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Tsunami Preparedness Vital: Seruiratu

Tsunami Preparedness Vital: Seruiratu
Minister for Agriculture, Rural & Maritime Development, and National Disaster Management Inia Seruiratu with teachers and officials that assisted in the tsunami drill for schools in Suva on March 1, 2018. Photo: Ronald Kumar
March 02
11:00 2018

Proper planning for a tsu­nami would save the lives of our loved ones, said the Min­ister for Agriculture, Rural and Maritime Development, Disaster Management, and Meteorological Services, Inia Seruiratu.

The theme for this year’s Nation­al Disaster Awareness Week focus­es on the tsunami hazard and the need for all Fijians to “Be Tsunami Ready”.

The minister said the theme was appropriate because the last tsu­nami to affect Suva was in 1953.

“Tsunami preparedness was im­portant because it was the best way to ensure the safety of our families and protection of properties and assets,” Mr Seruiratu said.

He said it was important for Fiji to be constantly ready and pre­pared for a tsunami.

Emergency operators needed to be adequately prepared for such an event, he said.

“Our teachers and students need to be prepared for tsunami events,” the minister said.

“Today’s tsunami evacuation ex­ercise would provide a few schools represented here the opportunity to test their tsunami preparedness and evacuation plans.

“It would also give key respond­ing authorities and the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) the chance to test their co-ordination and response plans.”

Mr Seruiratu quoted Japanese scientist Torahiko Terada, who is an expert in the study of earth­quakes: “The next disaster will strike when the memory of the last one has been forgotten.”

Mr Seruiratu added: “Because that was 65 years ago, most Fijians today are unfamiliar or have no first-hand experiences with tsuna­mis.”

Five schools participated during the tsunami drill: Veiuto Primary School, Draiba Primary School, Stella Maris Primary School, Sacred Heart College and Suva Grammar School. These schools are located along the Suva water­front, in Suva point.

Chandra Pillay, principal of Suva Grammar School said that the drills were about preparing for tsunamis.

He said that through the drill the students would know the quickest and safest place to go in the event of a tsunami occuring.

Makereta Lagilagi, 17, a school prefect of Suva Grammar School said that she was better informed of what to do in case a tsunami oc­curred.

Edited by George Kulamaiwasa

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