Tuesday, 2 September 2014 10:08 AM

Housing Plans for Disaster Prone Areas Awaits Government Endorsement

Housing plans to assist disaster-affected people have been developed, and are awaiting approval and financial support from the government.

A budget submission seeking funds for housing repairs and reconstruction in Honiara, Guadalcanal and repatriation areas had been submitted to the Ministry of Finance.

The submission also includes permanent housing reconstruction for Temotu communities affected by the 2013 tsunami and earthquake.

Both plans, should they be approved, also include training to prepare people before a disaster strikes, and environmental awareness on housing reconstruction – for example, planting trees to replace used timber, and prevent erosion.

The Ministry of Lands, Housing and Survey (MLHS), Ministry of Infrastructure Development (MID); the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Disaster Management (MECDM); the Ministry of Development Planning and Aid Coordination (MDPAC) and partnering ministries, agencies and organisations have developed the plans and budget submission together.

MLHS has already assigned $6 million in funding to the proposed housing plan through budget reallocation. However there is still a considerable funding gap that will need to be met.

The Temotu housing budget bid was approved by the Ministry of Finance last week. The next step is to gain Parliament approval, which is likely to take place after a new government is established. From there, any financial shortfall will be sought from donors.

UNDP, through their Pacific Risk Resilience Programme, is supporting housing recovery by providing technical assistance to the relevant ministries. This includes supporting the MDPAC-led Recovery Coordination Committee (RCC), which is developing an overall recovery plan for the April flash floods.

Representatives from the involved ministries, Solomon Islands Red Cross and NGOs were given the opportunity to reflect on shelter relief efforts following these disasters at a workshop earlier this month.

They also looked to the future, and discussed longer-term shelter planning.

It was agreed all agencies performed well and were well coordinated. In particular, NDMO and other government bodies involved worked well together with NGOs to mobilise resources between each other.

The strategic direction and leadership for shelter-related activities was also discussed.

It was also identified that the consistency and quality of shelter kits could be improved for future disasters.

The shelter kits will be reviewed in a workshop next week.

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