Coordination and operational gaps of provincial emergency response agencies in the Western and Choiseul province has been identified and re-aligned as part of the whole-of-government -approach for COVID-19 preparedness plans.

National Emergency Response Team (NERT) based on a request by the National Disaster Operations Committee (N-DOC) were deployed last week (26th May) to both provinces to re-strengthen areas which needs immediate addressing through the N-DOC and Provincial Disaster Operations Committee (P-DOC) arrangement.

The team also held refresher training session for the Provincial Emergency Operations Centres (PEOC) for both provinces which was declared a high risk zone for COVID-19 importation by the government.

Accompanying the NERT is also a government Global Information System (GIS) specialist who conduct geospatial and hazard risk assessment on the identified quarantine centres and Ministry of Infrastructure Development (MID) architects on structural verification for both provinces.

While in Western Province the team visited identified quarantine sites at Gizo, Noro, Munda, Shortland and Seghe. And at Choiseul, they assess Taro station hospital and Sasamunga Health Centre.

NERT team also accompany the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSPIF) border patrol unit based at Kulitanai of Shortland Islands; observe their daily operations and get coordinate digits on the red line boundaries stretching across the outer islands.

There are also areas in health, security, infrastructure, protection and livelihood which the team have identified during the site visits and a report is expected to be submitted to the Oversight Committee for further deliberations which will strengthen the western regions preparedness efforts.

Team leader George Baragamu stress that National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) is supportive towards the P-DOC sector committees set up and they want to help strengthen their preparedness and response plans as soon as possible.

“The intention is to ensure that the provincial teams par with the national level preparedness plans and Standard Operation Procedures (SOP) produced.

“This will also help the communication process and decision making in the provincial level up to the upper level which is the Oversight Committee,” he said.

The NEOC Chief Operations Officer adds that the visit is important to help the P-DOC sector committees have an overview of the operational mechanism put in place under the National Disaster Management Plan 2018 arrangement.

The team returns to Honiara yesterday. A report base on the trip will be provided to the NDC Oversight Committee.

In the meantime, implementation of the quarantine centres and isolation units for upgrading and maintenance work is underway.

Source: NDC