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Australian Defence Force Conducts Disaster Awareness Workshop

Australian Defence Force Conducts Disaster Awareness Workshop
Australian and New Zealand Defence Force personnel at an Easter church service hosted in Suva by the Republic of Fiji Military Forces last Thursday. Photo: Australian Department of Defence/ Facebook
September 15
11:00 2017


A ten -day workshop on Disaster awareness, hosting officers from various local defence forces in Fiji began yesterday at the Holiday Inn in Suva as part of the Australian Army’s operation long reach.

The workshop aims to better familiarise participants with precautionary measures during natural disasters paying special attention to lessons learned from tropical cyclone Winston last year.

Participants include officials from the Ministry of Health and Medical Services, Fiji Corrections Services, National Disaster Management Office, Republic of Fiji Military Forces, Ministry of Education Heritage and Arts, Saint John Ambulance and the National Fire Authority.

Facilitating the workshop is Lieutenant Colonel Patrick O’Neill of the Australian army who has brought with him a team of 20 Australian army officers and civilians from emergency management in Australia who offered perspectives about the role of government in disaster management.

Mr O’Neill said, the first day was more about sharing experiences and lessons learned from previous natural disasters.

“Tomorrow (today) we’re going to start looking at some of the challenges we would like to solve to improve processes and start to improve resilience for natural disasters and next week we’re going to go into planning,” he said.

He said such activities were held regularly between Fiji and Australia.

“There was one conducted in 2015 just before Tropical cyclone Winston and so this is basically a regular activity that occurs every couple of years,” he said.

“There are other similar activities conducted throughout the region including PNG and Vanuatu.

“So it’s an opportunity for all regional partners to work together to try and make sure we are as prepared as possible.”

Mr O’Neill said such workshops were crucial for the Pacific because of our vulnerability to natural disasters.

“Because of what’s happened in the past, people in Fiji are much more experienced so it’s a good chance to share not just between the military but also with NDMO and some of the NGO’s who operate in and around Fiji.”

He said the response from local defence forces officers was positive.

“It’s been fantastic and we had a really great turnout.

“This has been a great opportunity to talk to everyone about challenges faced and work toward solutions,” he said.

Edited by Mohammed Ali



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