WFP gathers responders to hatch local solutions to emergency logistics in North Pacific
MAJURO – More than forty emergency response experts come together today in Majuro, to identify locally-led solutions to overcome logistics challenges that can hinder disaster response in the North Pacific region. Efficient logistics can make or break a humanitarian response, and the event aims to ensure that when the next emergency strikes, affected islanders can respond quickly and effectively.
The geographical expanse of the North Pacific poses unique challenges of time, transport and distance; Kiribati’s 33 coral atolls and islands alone are scattered over 3.5 million km2.
Transport, storage and other logistical elements can account for up to 80 percent of the cost of a humanitarian response, which means effective systems and preparedness are not only vital for effective disaster response, but mean economic savings too.
“Our region’s isolated geography and fragile environment makes it vulnerable to natural disasters, extreme weather and the effects of climate change,” said Timmy Langrine, Director of RMI’s NDMO.
“This workshop presents a great opportunity to learn from across the Pacific, and to share not only our common logistics challenges and gaps during disaster preparedness and response, but also our solutions and best practices,” he noted.
The Pacific Logistics Cluster sub-regional workshop is convened by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), as lead of the Pacific Logistics Cluster, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) National Disaster Management Office (NDMO), and brings together actors from the RMI, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati and Palau.
The five-day event – the first of its kind in the region – includes a range of simulation exercises which will be based on a real-life Tsunami emergency scenario. Participants from each country will have to design and fine-tune a response which will lay the ground-work for the development of their own national Logistics Cluster work plans. Additionally, field visits to a local shipping port and storage warehouse are also planned. The goal is to create a forum in which participants are able to learn from each other and improve their capacity to respond when disaster strikes.
Participants will examine common logistics challenges faced during natural disasters, look at what has worked best, and lay the foundations for strengthened disaster response structures. The workshop includes participants from NDMOs, government ministries, NGOs, military, private sector, and UN agencies
“This workshop provides an unmatched opportunity to focus on the specific challenges encountered by our North Pacific colleagues, and to support them in developing locally-led solutions,” said Florent Chané, Logistics Coordinator at the WFP Pacific Office.
WFP has been present in the Pacific since 2015 when it responded to Tropical Cyclones Pam in Vanuatu and Winston in Fiji, and has since been working to strengthen regional government’s capacities to prepare for and respond to disasters. WFP’s support in the North Pacific began in 2017, and is coordinated through the agency’s Pacific office based in Fiji.