UNISDR award for Fiji

THE Fiji National Disaster Management Office was yesterday awarded the Sendai Target Champion in Disaster Risk Reduction by the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR).

The award was in recognition of Fiji’s efforts to reduce lives lost in the aftermath of Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston early this year.

UN special representative of the secretary-general (SRSG) for Disaster Risk Reduction, Dr Robert Glasser said Fiji was chosen from various countries and governments around the world for their contribution towards reducing disaster risk and loss of lives.

“What often makes the news is the number of people who die from natural disasters, but what doesn’t make the news are the number of people who didn’t die because of actions taken and I see this so often around the world,” he said.

Mr Glasser said given the intensity of Severe TC Winston, the loss of life “was remarkably low”.

“It was the reflection of the work and the huge energy and commitment by the Government and communities and donors. UNCHER and UN examined examples of this around the world and determined who the Sendai target champion for reducing disaster mortality should be and we’re very pleased to recognise the ministry.”

Receiving the certificate, Minister for Agriculture and National Disaster Management Inia Seruiratu said Fiji needed to invest more in disaster risk reduction to minimise the damage and the losses suffered by the country in the event of disasters.

He said Fiji made the decision in 2008 to shift from reaction to prevention which led to some policy adjustment and investment into disaster risk management.

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