Rescue boats with tyres

Participants perform a mock exercise during the training on Sealegs amphhbious boats between Nukulau Island and Viti Levu last month. Picture: JONA KONATACI

TEAMS from the National Disaster Management Office can now aid disaster response, search and rescue operations along coastal areas with the introduction of the new Sealegs amphibious boats.

The vessels, valued at $NZ200, 000 ($F288, 458), are to help NDMO personnel carry out proper response. They will address the constraints of transport and logistics resources when attending to areas which have suffered because of a disaster.

Ministry of Rural and Maritime Development, National Disaster Management and Meteorological Service permanent secretary Meleti Bainimarama said the boats were helpful in rescuing people and transporting relief supplies in the recent floodings experienced in the Western Division.

“Twenty-five disaster management practitioners involved in logistics and response went through a training that was conducted at Nukulau Island,” he said.

“The personnel are based around the country under the office of the divisional commissioners who spearhead government’s disaster management operations in their respective divisions.

“The training was conducted at Nukulau Island because it provided a conducive environment to test out the capability of the vessel and the knowledge of practitioners on both land and sea.”

He said it was made possible through Fiji’s relationship with the New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade through the New Zealand High Commission in Fiji.

“The boats were initially donated by the New Zealand Government to Fiji as part of our agreement was to conduct the training for our personnel,” he said.

“This is the third training but each training program has been different. “We keep building on past training and we want to ensure we maximise the use and capabilities of the vessels.“We have a longstanding relationship with the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade in disaster risk reduction and humanitarian action.”

He said the ministry was grateful for the support the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade provide directly to the National Disaster Management Office which had strengthened capacity and increased their resources.

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