Wednesday, April 24, 2024
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Disaster Bill gets Cabinet’s greenlight

Cabinet has approved the National Disaster Risk Management Bill.

In a statement, Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka said the bill is the outcome of a comprehensive review of the Natural Disaster Management Act 1998 (Act), spanning over two decades.

Rabuka said amongst key changes being brought in by the bill, is the expansion of the mandate for the disaster legislation to not only cover natural hazards but also all other potential hazards that may cause disasters, except for civil unrest and terrorism.

These include biological, environmental, geological or geophysical, hydro meteorological and technological hazards.

He said this is in line with the all-hazards approach for disaster and disaster risk management that is the global best practice promoted under the National Disaster Risk Reduction Policy and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.

Other key components of the Bill include:
– Emphasis on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and its practical application in the form of disaster risk management measures, due to the growing recognition of the role that early mitigation and prevention of risk plays in the alleviation and avoidance of disasters.

– Amalgamation of the functions of the current Preparedness and Mitigation committees to form the Disaster Risk Reduction committee, which will now be responsible for all disaster risk management activities except those for disaster and emergency response, which remains the mandate of the Emergency committee.

– Formalisation of the Fiji Cluster System for better coordination of humanitarian actors in the country.

– Establishment of Disaster Risk Management Committees at Divisional, Provincial, District, and Community levels to strengthen coordination for Preparedness, Response, Disaster Management, DRR, and climate change adaptation at all levels.

– Establishment of subnational offices of the NDMO to be headed by Divisional Disaster Risk Management Officers, which will ensure the main streaming of DRR, coordination of activities and provision of advice to Divisional Commissioners related to disaster risk management, disaster risk reduction and disaster management, at the subnational level.

– Regulation of international aid to mitigate against adverse consequences stemming from unsolicited bilateral donations and to oversee assistance that could potentially contribute to the issue of disaster-generated waste.

– Establishment of Single Window International facilitation teams.

– Development of an integrated multi-hazard early warning systems (EWS) across all levels (national to sub- national).

– Protection of Disaster Risk Management Volunteers with the requirement of volunteer organisations to formally register their intentions to engage disaster volunteers to provide a protective framework for volunteers, safeguarding them from any potential violations during their participation in disaster response efforts.

The Bill will be tabled in Parliament.

Ilaitia Ravuwai
Ilaitia Ravuwai
Journalist | news@fijilive.com

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