The newly built National Emergency Operation Centre (NEOC) in Niue was opened yesterday by the Niue Premier, Hon. Sir Toke Talagi, and the Pacific Community (SPC) representative, Mr. Taito Nakalevu. This building will house the Police and National Disaster Management Office (NDMO).
Niue suffered significant damage during cyclone Heta in January 2004, sustaining winds greater than 240km/h, classifying it as a category 4-5 cyclone. The Niue Hospital and dwellings near the shore were damaged as huge waves crossed the cliff line and battered houses, roads and the fuel depot. This event prompted the relocation of critical infrastructure – first the hospital and now the NEOC.
Mr. Tony Edwards, Chief of Police and Emergency Operations Centre Controller for the NDMO, said the NEOC will be used as a base to coordinate future responses to natural and man-made disasters in Niue.
The Premier, Sir Talagi noted that the NEOC will play a significant role in enhancing emergency and disaster operations by quickening the response and recovery actions for affected communities in Niue.
The NEOC is a great example of how development partners collaborate and work alongside the government to address local needs. In this case, the European Union (EU), under the Building Safety and Resilience in the Pacific project (BSRP) implemented by SPC, invested NZD 1.1 million in the construction of the NEOC, while the New Zealand Government contributed NZD 250,000 towards the structural engineering work and fit out of the facility.
The EU Ambassador-designate to Niue and the Pacific, H.E Sujiro Seam said, ''Resilience is not only recovering and thriving; it is about how to learn from the past to make the future better and how to make your country safer. The National Emergency Operation Centre will help to increase the safety of the Niue people. The EU is proud to support this programme to help Niue and the Pacific to cope with climate change and disasters''.
The BSRP Project Manager, Mr. Nakalevu, speaking on behalf of the SPC Director General, indicated that SPC is pleased to be able to contribute to building Niue’s disaster preparedness capacity and resilience building. He noted that Niue also benefitted from the recently held regional training of trainers in disaster risk reduction and the workings in an emergency operation centre. Such trainings enhance knowledge and skills to better operate an EOC.
Ruben Vulawalu, BSRP Communications/Graphics Officer | E: [email protected]
About the Building Safety and Resilience Project:
The Africa Caribbean Pacific (ACP)-European Union (EU) project called Building Safety and Resilience in the Pacific project (BSRP) is a €19.37million project funded by the EU and implemented by the Pacific Community (SPC). Its objective is to reduce the vulnerability, as well as the social, economic and environmental costs, of disasters caused by natural hazards, thereby achieving regional and national sustainable development and poverty alleviation in ACP Pacific Island states.