Islands seek new ways to deal with disasters


Mrs D’Offay addressing delegates at the opening of the workshop yesterday

They are doing so in a two-day workshop being held at the International Conference Centre.

Citing disasters which recently claimed lives in Madagascar and Mauritius, and those which caused extensive damage in countries like Seychelles, Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) liaison officer for Seychelles Jeanette D’Offay said “we cannot rely on the older methods only, as they seem inadequate”.

“We need to be better prepared to deal with catastrophes and this is what the delegates are looking at.

“We need to see how disasters are linked to certain things and consider how we can better foresee these events,” she said.

The organisers said the IOC through its European Union-funded Islands project is seeking to develop a tool to mitigate the economical impact of natural disasters through what it called a risk transfer mechanism.

The United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) and the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) are supporting the implementation of the mechanism.
At the workshop are key actors in disaster management as well as major partners in the south-west Indian Ocean.

A grant agreement for US $543,000 from the UNISDR is due to be signed this afternoon, marking the launch of the IOC, UNISDR and GFDRR collaboration.

Over the last 10 years, most small island states have established preventive and preparatory measures against natural and climatic disasters.

These measures have generally helped to reduce loss of lives and property but the losses have continued to increase because societies are more vulnerable.

Delegates and guests in a souvenir photograph

Direct losses due to natural disasters in the past 30 years in the five member countries of the Indian Ocean Commission is estimated at nearly US $2.8 billion.

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