Past lessons vital for future

FIJI needs to identify key lessons learnt from previous disasters instead of just filing it away, says Minister for National Disaster Management, Inia Seruiratu.

Speaking at a press conference on Pacific Resilience Week on Tuesday, Mr Seruiratu said the ministry received good reports detailing the lessons learnt from past disasters, but these were often filed away.

“Unfortunately in previous disasters we had very good reports but it’s just filed and we wait for the next one. There are key lessons learnt and we need to look at those lessons and identify the critical areas, like who’s going to be responsible and what does it take to get the issues or problems fixed, or what sort of resources are needed,” he said.

“These things are critical so we can be confident that the lessons learnt will be minimised in terms of future events and most importantly bring efficiency in the way we do things.”

Mr Seruiratu said Fiji needed to invest more in risk reduction.

“If we invest in disaster risk reduction we are able to minimise the damages and the losses and most importantly for us is what we call macro-economic resilience, so we need to look at development seriously and of course training, advocacy and awareness.

“We have to make sacrifices particularly with small economies. It is painful but in the long term it is beneficial.”

He said Fiji had made the decision in 2008 to shift its focus from reaction to prevention in its pre-disaster preparedness which led to policy adjustments and investments.

Mr Seruiratu said in the next few months, the National Disaster Management Office would roll out educational material and practical drills on tsunamis.

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