22 Jun 2005

SOPAC considers disaster plan

1:16 pm on 22 June 2005

A draft disaster management plan for the Pacific region is now being considered.

Forum member countries have agreed on a ten-year framework for action for the next ten years.

It is to go before the SOPAC council meeting in September.

A community risk management advisor for SOPAC, Noud Leenders, says the draft plan considers how small developing island states can improve their handling of natural disasters.

The plan outlines how to improve decision-making, increase public awareness, be better prepared and various early warning systems.

Mr Leenders says a lot more work and effort are needed to improve disaster management.

"Some countries are ahead of others in what their current awareness is at different levels in the community, but others are lagging behind. There's a big problem with distances in the Pacific - you've got the small islands far away from the bigger islands, and more developed islands, so communication is a big issue."

Noud Leenders says the plan will also go before the Pacific Islands Forum in October.

SOPAC is a regional organisation dedicated to providing services to promote sustainable development in its 18 member countries.