The Fiji Times » Greater Tsunami Awareness Needed

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Aisake Taito, Managing Director of the iTaukei Trust Fund Board, standing fourth from left, Vani Catanasiga, Executive Director of the Fiji Social Services Council, fifth from left, and office officials from the TTFB in Nasese, Suva, on Friday. Photo: ARIETA VAKASUKAWAAQA

Fiji Social Services Board director Vani Catanasiga said the way some people reacted to the tsunami waves generated by an underwater volcanic eruption in Tonga last Saturday indicates there needs to be more awareness.

In this disaster risk management space, she suggested there was always room for improvement.

“That is why we need to work closely with the Fiji National Disaster Management Office and other stakeholders throughout the year, especially in times of peace, to review protocols, standards and working guidelines around DRR and humanitarian response,” Ms. Catanasiga said.

“What we may need to do seriously this year is focus on community sensitization and capacity building so that community attitudes change.

“In our community observation reports, we have seen how some community members, including young children, were content to watch or take videos of the tsunami waves and other effects when they should have taken precautions.

“It’s a sign that more work is needed to train communities to take precautions and protect their vulnerable people in times like this.”

She praised infrastructural developments like tsunami warning systems, communication systems that have been launched recently in the North and others.

At a press conference in Suva on Wednesday, Minister for Agriculture, Rural and Maritime Development and National Disaster Management, Inia Seruiratu, said tsunami waves had no impact on Fiji and that in the past, people had not bought into the tsunami sirens.


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