Friday, June 20, 2014

FSM Disaster "managers" to harmonize risks management and enhance resilience and safety

Participants, facilitators and officials during the opening day of the week long Disaster Risk Management Conference at the Pohnpei State Governor's Conference Room in Kolonia, Pohnpei.
FSMIS (June 20, 2014): Enhancing Safety and Resilience from Disasters and Climate Change Risks is the overall focus of a week-long conference organized by the FSM Office of Environment and Emergency Management (OEEM) with support from the International Office of Migration (IOM) and the 10th EDF ACP EU project in the Pacific that is being managed by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC).

The conference is attended by various representatives of the State Governments with disaster risks management-related roles, NGO's and other key personnel from Health, Education, Public Safety, Public Works, Statistics and Weather Services. It is part of a nation-wide effort to strengthen resilience to climate change and disaster impacts of all communities throughout the FSM after the adoption of the Nationwide Integrated Disaster Risk Management and Climate Change Policy and the Climate Change Act 2013.

Held at the Pohnpei State Administration Building, the conference started on June 16th with a brief formal kickoff ceremony at which Governor John Ehsa of the State of Pohnpei welcomed all participants and expressed his and Pohnpei State's support for the conference. The kickoff was also attended by members of the Diplomatic Corp.

When opening the conference, FSM OEEM Director Andrew Yatilman thanked the participants from the States as well as the facilitators and stressed the need for active participation throughout the week. He also highlighted that he anticipated having this type of get together on a yearly basis to allow for broad review of joint action on interventions and activities called for by the conference.

The participants at the conference shared experiences in their disaster response efforts at the States and viewed how disaster management plans are done in other regions. The over-riding emphasis throughout the week was, "how can the FSM and the States be more coordinated in providing internal support to one another in response to disaster and in building community resilience" apart from mitigation assistance for disaster recovery or other climate stress assistance from partners.

The conference outcome would serve to harmonize system-wide response to disaster and put in place a framework for mainstreaming actions towards building community resilience in the face of increasing threat of climate change. Each State would have the opportunity to strengthen the framework of action based on peculiar needs and priorities in coordination with the National Government counterpart and other partners.

The conference is concluding today.

For more information, contact the Office of Environment and Emergency Management at 320-8814 or email



  1. I think this is purely common sense. When ever a typhoon hits one of the islands, we should sent water and food (and maybe other initial safety essentials) to assist the people. We know from hundred years of experience that whenever a typhoon hits, the salt water usually spills into the taro patches and spoil the taro. The salt kills the breadfruit and many of the food we depends on for sustenance are either uprooted or down by the force of the typhoon. Everything comes to a halt quite temporarily for however long. Let us not repeat the same thing we did during typhoon Haiya when we sent an empty patrol boat down to eauripik just to do the assessment. Our priority should start first with radio communication with Eauripik to ask them what they need before we sent the boat down. Assessment will come later after we know the Eauripikese people have water and food to survive. Even the State government failed the Eauripikese. Why do they have to meet and asses before they can effectuate some assistance? Even a moron knows what to do during these kind of situation. We don't need the whole OEEM, IOM, EU, UMWES, or SPC (or a hundred of people to meet and decide on things of this nature.) Just thinking out loud.

  2. You're somewhat on target, but not entirely. In terms of preparedness and working on building resilience for our community, we need to enlist a broad spectrum of possible responders and supporters. The meeting was just about mitigating disasters, as in the unfortunate case your pointed out. It was also for looking ahead and synchronizing National/State/Partners/NGO's response preparedness, so that when disaster strikes, we are pretty much "on time" in the way to provide the type and amount of what may be needed. Further, climate conditions are projected to worsen in severity (and therefore impacts). We can not assume that anyone person could be ready and capable to protect his/her loved ones. I think it will more UMWES to think this way, not in terms of catastrophic disasters. So, the right thing to do is to collaborate. It is better to be over-represented and over-prepared (if there is such a thing) on the side of precaution than to regret after we had faced our worst fiasco.