CAPTION: Minister for National Disaster Management Mr Inia Seruiratu having a look at the PDNA for TC Evan with Mr Pita Wise, Mr Knut Ostby, Mr Renato Mele and Ms Fekitamoeloa Utoikamanu.
1. PM ARRIVES FOR MSG, MEETS PRESIDENT – Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama arrived in New Caledonia last night ahead of the 19th Melanesian Spearhead Group Leaders Summit in Noumea, New Caledonia.
2. FIJI TO HAND OVER MSG CHAIRMANSHIP – Fijian Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama will hand over the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) chairmanship during a ceremony at the Tjibaou Cultural Center.
3. SERUIRATU LAUNCHES POST DISASTER ASSESSMENT – A Post Disaster Needs Assessment for Tropical Cyclone Evan has been launched to assist the Disaster Management Office and other agencies better coordinate in mitigating and minimising the risk from future disasters.
4. NASARAWAQA VILLAGE LIGHTS UP WITH SOLAR ENERGY – After 58 years of using lanterns and generators, villagers of Nasarawaqa in Bua, will now be able to access electricity just like any other household in urban areas.
5. SOLAR ENERGY IMPROVES LIVING STANDARDS – People living in Lalakoro, Dagau and Navudi settlements in Seaqaqa will now have access to proper electricity. This follows the installation of government-funded solar energy projects under the Sustainable Energy Financing Project to increase the use of renewable energy to reduce the import of fuel.
1. PM ARRIVES FOR MSG, MEETS PRESIDENT
Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama arrived in New Caledonia last night ahead of the 19th Melanesian Spearhead Group Leaders Summit in Noumea, New Caledonia.
The head of the Fijian Government was met by the President of New Caledonia Harold Martin, vice – president Roch Wamytam and incoming chair Victor Tutugoro of the FLNKS at the Tontouta International Airport.
During his brief meeting with President Martin, the Fijian Prime Minister thanked the Government of New Caledonia for the welcome he received upon his arrival and said he looked forward to the MSG Summit, which concludes on Friday.
“I am pleased to inform your Excellency, that I am looking forward to the summit,” Commodore Bainimarama said.
“I am sure the agenda has been set out by the MSG Secretariat with meetings of the senior officials, and the foreign ministers. I am sure this will be a successful meeting.”
Commodore Bainimarama also wished the FLNKS every success during its term as chair.
The welcome dinner for MSG leaders, which will be hosted by the New Caledonian Government, will be held tonight.
Prime Minister Bainimarama will also be guest at the celebration of ‘Melanesia Week’ – a weeklong celebration that will mark the culmination of the Silver Jubilee, celebrating 25 years of the establishment of the MSG in 1988.
2. FIJI TO HAND OVER MSG CHAIRMANSHIP
Fijian Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama will hand over the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) chairmanship during a ceremony at the Tjibaou Cultural Center.
The chairmanship of the biggest sub-regional grouping of the Pacific will see FLNKS official spokesperson Victor Tutugoro take over the duties of MSG chair.
The handing over of the chairmanship will be an emotional one for Prime Minister Bainimarama, who has achieved a lot in advancing the interests of Melanesia and her people over the last two years.
Ahead of the handing over, the Fijian Head of Government said he had full confidence in the FLNKS ranks to continue the good work done by its predecessors.
“I know FLNKS will continue to advance the work done by Fiji and other chairs to grow and strengthen the MSG,” Prime Minister Bainimarama said.
Under his leadership, relationship within Melanesian countries has strengthened.
Trade within the MSG has taken a positive step forward with the removal of tariff for most goods and the region has seen a growth in trade amongst MSG countries. The skill movement scheme to address skill shortage among MSG countries was also borne out of Fiji’s chairmanship.
Advancement was also seen in environmental and climate change issues not only regionally but also in the international fore.
Meanwhile, a customary welcome will be accorded to MSG leaders tomorrow by the customary senate, who are representatives of the eight customary areas of New Caledonia.
3. SERUIRATU LAUNCHES POST DISASTER ASSESSMENT
A Post Disaster Needs Assessment for Tropical Cyclone Evan has been launched to assist the Disaster Management Office and other agencies better coordinate in mitigating and minimising the risk from future disasters.
While launching the assessment for TC Evan, the Minister for Rural and Maritime Development and National Disaster Management, Inia Seruiratu said it was a credible, rigorous and globally recognised standard methodology.
Mr Seruiratu said the assessment enabled Fiji to take stock of physical damage to property, infrastructure and productive assets as the recovery from TC Evan continued.
“This is a testament to our commitment to ensure the fundamentals of post disaster assessment are embedded for recovery planning and fed into the government’s overarching national development agenda,” Mr Seruiratu said.
“The advent of TC Evan has shown the resilience of our people in the face of adversity and great determination to get back on their feet, take stock and rebuild. We are intent on building on these achievements and introducing more efficiency and effectiveness in the way we deal with national emergencies.”
This is the first time in Fiji’s history that such an extensive exercise after a natural disaster had been undertaken.
Strategic Planning, National Development and Statistics permanent secretary Pita Wise said the previous approach used was based on estimates of damage for emergency response and short term rehabilitation without any long term strategic approach.
“The PDNA not only gives us the opportunity to better position our collective capacity to respond when disasters occur but also take a more long term strategic approach on how best to mitigate, adapt and minimise the risk from future disasters, which have become a regular than ever before,” Mr Wise said.
The assessment provides vital data beyond the physical damage to property, infrastructure and productive assets.
“It also accounts for losses resulting from the disruption of economic flows brought by the disaster, Mr Wise said.
“The significant loss dimension was not covered in the assessment carried out previously. The Post Disaster Needs Assessment provides the necessary information for Government, development partners and all stakeholders to respond effectively to short, medium and long term needs and priorities.
“The current PDNA simply provides the necessary strategy to address needs of those affected by TC Evan in a more targeted approach to ensure that limited resources available are used effectively.”
Mr Wise said the PDNA also allowed for better communication among stakeholders.
“This is a long term strategic approach to mainstreaming disaster risk reduction and empower our most vulnerable communities to take the necessary steps and develop better adaptation methods to minimise future impacts of natural disasters,” he said.
4. NASARAWAQA VILLAGE LIGHTS UP WITH SOLAR ENERGY
After 58 years of using lanterns and generators, villagers of Nasarawaqa in Bua, will now be able to access electricity just like any other household in urban areas.
The newly commissioned solar energy project in Nasarawaqa, Bua shows government’s commitment towards providing sustainable energy for our rural areas as well.
Puamau Rairaica, 58, said solar energy lighting would greatly benefit children of the village in terms of studying under proper lighting.
“Before we used to face many challenges in buying diesel for generators and kerosene for lanterns which is quite costly for most families,” Mr Rairaica said.
“Most villagers rely on their agricultural produce as source of income and not much is earned, however with this new installation we are able to save money to use for other purposes.”
The villagers contributed about $3000 and government invested close to $117,000.
While commissioning the solar home system projects Minister for Works, Transport and Public Utilities Colonel Timoci Natuva said accessing sustainable energy was critical to achieving economic and social development targets.
About 60 families will directly benefit from this solar home system projects in Nasarawaqa Village.
Villagers were also given an opportunity to share some of the challenges they face on daily basis during the talanoa session chaired by Minister Natuva.
Mereseini Senikau said transportation was a major setback during school days.
“When buses reach our village to transport our children to school they are either loaded or are hesitant to take the children because of safety reasons,” Mrs Senikau said.
She highlighted that villages had expressed interest to the Land Transport Authority for Rural Service License in the area.
Minister Natuva reassured villagers that the ministry would raise the issue with LTA to assist villagers.
5. SOLAR ENERGY IMPROVES LIVING STANDARDS
People living in Lalakoro, Dagau and Navudi settlements in Seaqaqa will now have access to proper electricity.
This follows the installation of government-funded solar energy projects under the Sustainable Energy Financing Project to increase the use of renewable energy to reduce the import of fuel.
An elated Ram Subhag said the installation of this solar energy project would greatly benefit their children’s education.
“For the past 53 years we have relied on lanterns and generators to provide light, which is quite costly, especially with the increase in prices of kerosene and diesel nowadays,” Mr Subhag said.
“We are grateful to Government for providing the 85 households, who live in this area with solar energy. It will be helpful to our children and future generation.”
Sharing similar sentiments 43-year-old Siliva Silinatoba said these solar panels would encourage residents living in the settlement to venture into macro-business.
Government has set aside a total of $8.5million under the 2013 budgetary allocation for rural electrification.
Minister for Works, Transport and Public Utilities Colonel Timoci Natuva while commissioning the solar energy project said Government continued to forge ahead positive initiatives and implemented close to 4000 solar home systems to assist people in the maritime and rural areas.
“The community has contributed close to $3000 for this project with Government investing close to $130,000 . This is a clear indication of the commitment of this Government to see developments in rural and maritime regions,” Colonel Natuva said.
“The benefits of such electrification projects will be immense, ranging from those at the macro-level to those directly felt by each member of the three settlements.”
Colonel Natuva acknowledged local company Powerlite Generators Company Limited for installing the solar systems.