Booth preparations towards IDDRR in Eton Village

Eton villagers are fortunate to be part of this year’s launching of the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction (IDDRR).

This year’s event will be celebrated over three days; commencing today, 2nd of November and ending on Friday the 4th.

National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) coordinator of Communications and Community engagement sub-cluster, Bronwyn Olul, said the day is normally celebrated to reflect back on major past disasters and acknowledge the progress being made towards reducing disaster risks and losses in lives, livelihoods, and health.

“Every year, this day is celebrated under a roadmap that was set up internationally as a guide when there is a disaster,’ she explained.

“This roadmap will be utilised until 2030.”

Ms Olul said this year’s event was celebrated with the target to enhance warning systems, not just for tsunamis, but others such as La Niña and El Niño, as well as boost early warning systems for inclusivity. This way, the elderly and people living with a disability will not be left out.

“We believe that we have the right to an early warning system, so we can give timely warnings to people and they can react and respond, taking appropriate measures to stay safe in times of disaster,” she said.

She added the event is not just a celebration, but also an event with a goal to work with the idea that early warning and action can save lives.

“We try to contextualize the whole theme and concepts each year to meet the needs of the people in our communities,” she said.

“This year’s event will substantially increase the availability and access to multi-hazards early warning systems, disaster risk information and assessment to people by 2030.

“The NDMO wants to bring the IDDRR celebration down to the community level.

“As shown from past experiences, SHEFA and other provinces have experienced disasters every year, and Efate has also become a hub for evacuees during emergency responses.

“For this year’s celebration, there will be songs, essays, drama, and poem competitions,” she said.

“Public awareness will include awareness through bags and T-shirts designed with hazard key messages, as well as theatre groups, and partners will showcase their work in the booths.”

Ms Olul added that after the event, people are expected to be more knowledgeable on various disasters and how to reduce the risks in their respective communities, increase community awareness on multi-hazards early warning system availability and accessibility, as well as disaster risk information and assessment.

Basically, the 3-day occasion aims to enhance the community’s knowledge on adaptation to unforeseen extreme disaster events.

Community Disaster and Climate Change Committee (CDCCC) officer at Eton village, Dorah Willie, said people in the community and around Efate are looking forward to this event and have been preparing to be part of it.

“The Eton community have had meetings and have prepared since last month, in terms of cleaning up, building of booths, just to finalise everything for the event,” she said.

“It is a significant celebration, disseminating information on disaster preparedness and survival.”

Meanwhile, Ms Olul noted that the IDDRR is celebrated on October 13 every year, but this year it was moved to November, after the Vanuatu Electoral Office’s abrupt announcement that the Snap Election will take place on the 13th.