The National, Wednesday, June 8th 2011
By DULCIE OREKE
PAPUA New Guinea’s unique geo-climatic conditions and location in the Pacific ring of fire makes it one of the most disaster prone countries in the region, National Disaster Committee chairman Manasupe Zurenuoc says.
“PNG is exposed to natural hazards such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, river and coastal flooding, landslides, tropical cyclones, climate change, sea level or sea swells and droughts.”
Zurenuoc said, increasingly, landslides were occurring from population pressures on uncontrolled land use and constant heavy rains.
“The coastal area is vulnerable to weather extremes and inundation,” he said.
He said climate change was likely to “exacerbate” the risk of natural hazards by causing extreme weather events more frequently and sea-level rise to magnify the impact of storm surges and waves on coastal areas.
Zurenuoc said the national disaster centre aimed to build safe and sustainable communities.
Officiating a three-day learning programme on protection and the contingency planning process workshop in Port Moresby yesterday, he said it was encouraging to see the national disaster centre prepare fellow citizens through conduct of disaster management training in the provinces and the national level.
He said since 2005, the courses conducted at the provincial level were introduction to disaster management and initial damage assessment had 380 participants while comprehensive hazard and risk management had 122 participants.
It was highlighted that at the national level two courses conducted in collaboration with AusAID were humanitarian logistics courses and emergency operations centre.
Another learning programme on contingency planning was conducted last year with the support from United Nations.