New tsunami sirens commissioned in Suva

Employees of the government ministries including a few UN agencies who participated in the tsunami drill organized by the National Disaster Management Office in Suva yesterday. Picture: JOVESA NAISUA

EIGHT new tsunami sirens have been commissioned, and installed to protect the lives and livelihoods of the people of Suva in the event of a tsunami.

The tsunami siren project and installation was implemented in partnership with the Fiji National Disaster Management Office and the Pacific Community (SPC).

According to a Government statement, the tsunami network covers Suva’s highly populated tsunami risk area with a total cost of FJD$846,000.

This was jointly funded by GIZ, MFAT & the European Union with technical assistance provided by SPC.

Ministry of Rural and Maritime Development, National Disaster Management and Meteorological Services Permanent Secretary Meleti Bainimarama said the project marked another successful launch of the National Disaster Awareness Week.

He said the ministry was also planning to install tsunami sirens in the Western Division, Northern Division, Lomaiviti and Lau in the Eastern Division.

“Today’s (yesterday) National Disaster Awareness Week launch is significant as it coincides with a Tsunami Drill that we will witness. The last major Tsunami recorded in Fiji occurred in 1953 caused by a 6.8 magnitude earthquake,” Mr Bainimarama said.

With the recent major earthquake and tsunami events that devastated Indonesia and Japan, the tsunami drill coupled with installation of the newly commissioned early warning system  ensures the people of Suva are better prepared and more resilient.

Mr Bainimarama believes that all the participants involved in the tsunami drill will benefit greatly from the exercise.

Lessons learned from the drill will assist their organisations in making improvement to their disaster response plans.

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