Tsunami Response Plans to benefit Port Vila and South Efate Communities

Picture caption: Members of the Anamburu Ward Council discussing their tsunami response plans during the workshop.

The creation of the Tsunami Response Plans for Port Vila and South Efate will benefit communities, commuters, including visitors to response effectively to any future tsunami warnings.

The creation of these response plans was put together by the members of the Community Disaster and Climate Change Committees (CDCCC) formed as part of the Mainstreaming Disaster Risk Reduction (MDRR) Project in Vanuatu, which is currently implemented by the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-hazards Department (VMGD) in partnership with the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) on behalf of the Vanuatu Government.

There are 21 CDCCCs for Port Vila Municipality Ward Councils and 28 CDCCC created within the South Efate Area Councils, which covers Eratap, Erakor, Pango, Ifira, Tanvasoko and Mele Area Councils under Shefa Province. Over one hundred CDCCC members attended a training workshop last week in Port Vila aimed at building their capacity by knowing their roles and responsibilities as CDCCC members within their own communities.

The main outcomes of the training are that CDCCC members developed their Wards and Area Councils Tsunami response plans, understanding on their roles and responsibilities as CDCCC members, have a better understanding of NDMO’s response structure and understand the tsunami early warning system and how it works.

The tsunami response plan is basically an evacuation plan that will assist communities to respond better to any future warnings. The response plans highlighted the various roles and responsibilities of different groups like Chiefs, Churches, Women, Youth, teachers, health workers and those vulnerable groups within our communities before, during and after a tsunami disaster event.

The response plans is targeted to include the various responsibilities of the Port Vila Municipal Council and Shefa Province at the top level, then to the Ward and Area Councils level and the Community level (CDCCC) on how best all levels can prepare, response and recover effectively to the tsunami hazard.

For the benefit of the Mainstreaming Disaster Risk Reduction Project, the tsunami response plans will show all tsunami evacuation signs; danger zones, safe location, right and left evacuation routes and tsunami information boards. These signs will soon be installed within Port Vila and its surrounding peri-urban areas. Each Ward or Area Council Tsunami Response Plan will have the total number of all different evacuation signs, tsunami information boards and their locations. How many of these signs to be installed in each of the communities within Port Vila and South Efate areas are mentioned in the response plans. The Port Vila Municipality and South Efate Tsunami response plans will have all CDCCC boundaries and total of all evacuation signs and information boards.

When the tsunami response plans completed, community members are encouraged to work closely with their community leaders and CDCCC members to know their plans and their roles as members of their own communities to ensure all are tsunami ready in future.

As one of the most vulnerable countries to natural hazards like tsunami on earth, Vanuatu needs to prepare and be equipped with the right knowledge and information about tsunami warnings and how to response better. And having response plans for our communities can maximize our disaster preparedness to any natural disasters in the future.