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Refurbished Centre to strengthen disaster response in Fiji

The newly-refurbished Lautoka District Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) funded by the European Union (EU) under the Building Safety and Resilience Project was opened today by the Permanent Secretary for Rural and Maritime Development, Mr. Meleti Bainimarama.

This is the fifth emergency operations centre refurbished across Fiji in the past 12 months to increase disaster preparedness and communications before, during, and after a disaster. The total cost of the refurbishment was FJD 49, 500 and the Fiji Government will later consider replacement of furniture.

Mr Bainimarama indicated that the refurbished EOC would ensure disaster response operations are not disrupted when activated during an emergency, adding that it would ensure increased communication within the district.

The new office will further enhance Fiji’s efforts in reinforcing resilience and also strengthen disaster preparedness and management.

“We also acknowledge the assistance from the EU-funded ACP-EU BSRP project, which is implemented by the Pacific Community that has supported the upgrading of our Emergency Operation Centres across the country,” Mr Bainimarama said.

Speaking at the opening, the Team Leader for Natural Resources and Governance at the Delegation of the EU for the Pacific, Ms. Ingrid Swinnen, said: ''We envisage that the refurbished Emergency Operation Centre will improve the planning, coordination and management of operations during emergencies and disasters, thus strengthening disaster response.

The Pacific Community’s Director of the Geoscience, Energy and Maritime (GEM) Division, Dr Andrew Jones, commended the technical approach to this work.

He said: “the need for increased communication was identified by Fiji as a priority after the devastation of Cyclone Winston, through detailed consultations and country-wide research on lessons learnt”.

“This work now ensures divisions are able to both engage locally and communicate with the National Disaster Management team to increase coordination and provide robust data and information in times of crisis,” Dr Jones emphasized.

This is the fifth upgrade and retrofitting of a district-based emergency operations centre under the BSRP project. The others are in Nadi, Lautoka, Tavua and Nabouwalu.

In addition, four more EOCs in the Central Division will be upgraded in the coming months to ensure the country has a robust network during times of crisis.

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