In light of the upcoming 17th Pacific Games, in Honiara from November 19th to December 4th, 2023, Guadalcanal Province is strengthening the disaster preparedness and risks management capacities of vulnerable communities in the province.
With the overarching theme "Safe and Green Pacific Games 2023," the province is dedicated to ensuring a secure environment throughout the games.
Anticipating the influx of over 5000 athletes and numerous visitors from 24 Pacific countries and territories of the Pacific Region, this training aims to safeguard the well-being of host communities in the face of potential natural and human-induced hazards during the games and for the future.
Guadalcanal experiences regular number of natural hazard events and considering the heightened risk due to the tropical cyclone season, which falls within the event period, the province acknowledges the importance of a comprehensive disaster management strategy.
The initiative has been made possible with the support of the Australia Government-funded Integrated Approach to Disaster Risk Management in Solomon Islands project implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). It follows up a first round of training that targeted Honiara City Council communities.
Regarding the objectives, as Brian Tom, programme officer from the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) and main facilitator of the training referred “With this training, the Guadalcanal Province through the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) with the support of the Geological Survey Division, is intensifying efforts to increase awareness regarding potential natural and human-induced hazards; conduct targeted trainings for high-risk communities to fortify their disaster response capabilities; and bolster existing community disaster management structures”.
Applying an inclusive approach, the training targeted both genders, and also persons with disabilities from the Guadalcanal Province encompassing 30 participants (16 females) from the Ghaobata North Guadalcanal, and from Malango, Totoba, Suaghi, and Good Shepherd Communities from Central Guadalcanal.
Peter Junior, from Suaghi community, affirmed that “during the three-days training, we have learnt to differentiate hazards from emergencies and from disasters. We have learnt to identify our communities´ vulnerabilities and risks, and understand the whole Disaster Management Cycle”.
Hazema Wanita from Good Shepard Community referred to the best part of the training for employing a practical methodology. “We have actively put our hands on the deck and worked in teams to do a thoroughly mapping of hazards and vulnerabilities in our communities and eventually designed a village disaster risk action plan”.
This multifaceted disaster preparedness program underscores Guadalcanal Province and its development partners' unwavering commitment to ensuring the safety and well-being of all those involved in the historic 17th Pacific Games.
As Joseph Mutsigwa, DRM & Climate Change Specialist from UNDP stated:
“ UNDP and the IDRM project are committed to supporting the preparedness and risks management of the Pacific Games in Solomon Islands partnering with the city and province governments to reach vulnerable communities through the existing Community Based Disaster Risk Management (CBDRM) structures. This support includes raising awareness, forging/promoting greater community involvement in their safety through capacity building and disseminating safety and hazard awareness messages and What to Do information in the event of natural or human-induced hazards to ensure a safe, clean and green hosting of the games.”
Source: Press Release, UNDP Solomon Islands