Proposal to profile disaster communities

FIJI’S Disaster Mitigation and Prevention Committee is looking at profiling communities affected by natural disasters to mitigate situations of water cartage.

With this, it means exploring the options of water harvesting at household or community level, and developing existing local water sources.

This issue was among topics for discussion at the committee’s meeting yesterday, as it deliberated at length the 2015 drought response report.

Ministry of Rural and Maritime Development and National Disaster Management permanent secretary Meleti Bainimarama urged the committee to look at long-term solutions to improve the ministry’s drought response and preparedness.

“We need to look at new and innovative ways to improve the situation and set a directional goal of ending water cartage on a permanent basis,” Mr Bainimarama said in a government statement.

Briefing the committee, NDMO director Akapusi Tuifagalele said large areas of Fiji were affected by the drought of 2013, 2014 and 2015.

And in those periods, he said, disaster responses continued to be reactive.

“These reactive responses are costly and fail to address the predictability of drought,” Mr Tuifagalele said in the same statement.

“We need to adopt a pro-active approach with an emphasis on action and have a thorough understanding on local water shortages, including water infrastructure possibilities and community behaviour in order to address the situation.”

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