Seruiratu urges for early preparation ahead of new cyclone season

Fiji’s Minister for National Disaster Management Inia Seruiratu reiterated the importance of working together to avoid loss of lives in the wake of the release of the 2021/22 Tropical Cyclone outlook which predicts one to three cyclones to affect Fiji, with one or two likely to reach severe intensity, of a category 3 status or above.

At least five people died during the height of TC Yasa and Ana that hit Fiji within a month in the last cyclone season an outcome that the ministry hopes, that with everyone’s assistance, will not be repeated in the 2021/22 cyclone season.

Hence Seruiratu said the theme of this year’s International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction, ‘Only Together’, is fitting in amplifying the ministry’s plea to the public to prepare in earnest as well for the forthcoming cyclone season.

Today, the ministry started rolling out preparedness messages via the mobile network providers as part of its National Disaster Awareness Media campaign which was launched in Suva.

Seruiratu said the messaging and awareness raising which will run for six months will not only focus on disaster preparedness and the issue of LTDD, but also to increase awareness around dealing with COVID-19 in the context of disasters.

“Through our Media Campaign which will run from October 2021 to April 2022, you can expect to see preparedness, response and recovery messaging – all in an effort to reinforce a culture of risk resilience so that ultimately, lives and properties are saved during disasters.  You can expect to view messages, videos and stories on best practices of disaster preparedness and even listen in to DRR webinars planned for the National Disaster Awareness Week from the 19th of October.  We want you to be prepared and we are going to exhaust all media avenues possible to ensure that even our remotest communities are reached,” Seruiratu said.

He also acknowledged the role that the media plays in the dissemination of preparedness messages ahead of disasters, and urges for media organisations’ continued support in this regard.

“At no time like the present has mass media proven its importance. While the COVID19 pandemic has restricted gatherings and travel, mass media has allowed us to reach those near and far in keeping us connected.

“I thank the members of the media in effectively playing their role in disseminating messages on disaster preparedness and disaster risk reduction. Your role in providing the right message at the right time has helped save lives through and protect properties through early warnings. Your instantaneous outreach plays a vital role in educating the individual and communities about disasters and gathering and transmitting information about affected areas.

“To our friends in the media, I wish to again reiterate that there is no better time that we should be engaging more collaboratively then where we are right now. It is now back to business for us. We may always have differing opinions when reporting about disasters, but this must never stop you from getting people the information they need before, during and after a disaster.”

The tropical cyclone (TCs) season runs from November to April, with the peak TC activity normally experienced from January to March. However, TCs have occasionally occurred during October and May.

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