Be prepared: The only way to fight disasters


MAJOR disasters often, but not always, generate sufficient funding for reconstruction and recovery.
This can promote the need to build back better and to be more resilient. This, however, is not always the case.
With disaster trends indicating a move towards more frequent small and medium-scale emergencies, the majority of householders affected by such  localised disasters draw  upon their own mitigation and limited resources, and invariably build the same vulnerabile structures.
There is no active presence to promote better practices to incorporate sustainable approaches to building resilience in many types of settlements in the country.
An approach to safer shelter awareness initiated by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC) to upskill Red Cross national societies aims to raise awareness of the everyday risks related to people’s  environment and foster safe shelter and settlement practices.
It offers a simple process facilitated by the Red Cross or Red Crescent volunteers and technical advisers to help communities build upon their own insights, skills and leadership to attain improved living conditions and safe habits.
IFRC head of country office Udaya Regmi said he appreciated the participation of 22 PNG Red Cross staff and volunteers who attended the Participatory Approach to Safe Shelter Awareness workshop from July 24- 28, which was facilitated by the IFRC country cluster office staff from Suva and a Solomon Islands Red Cross representative.
The 22 participants were awarded certificates as PASSA facilitators in the country allowing them to initiate awareness in communities to improve shelter practices which have been identified by the communities themselves.
He said the commitment and enthusiasm shown by the participants reflected the concern for the wellbeing of marginalised people to identify and safeguard against shelter and settlement risks.
A participant of the five-day workshop, Timothy Evo’O, said: “The participatory approach to safe shelter awareness builds effective resilience in disaster prone communities and it is a useful tool in disaster preparedness.”