Cyclone Pam: SPC on standby to assist Pacific Islands


Pam2_webWith the extent of the impacts of tropical cyclone Pam on Pacific Island nations not yet known – and indeed still unfolding – the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) is on standby to provide technical assistance to the affected countries.
Stark reminder of vulnerability of Pacific Islands as world meets in Japan to decide on new global framework for disaster risk reduction

SPC Director-General, Dr Colin Tukuitonga, said SPC is ready to deploy teams to Vanuatu, Kiribati, Tuvalu and the Solomon Islands, depending on the governments’ needs in the wake of the severe tropical cyclone.

Dr Tukuitonga yesterday wrote to Vanuatu’s National Disaster Management Office to offer SPC assistance, given the greatest impact of the cyclone is expected to be felt in Vanuatu.

With the world’s governments currently meeting in Sendai, Japan, to approve a new global framework on disaster risk reduction, Dr Tukuitonga said cyclone Pam was a stark reminder of how highly vulnerable to disasters Pacific Islands’ populations and economies are.

“The Secretariat is keeping a very close eye on developments and the path tropical cyclone Pam is taking,” Dr Tukuitonga said.

“As has been SPC’s long-standing practice, we are ready to deploy disaster response teams to reinforce government capacity in National Disaster Management Offices and provide a range of technical assistance based on the governments’ specific needs, and in concert with the United Nations and the Red Cross.

“If necessary we will recall our disaster management experts who are currently part of the Pacific delegation participating in the UN Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Japan.

“The Pacific Community is close-knit and our thoughts and prayers are with the governments and people of Kiribati, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands,” Dr Tukuitonga said.

In an SPC video message released for the world conference, the Director-General appealed for stronger action: “Whatever form a post-2015 framework takes, it’s important that the world community adopts a stronger approach to disaster risk reduction.”

Media contacts:
Julie Marks, SPC Director of Communications: +679 976 6846, [email protected]
Clare White, SPC Communications Officer (in Sendai, Japan): [email protected]

Notes to Editors:
Pacific Island countries and territories have developed the Strategy for Climate and Disaster Resilient Development in the Pacific which is being showcased at the UN conference in Japan and is due to be formally endorsed by Pacific Island leaders later this year.

SPC responds to its member governments’ requests for assistance following disasters, contributing to the initial international response led by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the Red Cross, and in the medium and long term, for example providing seeds and planting material to restore damaged crops.

Updates are available on Pacific Disaster Net, a site jointly backed by OCHA, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the UN Development Programme, UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, the Pacific Disaster Risk Management Partnership Network and SPC.

Tropical cyclone Pam courtesy of Na Draki, Fiji.