Support National Disaster Centre

Editorial

THE National Disaster Office must be supported financially this year, otherwise, it will become just another name.
With the effects of climate change becoming obvious, we should be in the proactive mode rather than reactive.
With the rains currently experienced in the country, flooding and landslides are likely to follow.
It is already common knowledge that Papua New Guinea is prone to natural disasters, earthquakes, drought, flooding and volcanic eruption, which are inevitable.
Advanced preparation is the key to overcoming natural disasters that has been predicted.
While natural disasters are unpredicted, in essence, it is more cost-effective to be prepared than deal with damage, deaths and rebuilding.
The argument that we don’t have enough funds or resources to put into disaster preparedness is unacceptable, because we do not have the money to spare for damages the country incurs either.
Disasters not only cost lives, they also have a severe socio-economic impact on the country.
It has always been a reactive response – everyone reacts and responds after a disaster has struck.
Countless workshops and meetings have been held and we expect the past tagline of “we hope to learn much on how to respond quickly to natural disaster”.
Our disaster officials have rubbed shoulders with their colleagues from the other Apec economies and have indicated that PNG could adopt aspects from these economies and tailor to suit the countries setting.
This was one of the many positive aspects of hosting Apec in 2018, which PNG as the host, should have gained from.
Usually, during each Apec meetings leading up to the main summit, developed economies will part their experiences on economic growth to developing economies on the best policies and approach to take for better development and benefits right into the rural areas.
Disaster officers should prepare beforehand in order to tackle hardships when disaster strikes.
They should be prepared before a disaster strikes, during and after any disaster.
Natural disasters that occur around PNG were weather-related and people should be alert to take appropriate action to overcome the situation quickly.
As much as climate change has something to do with the weather, we should realise that flooding is man-made.
We make mention again that it is time to start discussions for a National Rescue Coordination Centre that will have the services as diverse as the Fire Services, PNG Defence Force, PNG Royal Constabulary, National Maritime Safety Authority, National Road Safety Authority, Accident Investigation Commission and Health Services among others thrown together in times of accidents, disaster and national emergencies to search, rescue and save lives.
The whole issue requires a holistic approach and for this to be supported and funded by government so that we have capability to launch sea, air, road, fire and natural disaster responses and search and rescue at a moment’s notice.
The launched and endorsed disaster framework 2017 to 2030 by the National Disaster Centre can be successful if disaster coordinators and disaster management officers from each province know that for funds to be released sooner than later, they should make reports early.
Communication and coordination are very important to address all the related issues of natural disasters in and round the country.
Only then, will the channel of communication become clearer for everyone to know the procedures.
Otherwise, the national disaster centre will only be managing when a disaster strikes.

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