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Capacity building for disaster preparedness

Thursday 19 January 2023 | Written by Supplied | Published in National, Weather


Capacity building for disaster preparedness
The Emergency Management Cook Islands survey team will conduct an exposure survey on all existing buildings in Rarotonga from residential to government and business sectors. SUPPLIED/23011835

Cook Islands is one of the five Pacific Island Countries (PICs) taking part in a regional disaster risk-focused project.

The Capacity Building on the Hazard and Exposure Database for Pacific Catastrophe Risk Assessment Financing Initiative (PCRAFI) aims to provide the PICs with disaster risk modelling and assessment tools.

It also aims to engage in a dialogue with the PICs on integrated financial solutions for the reduction of their financial vulnerability to natural disasters and to climate change.

According to Emergency Management Cook Islands (EMCI), the country has taken a proactive approach to disaster risk financing and insurance (DRFI), with government support. 

It said in January 2011, former prime minister Henry Puna in his role as chair of the National Disaster Risk Management Council requested that the Ministry of Finance and Economic Management look at ways to become self-reliant in initial disaster response and generate new income streams for investment in a fund specifically for disaster management response and recovery.

EMCI director John Strickland says the aim of this PCRAFI II is to build the capacity of country governments to collect and update on exposure data for the Cook Islands at the national and regional level.

The EMCI survey team will conduct an exposure survey on all existing buildings in Rarotonga from residential to government and business sectors. The survey team members will not be asking questions about the household personal questions as this is not a household survey. 

Strickland adds the survey is focused on buildings only and not on people or asking any questions.

“For example, we are look at the type of building, whether it is timber or block, and what type of windows, walls, and roofing.

“The surveyors will survey all residents, businesses, industrial establishments and all government establishments within Rarotonga and Aitutaki.”

The project commenced on Monday with the aim of completing the survey in two weeks. All survey members will be wearing an EMCI orange vest with an ID. 

The data collected will assist EMCI and Government in making risk-informed decisions for the development and growth of Cook Islands and inform disaster risk reduction and disaster response activities in the country. 

“This is all part of our preparedness to any disaster in the Cook Islands and we acknowledge the support of the Pacific Community (SPC) for their support,” said Strickland.

“Having a baseline data of what we have on the island is critical to the success of our planning and response to any national event.”