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Puna strengthened with foldable beds and tablets ahead of cyclone season

Saturday 7 October 2023 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Local, National


Puna strengthened with foldable beds  and tablets ahead  of cyclone season
Emergency Management Cook Islands geoportal coordinator - Stephano Rampling-Tou, Member of Parliament Te-Hani Brown, Puna coordinator in Puaikura - Teremoana Ngatokorua and EMCI director John Strickland, with tablets donated to the Puna. MELINA ETCHES/23100631

In preparation for the upcoming cyclone season, which runs from November 1 through to the end of next April, Emergency Management Cook Islands (EMCI) have donated foldable beds and tablets to the Puna (village committee) on Rarotonga and to the Pa Enua.

Each of the 10 Puna on Rarotonga received eight foldable beds to assist their respective communities in times of emergency or disaster. The outer islands (Pa Enua) also received these beds.

Director of EMCI John Strickland said that these foldable beds are more convenient and easier to handle, take up less space than a mattress, and are more durable.

The Puna on the island also received five tablets each and 100 tablets in total will be distributed to the Pa Enua.

These tablets will be used for data collection for the Puna, where they can store their data and conduct surveys that can be populated to the EMCI Geo Portal database, explained EMCI geoportal coordinator, Stephano Rampling-Tou.

EMCI will soon begin their cyclone season awareness programmes to remind people to be prepared and to act with safety in mind when extreme weather occurs.

Strickland would like to highlight that during the last high sea surge the island experienced, people were seen heading towards the seaside to sightsee with no regard for their own safety.

“That was disappointing to see,” said Strickland.

“We would like to see the cooperation from the community, and for people to think of their safety and their families' safety.”

Puna was established in 2011 with a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between EMCI and Internal Affairs (INTAFF). It is a community partnership arrangement that aims to set up a safe, resilient, and sustainable Cook Islands.

In December 2021, a revised MOU was signed with the 10 Puna on Rarotonga that updated the relationship with Emergency Management Cook Islands.

EMCI is responsible for establishing the Puna Emergency Operation Centres (EOCs), which are activated in times of need and disaster.

Puna entities are standalone entities registered to themselves; however, they are also responsible to their community and aronga mana.

According to EMCI, the 10 Puna on Rarotonga are: Takuvaine, Tupapa, Avatiu/Ruatonga/Palmerston (RAPPA), Nikao, Matavera, Ngatangiia, Titikaveka, Ruaau, Akaoa, and Murienua.

They are also established on the Pa Enua – Aitutaki, Mauke, Mitiaro, Atiu, Mangaia, Manihiki, Penrhyn, Pukapuka, and Rakahanga.