The National, Wednesday October 23rd, 2013
By BENNY GETENG
THE Oro joint provincial planning and budget priority committee has approved reserving K1 million for rapid response in natural disasters, an officer says.
The money will be used to pay service providers.
A portion will be allocated to the Red Cross, which has a history of managing responses during disasters in the province.
Similarly, Oro (Northern) has a history of disasters ranging from flooding to rough seas and cyclones.
The Oro provincial executive council has approved the draft disaster management policy and is finalising the final draft.
The final copy calls for the need to build and operate a disaster management centre for the province.
Governor Gary Juffa invited Inter-Government Relations Vice-Minister Joe Sungi to witness the swearing-in of the new Oro provincial executive council and discuss assistance from the Government for the establishment of the provincial disaster management centre.
Juffa urged all provinces, especially those that have been prone to disasters, to enact a disaster management policy for their provinces and establish a disaster management centre to coordinate all disaster responses in their provinces.
“Any Government’s fundamental responsibility is to save lives. That is the bottom line,” he said.
“Oro is a disaster prone province. Floods, high seas, strong winds and landslips are becoming annual events.
“Strange weather patterns brought about by global warming will have negative effects worldwide on all communities and Papua New Guinea is no exception.
“PNG has a very poor track record of preparing for disasters and responding to them.
“There is virtually no effort by the relevant authorities to ensure that the nation is prepared either by way of awareness and education and drills and so forth.
“In fact, every time we are confronted with a disaster, the response is very poor and people who could be saved die and properties are destroyed.
“This is simply unacceptable and governments are failing their people if they continue to allow this terrible situation to prevail.
“There must be a concerted effort to develop a modern disaster management policy, provincial disaster management centres equipped with life saving resources and people who are adequately trained.
“Most provinces do not have a disaster management policy and do not have a disaster coordination centre. Disasters in PNG have been poorly managed and have cost substantial resources.
“Oro has had more then its fair share of disasters, with the largest ever being the eruption of Mt Lamington in 1951.”