Workshops preparing provinces for disasters

Aug 18, 2017

Disaster Risk Management (DRM) Workshop in Madang. (L-R) Charles Kelly, UNDPs Consultant DRM Plans, Rudolf Mongallee, Madang Provincial Disaster Coordinator and Michael Sembenembo, Project Manager, UNDPs DRM Project. ©Kim, Allen /UNDP

Port Moresby, 18 August 2017 –  Workshops to improve disaster management systems are being implemented in four pilot provinces and the Autonomous Region of Bougainville in August and September by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the National Disaster Centre (NDC).

The workshops are part of the ‘Strengthening Disaster Risk Management in Papua New Guinea’ program, funded by the Australian Government, which is providing strategic support to the Government of Papua New Guinea in reducing vulnerability and increasing resilience to disasters.

Papua New Guinea (PNG) is prone to regular natural disasters and faces threats from a wide range of hazards including floods, cyclones, landslides, drought and earthquakes, among others.

The workshops, which are already underway, will contribute to the strengthening of disaster preparedness mechanisms and response procedures at the sub-national levels in the provinces of Western Highlands, Chimbu, Madang, Central and the Autonomous Region of Bougainville. The locations were selected based on several criteria, including number of disasters reported in the past and overall vulnerability to disasters.

Workshops and consultations are scheduled for the following locations and dates:

  • Buka, Autonomous Region of Bougainville (7-10 August 2017)
  • Madang, Madang Province (17-18 August 2017)
  • National Disaster Centre, National Capital District  (22 August 2017)
  • Mt Hagan, Western Highlands Province (Date TBA - Sept 2017)
  • Simbu Province (Date TBA - Sept 2017)

Khusrav Sharifov, UNDP Technical Specialist for Disaster Risk Management said: “These workshops are crucial to strengthen the existing Disaster Management Systems. In some provinces, there is no Disaster Management Plan with Standard Operating Procedures to guide decision makers on how to prepare and respond to disasters. This creates a lot of confusion in terms of roles and responsibilities. When a good plan is in place, it makes it clear on what are the issue and priorities, as well as who needs to do what and when if a disaster strikes.”

“By having systems in place, it will also help to provide efficient and effective responses to disasters, which in the long run will help save lives,” Mr Sharifov said.

Participating in these forums are the members of the Disaster Management Committees in each province, including representatives from selected districts and other partners such as community based organisations that provide on the ground support.

The workshops begin by assessing the existing Disaster Management (DRM) capacities of provinces to identify strengths, weakness, gaps and opportunities. This information is used to produce Capacity Development Plans for each province to assist them to make use of available resources and focus on the areas where there are capacity challenges.

Mr Sharifov said that the improved disaster management systems will empower communities (men, women and children) to take action: “Communities play a very important role in disaster management - there are measurers they can take themselves to reduce risks around them. This process highlights their role and empowers them so that they do not have to wait for the National Government to respond on every occasion.”

Following the workshops, each province involved will initiate development of their draft Disaster Management Plan, Standard Operating Procedures and a DRM Capacity Assessment. Follow up tasks will be captured in an Action Plan, highlighting immediate, medium and longer term priority matters to be addressed.

If this approach is successful in these pilot provinces, there is a potential to eventually expand the project to other regions in the country, in order to support other provinces improve their disaster management systems.

Contact information

Alice Plate, UNDP Communications Specialist, +675 7332 4828, alice.plate@undp.org

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Participants from the humanitarian and faith based organisations, NGOs and government sectors including the Madang Provincial Disaster Committee attended the workshop on Disaster Risk Management organised by UNDPs DRM project team and National Disaster Centre. ©Kim, Allen /UNDP