District begins discussion on natural disaster plan
The discussions is part of a five year plan with its implementation linked to the Nailaga Districts 20 Year 2018-2038 Sustainable Development Plan, that is facilitated by the World Wide Fund for Nature Pacific (WWF-Pacific) through its “Living with Change: Resilient Mangroves, Fisheries and Peoples of Fiji and PNG”.
Talks this week at Nakavika settlement centred on the community representatives from the ten communities identifying natural disasters and their impacts on their communities.
“It is almost impossible now to grow root crops like before in my plantation, this is due to the longer dry weather or drought we are currently facing. Root crops such as cassava do not grow well like before.”
“Families like mine are now spending more money on buying root crops instead of relying on our land for it,” highlighted Nawaqarua villager, Waisake Talekuli.
“Flooding is a big problem for us at Soweri settlement and when it happens; we do not have a big enough evacuation shelter for the 12 families and over 70 people that make up our community,” revealed Asena Tagi of Soweri settlement.
With disaster plans, communities will be better prepared.
“With a disaster plan, we will be able to know what to do. Formulating our disaster plans will include discussions on whether we need to have another evacuation shelter or build it and this can be done through our 20 Year District Sustainable Development Plan.”
“For instance, when flooding happens at Soweri, everyone does not know their role and how to react when flooding occurs. With a plan, we will know how to react. Our community members will be more aware when we have the plan,” added Tagi.
“There are 165 households in Votua village with around 800 to 850 people. We need a disaster plan so everyone can know what to do when a disaster strikes. Currently, we don’t have any plan that is active. The discussions here are a step for us in the right direction,” highlighted Kinisimere Ratu Qera of Votua village.
Discussions also saw community representatives carry out hands on mapping exercises that will be incorporated into their individual and district disaster plans.
“For any disasters preparation and discussion, it gives hope for me and my children. The discussions with WWF-Pacific are of the concerns of not only for each community but the district as a whole. It is very interesting for me to learn on how we can help our families and communities in terms of disaster,” added Talekuli.
WWF-Pacific climate change support officer, Apolosa Robaigau, adds the next steps for the district is to present the outcome of this planning to the respective community members.
“They need to participate in all consultation and planning process, it’s the only way they can take ownership, respect and follow the plan. Community needs to identify measures taken for each steps of the Natural Disaster Risk Reduction Cycle from planning, respond, recovery and rebuild phases in their communities.”
“Each of the communities will also have specific disaster plans that are designed to address their vulnerability. Such a plan allows them to better prepare themselves to reduce the impact of a disaster, ensure their own safety and how they can work together as a community to prepare, rebuild and recover quickly,” added Robaigau.
The “Living with Change: Resilient Mangroves, Fisheries and People of Fiji and PNG” project is a three year project that is funded by the German government and implemented in the districts of Nailaga, Nacula and Tavua by WWF-Pacific.