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Natural disasters are a development issue: Usamate

October 15, 2019 12:53 pm

“We must no longer treat natural disasters as a humanitarian issue but as a development one”

Minister for Infrastructure and Disaster Management Jone Usamate highlighted this while opening the three day National Disaster Awareness Week at Waiyevo in Taveuni, Usamate says our developments must be risk-informed so that when a disaster affects our communities, the effects are substantially reduced.

Usamate says according to the World Risk Report 2018, Fiji is ranked 10th highest disaster-prone country in the world – mostly due to a very high degree of exposure and lack of adaptive capacity, especially for our critical infrastructure.

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Usamate says this should be a stark reminder of how we must build our critical Infrastructure to last and be resilient to the impacts of natural hazards.

Speaking to those in attendance, Usamate says the government acknowledges the fact that when critical infrastructure is disrupted during disasters, there will always be a human cost.

Hence, he says, government’s national development plan, adaptation plans and budgets in some shape or form include risk reduction.

The majority of those in attendance today are NGOs, various government ministries and departments and school students from around Taveuni.

Activities for the day include oratory and banner contests for students, demonstrations by NDMO, Red Cross and the National Fire Authority and both displays.

The three-day event ends on Thursday with a Tsumani drill across the island.

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