Analysis

Need For International Funding For Natural Disasters

Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum has been calling on the international agencies to make funds available to the Pacific Island nations, which could be accessed when hit by natural disasters.
10 Apr 2020 12:08
Need For International Funding For Natural Disasters
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama (right) during his visit to areas affected by Tropical Cyclone Harold, including Bhawani Dayal Arya College in Nakasi. Photo: Office of the Prime Minister

Fiji had barely recovered from the devastation left behind by the second strongest storm in the Southern Hemisphere TC Winston and now we have to prepare ourselves to bounce back from the havoc wreaked by TC Harold and the COVID-19 pandemic.

The road to recovery is not going to be smooth sailing and it will be long before things normalise. These are extraordinary times we are living in, something many in our generation had not faced. Various international agencies had labelled the economic fallout from COVID-19 to be worse than the 2008 global financial crisis.

In the Pacific, our problems are far worse. While dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, we now have to deal with TC Harold’s wrath. Vanuatu has been badly battered.

Homes have been flattened, demolished, peoples’ lives have been forced to change forever.

This is where we need the international organisations to act swiftly. This is where multilateral development banks need to act swiftly.

International funding

Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum has been calling on the international agencies to make funds available to the Pacific Island nations, which could be accessed when hit by natural disasters.

It is not enough that funds are made available, it is extremely important that funds are made available fast. Post TC Winston, our good friends, Australia, France, India, to name a few, had jumped into action and sent in their troops and aid relatively quickly.

This time around things are expected to be different. Every country including our good friends are fighting the war against the coronavirus. Airports are closed, resources have been put towards keeping their own citizens safe.

Australia has already pledged $F350,000 assistance towards TC Harold rehabilitation.

This is far from having their troops come in and help on the ground, which is something we cannot expect given the unusual circumstances we find ourselves in.

Pacific Island countries seem to be on their own this time around. Help will no doubt come but countries such as Australia and New Zealand who have always been first to lend a helping hand are currently preoccupied.

It will be an interesting next few days to see how the world steps in to assist Pacific Island nations while keeping their own people safe from COVID-19 and trying to contain its spread.

This is where assistance from agencies such as the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and Asian Development Bank come in to help Pacific.

Feedback: jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

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