Japan pledges over US$5m to support disaster resilience in Vanuatu

Vanuatu, Japan and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) have signed an agreement to help strengthening resilience to disasters.

The ‘Strengthening Resilience to Disaster and Displacement Risks’ project is reported locally to be worth US$5.2 million.

It will give the Vanuatu government access to improved tools, knowledge, and skills to monitor and manage displacement risks.

Japan’s Ambassador to Vanuatu Okuda Naohisa said Japan had identified climate change and disaster risk reduction as a priority area during the Pacific Island Leaders’ Meeting back in 2021.

Naohisa said it was a great honor to sign the agreement on behalf of the Government and people of Japan.

“The project will build institutional capacity and strengthen national and community resilience to disaster and displacement risks in Vanuatu, including the development of urban risk mapping tools and the construction and rehabilitation of multi- purpose evacuation centres,”he said.

“This is expected to contribute to improving natural disaster response capacity, promoting human security and stimulating socio-economic activities in Vanuatu.

“We believe that this project will support preventive measures to save lives and livelihoods in the event of natural disasters, which in turn will support and accelerate the country’s recovery.”

Naohisa said the IOM has been working closely with the Vanuatu government, provincial governments and other partners in the field of disasters and mobility management since 2011.

He said the IOM has a high level of expertise in the field of disaster and evacuation management and has worked in many places of the world, including in Pacific Island countries.

Crucial response

IOM’s Vanuatu emergency coordinator Steven Clegg said disasters disproportionately impact vulnerable communities, exacerbating inequalities and triggering internal displacement, especially affecting women, children, the disabled and marginalised groups.

Clegg said their three-year project aims to enhance community resilience and reduce the risk of disaster-related displacement.

It focuses on multi-purpose evacuation centers, community-based disaster management, and displacement risk mapping, with a strong focus on these highly vulnerable groups.

“Our commitments through this project include building and renovating evacuation centres, for safe, dignified, and equitable access during emergencies, capacitating and empowering community committees, and developing tools for evidence-based decision-making,” he said.

“IOM will continue to collaborate with the Government of Japan, the Government of Vanuatu, as well as other key partners and stakeholder to address these challenges.

“This initiative aligns with global, regional, and national frameworks, including recovery plans, sustainable development goals, and disaster risk reduction strategies.

He said the project is a crucial step towards a resilient Vanuatu, ensuring no one is left behind in the face of disasters.

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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