Every year, Pacific Island counties and territories (PICTs) face the possibility of cyclones and other life and livelihood-threatening emergencies. While countries and territories cannot stop a cyclone in its tracks, they can prepare for emergency situations, using a new Strategic Roadmap for Emergency Management, launched in Niue at the end of 2015.
Niue is the first Pacific nation to commit to the Strategic Roadmap, which will ensure its emergency services work together to coordinate emergency responses and build a prosperous future for the country. The strategy includes building a new joint emergency operations centre that houses the Police Station, National Disaster Management Office and Niue Fire Rescue Service.
Toke Talagi, Premier of Niue, said: ‘Co-locating emergency services is a first for the Pacific. This is highly beneficial to the entire country as our emergency services are coordinated, and we are better equipped to share resources, prepare communities and respond to disasters when they inevitably strike.’.
The Strategic Roadmap was developed as part of the Building Safety and Resilience in the Pacific Programme, which is supported by the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States and the European Union, and is implemented by the Pacific Community (SPC), together with the Pacific Islands Emergency Management Alliance (PIEMA).
A further 14 Pacific Island countries are part of the project, which will ensure that innovative and efficient solutions for disaster preparedness and response are developed and implemented.
At the launch, Andrew Jacobs, European Union Ambassador for the Pacific, presented Niue with a new firetruck that was funded through the project. Ambassador Jacobs said: ‘Niue’s government is showing strong leadership and forward thinking. The European Union is committed to support Niue’s and our Pacific partners and friends’ innovative efforts to build their resilience.’
The new joint emergency operations centre includes Niue’s Rescue Coordination Centre, a staging area for emergency vehicles and equipment, and relief and rehabilitation supplies, as well as a backup Activation Centre for the Niue Tsunami Early Warning System.
A spokesperson from SPC’s Geoscience Division said that Niue had set the benchmark for other Pacific countries and territories. ‘The impact on societies and economies when disaster strikes can be immense. Helping countries prepare for, respond to, and recover from disaster in the most economical and collaborative way is the main focus of the Pacific Islands Emergency Management Alliance. SPC implements this resilience building project and we’re also a key partner in the alliance,’ the spokesperson said.
The first stage of construction of the new centre was supported by the European Union and New Zealand. Australia is providing funds for equipment. The Strategic Roadmap is supported by PIEMA, along with SPC, NZ Fire Service and NZ Ministry for Civil Defence and Emergency Management.
- Niue is the first Pacific nation to develop a strategic roadmap for emergencies
- The country has a new joint emergency coordination centre, housing police, fire and other emergency services, as well as supplies
- Another 14 Pacific countries are working on their strategic roadmaps, with support from ACP/EU, SPC and Australian and New Zealand Governments