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Workshop on Disaster Communications and Network Development for the Pacific highlights need for more local coordination....posted 15 June07

At the recent workshop on Disaster Communications and Network Development for the Pacific, organised jointly by the Pacific Islands Telecommunications Association (PITA), the Asia Pacific Telecommunity (APT) and the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO), it was highlighted that more collaborative actions are required at the national level in order to deliver early mitigations during a disaster

It was heard that whilst resources may be available, immediate relief and evacuation continue to face delays, some even after week of the disaster. The Pacific Island countries participating at the workshop agreed that preparedness is crucial for the small islands where isolation and lack of resources. Early warning systems, public education and developing national action plans for coordinating evacution and relief were highlighted as necessary to avoid needless loss of lives. Whilst technology is an enabler, the "people" issue is the crucial element and thus the need for public education programs. In adopting that Disaster is everyone's business, the organisers will provide a report on the role of communications and network for disaster prepardness, mitigation and management and further cooperation from this workshop.

Delegates from the Disaster Management Office (DMOs) from Japan, Asia, Europe and the Pacific Islands
with the delegates from the  Pacific Islands telecommunication carriers were joined by regional agencies, government departments including ITU at this workshop. Presentations included ongoing study and work at the international level in standardising cell alert and other various technologies for disasters, case examples of early warning systems, roles of agencies in the Pacific active in developing disaster preparedness and management and including their plans, and discussions of Pacific Island countries situations and need.

The workshop was hosted by PITA and held in Nadi, Fiji from 4-6 June 2007.

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