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Fiji: International Disaster Reduction Day 2012

11 September 2012

International Day for Disaster Reduction concludes National Disaster Awareness Week for Fiji, 2012

Levuka town in the province of Lomaiviti, the national heritage for Fiji as the old capital in the early eighteen hundreds was chosen to be the NDAW location for the country.

The International Day for Disaster Reduction (IDDR) was also celebrated in Levuka town on 12/10/2012, with the international theme ‘Women and Girls, the( in)visible Force of Resilience’ as part of the NDAW. The IDDR concluded the 1 week program Fiji National Disaster Awareness Week.

The program started with the reading of the statement by the United Nations Secretary General to celebrate the IDDR 2012. It was followed by speeches from a prominent woman and three girls’ students representing all girls and students in schools in Levuka. Some of the excerpts that they shared were:

‘Women and girls are invaluable in disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation processes if real community resilience and a significant reduction of disaster impacts are to be achieved. Women must always be part of policy, planning and implementation processes.’

‘Natural disaster is indiscriminate to any country, community or region. Mother nature is a very powerful element in our lives. We, mankind over the years have angered this powerful element. Her wrath has been revealed, through wave after wave of natural disasters and it is time we make our cities and villages resilient on its onslaught’.

‘Actions speak louder than words and it is a clear indication of commitments by women and girls.

‘Woman and girls are the pillars of resilience. They are the first to prepare their families for disaster and the first to put communities back together in the aftermath. It is not gender, but gender inequality put women and girls in harm’s way when disaster strikes. Therefore it can be said that women and girls are the invisible force of resilience.

Marquees and tents put up by the organizers filled with hundreds of students around the island were reinforced of impacts of disasters, especially about girls and women.

The day program concluded with a tsunami simulation exercise where more than 2,000 members of Levuka town were evacuated to high grounds. Included were some elderly women over 80years of age and the whole business and school communities.