NRH support programme for doctors progresses
Quoting the Island Sun newspaper – 18 February 2019
“The 2019 intake for the National Referral Hospital (NRH) Internship Supervision Support Programme (SIGISSP) for newly graduate Doctors is progressing positively.
“According to Dr Steve Aumanu, Chief Executive Officer for NRH, the number of medical trainees undertaking the NRH bridging programme is growing.
“Dr. Aumanu said this has indicated an achievement for the country in the medical field and also a positive sign that signifies the programme is progressing well.
“He said for this year there are 18 trainees in the introductory Bridging Programme year – four from Fiji's private medical school (UPSM), and six each from medical schools in Cuba and Taiwan – plus 36 interns completing their two-year internship.
“Dr.Aumanu stressed this training is essential for the growth and advancement of the country’s medical practitioners.”
Copyright @ 2019, Island Sun newspaper
View of NZ changing in the Pacific - Cooks MP
Quoting Radio New Zealand – 18 February 2019
“The perception of New Zealand held by Pacific leaders is changing, the deputy prime minister of the Cook Islands says.
“In a speech in Auckland, Mark Brown said the leaders were comfortable courting a range of partners, even if that makes Wellington uncomfortable.
“The views of today are vastly different to when the Cook Islands gained independence in 1965, Mr Brown said.
“Then, Pacific leaders would defer to the former colonial masters because there was a view that they knew better, he said.
“But that thinking has changed and now leaders are confident of their place in the world and cognisant of their growing strategic importance, Mr Bown said.
“With that, the New Zealand's government's Pacific re-set strategy is more of a catch-up to resets that happened in the region years ago, he said.
“While emphasising the importance of his country's relationship with New Zealand, Mr Brown added that it was important that Wellington changed the way it engaged with the region.”
Copyright @ 2019, Radio New Zealand
17 February 2019
Solomon Islands: Emergency Planning and Evacuation Centres in terms of adaptability to climate change
An official of the Western Provincial Disaster Office recently called for the need for evacuation facilities to provide proper shelter when people are evacuated due to “bad weather conditions.”
With the growing evidence of the impact of climate change throughout the Solomon Islands the need for purpose built evacuation shelters is likely to concern the incoming government, national disaster management officials, the Red Cross and all the other agencies and NGO’s involved in disaster and emergency planning and relief.
Purpose built evacuation centres are already under consideration In Fiji and Vanuatu, both countries having suffered extensively from Cyclones in recent years.
The Philippines and Japan are two other countries that have prepared emergency centres as a consequence of natural disasters and in accordance with National Disaster Emergency Plans.
The “bad weather conditions’ experienced in the Solomon Islands can safely be attributed to climate change and, sadly, climate change is already here, and it will be for the next generation and more. It is now important for the Solomon Islands Government to ensure all steps are taken to ensure resiliency and an integrated approach to adaptation is planned that will transcend political and economic boundaries.
I know the SIG has had government officials seek advice and training in respect of the Green Climate Fund, which is a fund established within the framework of the UNFCCC as an operating entity of the Financial Mechanism to assist developing countries in their adaptation and mitigation practices to counter climate change.
The objective of the Green Climate Fund is to "support projects, programmes, policies and other activities in developing country using thematic funding windows.
One project proposal I know of which was considered by the Green Climate Fund was aimed at strengthening the resilience of the most vulnerable coastal communities to climate change in the Philippines’ Eastern Seaboard.
Could the SIG request a similar project be funded by the Green Climate Fund to help vulnerable communities in the Solomon Islands and, perhaps, see to the erection of evacuation centres in the best strategically located places?
In the Philippines the government there has been active in giving general advice on climate change preparedness and I will quote just a few of the long-term policy instructions that might offer some guidance in respect of similar long-term practices and actions still needed at home.
“The community can adapt to become stronger and more resilient even before disaster strikes. Some of the most vulnerable areas are ecosystems, agriculture, water management, energy, infrastructure and food security.
“The more intact and balanced an ecosystem is, the more likely it can survive disasters. Ecosystems, whether aquatic or forest, are often the lifelines of communities which depend on them for food and livelihood. To make these communities less vulnerable to climate change and disasters, ecosystems should be protected from deforestation, illegal poaching and destruction of coral reefs or mangrove forests.
“Agriculture must be made climate-responsive. Farmers make use of new technology that can protect their crops from climate change. This can include new harvesting and planting techniques, climate-resilient crop varieties.
“The community's energy should not be completely reliant on fossil fuel and the national power grid. There should be investment in renewable energy like solar, wind and geothermal power which can provide electricity even when main power lines are cut off by storms. Eventually, the community should be able to make a complete shift to renewable energy because this so-called "clean" energy emits less carbon thus helping curb global warming
“Food security can be achieved by stocking up on essential food like rice to be stored in time for a disaster. But this also means strengthening agricultural systems against climate change and ensuring food from the farms and fields also reach more urbanized areas in the community.
Provide funding and equipment
“The national and local government must find ways to finance climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction programs. This can come in the form of disaster preparedness management grants or technical assistance for the project.
Train the people
“Human resources are one of the most valuable assets to have when dealing with disaster and climate change. Locals must be trained to face extreme weather events through workshops, seminars and the popularization of good practices (like evacuating to higher ground when a storm approaches
“Best practices and good ideas should be documented and shared among the community and to other communities who can benefit from the knowledge.”
In ending this piece, I might just add that an increasing number of municipalities in Japan are signing contracts to have manufacturers supply evacuation centres with beds that can be assembled from cardboard boxes.
With natural disasters striking all around the nation, members of the public are also getting involved in education campaigns and manufacturing such beds.
Inserting paper boards for reinforcement and placing a large piece of cardboard on top produced a bed that is 1.9m long, 90cm wide and 38cm high.
It takes one person about 15 minutes to put the bed together. Able to withstand a 9 tonne load, the small boxes can also be used to store an evacuee's clothing and daily supplies.
Elderly people with weak backs and legs like them (the beds) because they're easier on the body.
Strengthening trade and seasonal work a key for Vanuatu in Australia
Quoting Radio New Zealand – 17 February 2019
“Vanuatu's Foreign Minister Ralph Regenvanu has been in Australia this week to strengthen trade and seasonal work arrangements.
“He met with his Australian counterpart Marise Payne and the Assistant Minister for International Development and the Pacific Anne Ruston.
“Discussions focused on improving economic relations, including the kava trade.
“This led to an agreement for an outreach programme by Vanuatu leaders to indigenous communities in the Northern Territory, where Kava abuse is reportedly a problem.
“Mr Regenvanu also visited farms in North Sydney, where he was briefed on the experiences and working environment of ni-Vanuatu under the Seasonal Workers Programme.
“He said Vanuatu continues to emphasise incremental increases of ni-Vanuatu to the programme and the Pacific Labour Scheme, which is trialling three year visas for workers in Australia's horticulture sector.
Copyright © 2019, Radio New Zealand
16 February 2019
Climate change impacts becoming all too evident in the Solomon Islands.
In January this year torrential rainfall caused widespread flooding, landslides, the loss of many homes and other property damage and disruption to the lives of more than 100,000 people.
This last week 60 percent of people living in Honiara were without a water supply after Solomon Water closed off its Kongulai Pump Station on the outskirts of Honiara due to prevailing adverse weather conditions.
In a statement Solomon Water explained the closure of the Pump Station due to the high turbidity (silt and dirt particles in the water) experienced from the continuous rainfall during the past week.
Solomon Water does not yet have a water treatment plant to filter dirt out of the water in heavy rainfall periods.
Also last week rough seas and bad weather reportedly caused the MV Solomon Trader to hit a reef in Kangava Bay off Rennell Island posing problems not only to the vessel but also to the protected marine area since the ship was loaded with bauxite.
A few days ago, village people of Kwai and Ngongosila Islands in east Malaita had to be evacuated to the mainland due to strong winds and high seas that reportedly hammered the Islands.
Both islands are low lying and are increasingly threatened by sea level rise, salt water intrusion, loss of food gardens and threats to the livelihoods of the inhabitants.
One village spokesman said the islands are no longer safe for the people – and this despite all attempts to mitigate the intrusion of the sea water.
Today, it is said that the current bad weather, influenced by yet another regional Cyclone, “Oma.”, has started to hinder the pre-election arrangements in the country.
All flights to affected provinces have been grounded and all ships are weathering the storm in port.
The bad weather is affecting travel plans for intending candidates, who are required to register their nominations in person by next Wednesday.
We all know climate change will affect different parts of the Solomon Islands in different ways but in general the likelihood for more rainfall, more unpredictable weather, higher temperatures, coastal erosion and increased risk of disease is becoming all too common.
If such climate change trends continue, and they are likely too, then decades of hitherto development gains will be further threatened and put at risk efforts to eradicate poverty levels.
It will be vitally important for a new government to put in place strategies and plans to ensure sustainable development in the country with sound adaptive policies and especially bearing in mind the sound scientific evidence that sea levels in the country are predicted to rise as much as 1 meter by 2100, increasing the level of risks to low lying coastal communities.
The rising sea levels will also expose coastal communities to coastal salt water intrusion and lead to decreased amounts of fresh water, risk to food gardens and health risks.
Rising temperatures may also lead to the increased likelihood of more intense and longer periods of rainfall, leading to an increased risk of flooding.
The likelihood of tropical cyclones developing may also increase along with increased storms and general bad weather out in the ocean, leading to increased risks to sea farers.
On land, risks due to these changes may include risks to human lives, properties, infrastructure damage, diseases and risks to certain economic activities such as tourism.
In terms of furthering its national climate change police, it is to be hoped the new administration will further aim to enhance the country’s adaptive capacity while pursuing a path of low-carbon development, based on covering finance, technology, vulnerability and adaption, however difficult this might be to achieve, as evidenced by the latest evacuations from Kwai and Ngongosila Islands.