BY JOHN HOUANIHAU
THE National Disaster Management Office has stressed the need for the general public in the country to take early warnings seriously in disaster preparedness.
National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) Deputy Director, Jonathan Tafiariki told ENVIRONMENT MEDIA that Solomon Islanders must adhere to early warning for early actions to save lives and property.
He said that since natural hazards such as tsunamis, and cyclones cannot prevent, people must respond early to warnings.
“We can minimize but we cannot stop it from happening, therefore we at the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) encourage our people to act early when receiving those early warnings and advisories regarding any threat.
“Please do follow those advises and take safety measures that are advised by the NDMO, or from our technical agencies like Solomon Islands Maritime Authority (SIMA), Seismology Division, or Solomon Islands Meteorology Service (SIMET),” he warned.
He said that one of the ongoing works of NDMO is trying its best to make sure that the early warning messages are simplified and disseminated in a way people can understand.
“We usually supplement the warnings through what we always refer to as ‘what to do information which is an elaborate little bit about the warning issued by the technical or our hazard agencies.
“A study in 2013 showed that the rural populace has been receiving the messages and understand the messages but they also have some issues which also inform us on the way we are trying to give out massages,’’ Tafiariki said.
He said that the rural populace raised that it’s better to give voice messages in pidgin where they can understand it clearly.
“It is better to give voices massages in pidgin where they can understand it clearly. In terms of print and text messages our people prefer that the messages should be given in the pidgin language,’’ he said.
“The government continues to make sure it has the tools where it was set up to collect information that helped the government analyses to give us early warning,” the NDMO Deputy Director said.
“We will continue to work closely with technical agencies in any disaster or threat to make sure that our warnings or safety messages are given at the right time for early action.
On a similar note, the Solomon Islands Meteorology Service (SI-MET) Acting Chief Forecaster, Manoah Tepa said in their efforts to properly discriminate the warning messages reaching the communities, they had set up two flags early warning system in two provinces in the Solomon Islands.
“Since people do not understand the languages, met in its efforts with its partners has come up with another warning system called the flag early warning system where two were already established in Tulagi, Central Islands Province (CIP) and Gizo in the Western Province.
“We work with police and branches in the provinces, for example, if there is a marine warning for Central Province (CP) we call to CP police, to put up the red flag when there is a warning issued.
There are two flags, which means, the red flag is raised as weather warnings, and the blue flag simply indicates normal and fine weather.
He said that the government through the responsible ministries wanted to cover all the provinces in the installation of the flag early warning system but this depend on finance.
“Hopefully we would cover all the provinces,’’ he said.
The NDMO is established by the government thru the National Disaster Council Act in 1998 provided with a mandate to coordinate early warning with responsible technical government agencies such as the Solomon Islands Meteorology service, Geo hazards group, and Solomon Islands Maritime Authority whenever there is a threat in terms of issue warning and safety massages.
The NDMO also hosts the National Emergency Operation Centre (NEOP) where its key function is to monitor and assess any possible developing threat from disasters and support the Technical agencies by issuing warnings or safety messages.