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Opening Of Blackrock Camp To Help Fight Climate Battle

The establishment of the Blackrock peacekeeping camp will help en¬sure that Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF) troops are trained to fight the climate war.
01 Apr 2022 16:30
Opening Of Blackrock Camp To Help Fight Climate Battle
Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama and the Australian Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Senator Zed Seselja following the opening of the Blackrock Peacekeeping and Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Camp in Nadi on March 14, 2022. Photo: Nicolette Chambers

The establishment of the Blackrock peacekeeping camp will help en­sure that Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF) troops are trained to fight the climate war.

While opening Blackrock camp in Votua­levu Nadi, Prime Minister Voreqe Baini­marama said the climate war has been one the most alarming war Fiji has ever faced.

“I do not need to remind a single soldier here that we face this relentless war in our communities and at our shorelines every day,” he said.

 

“It is being fought in Bua, in Kadavu, in Vatulele, and in Gau. It is being fought in Lami, in Nadi, Ba, and Lautoka.

“It is being fought in every home, in every community, and at every meter of shoreline in Fiji and the Pacific. And no force in the world has contended with more of these climate disasters than the RFMF.

“14 cyclones have struck Fiji since 2016. More than 40 of our communities are at risk of being erased by the rising seas. The banks of our 45 rivers are breaking on a near-monthly basis under the strain of persistently record-breaking rains.

 

“In every disaster of every nature, it is you that Fiji calls upon first. You are the world’s most battle-tested veterans in the climate war upon us.”

He said the climate war will not be won with guns, ammo, and artillery.

“It will be won with seawalls, resilient infrastructure, and cutting-edge technol­ogy,” Mr Bainimarama added.

 

“It will be won with knowledge –– knowl­edge of building practices, disaster man­agement, and mitigative measures we can take to cushion the blow of storms and other severe weather.

“It will be won through facilities such as Blackrock where we will elevate training, preparedness, and response capabilities for both traditional conflict and humani­tarian disasters to a world-leading level.”

 

From the operational hub of Blackrock camp, Mr Bainimarama said RFMF troops will belong in every disaster-related de­ployment in the region.

He said RFMF’s engineering corps are re­configuring its capacity around engineer­ing, humanitarian and disaster response skillsets to make it the premier climate response force in the world.

“Whether they are super-storms in Va­nuatu, bushfires or floods in Australia, volcanic eruptions in Tonga, or social up­heavals in Solomon Islands and Bougain­ville –– you are who the Pacific calls upon.

 

“You are called upon because no matter how trying the circumstances, our neigh­bors know that you will not fail them; they trust you will stay with them through to the other side.

“Through the partnerships that define this project, you will work intimately with our Australian counterparts and with other partners on a day-to-day basis. We will enlist expertise from our develop­ment partners, with New Zealand and the US, especially, as opportunities arise,” Mr Bainimarama said.

 

He said the opening of the Blackrock camp is a milestone moment as it not only honours Fiji’s 42-year peacekeeping legacy, it hones the future mission of the RFMF.

“We will ensure that our forces are pro­fessionally equipped to identify and ad­dress the extreme vulnerabilities that women and children face across all these theatres of conflict,” he said.

“And we will see more women empow­ered as soldiers and as leaders in this ser­vice to humanity.

“This is our commitment to our men and women in uniform. This is our commit­ment to the United Nations,” he said.

 

 

Feedback: laiseana.nasiga@fijisun.com.fj



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