Need for more tsunami awareness

iTaukei Trust Fund Board chief executive officer Aisake Taito, standing fourth from left, Fiji Council of Social Services executive director Vani Catanasiga, standing fifth from left, and officials at the TTFB office in Nasese, Suva, on Friday. Picture: ARIETA VAKASUKAWAQA

Fiji Council of Social Services director Vani Catanasiga says the manner in which some people responded to the tsunami waves generated by an underwater volcanic eruption in Tonga last Saturday indicates there needs to be more awareness.

In this disaster risk management space, she suggested there was always room for improvement.

“This is why we need to work closely with Fiji’s National Disaster Management Office and other stakeholders all year round, particularly during peace times, to look at protocols, standards and guidelines of work around DRR and humanitarian intervention,” Ms Catanasiga said.

“What we might need to do in earnest this year is to focus on community awareness and capacity-strengthening so that communities attitudes change.

“In our community observation reports, we saw how some community members, including small children, just watched on or took videos of tsunami waves and other effects when they should have taken precaution.

“That is a sign that more work is needed to train communities on taking precautions and protecting their vulnerable in times like that.”

She commended infrastructural developments like the tsunami warning systems, the communications systems that were launched in the North recently and others.

During a press conference in Suva on Wednesday, Minister for Agriculture, Rural & Maritime Development, and National Disaster Management Inia Seruiratu said the tsunami waves had no impact on Fiji and that in the past people failed to adhere to tsunami sirens.

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