IMF lauds Fiji's efforts for its approach in disaster risk management

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has applauded the Fijian Government for its proactive approach in disaster risk management at the national level.

The IMF’s Asia and Pacific Department director, Changyong Rhee, says he has continued to work very closely with the Fijian government in this area and was happy to note that inroads have been made through the national budget and other key policies to achieve this.  
Rhee is currently in the country co – hosting a high level dialogue for 13 Pacific countries in efforts to “Enhancing Macroeconomic Resilience to Natural Disasters in the Pacific Islands.”  
“The IMF prioritises work in Pacific Island Countries (PICs) because of its vulnerabilities to natural disasters and given that PICs are low income states like other small island developing states, the IMF prioritises PICs because they are more vulnerable than any other region such as the Caribbean and Africa’s Low Income countries (LICs),” he said.  
“But Fiji remains a leader in the Pacific region having channelled its focus from being reactive to being proactive through policies developed and implemented with the central bank (Reserve Bank of Fiji).”  
He added that the IMF would continue to financially support strengthening disaster risk programmes in the country and the region.  
“We (IMF) would like to closely work with the Pacific to formulate a Pacific Catastrophe Risk Insurance pilot programme,” Rhee said.  
Opened by the Attorney General and Minister for Finance Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, the dialogue brings together leading policymakers from 13 Pacific Island nations, as well as representatives from regional development partners, international financial organisations and global think tanks.  
“We believe that good policies reinforced by capacity building, and financial support, can greatly enhance the country’s resilience and capacity to respond to natural disasters. The IMF can help in this respect in strong partnership with the Pacific island authorities and other development partners,” Rhee added.  
Meanwhile, Members of the public have been advised to conserve water and to use water sparingly as rainfall prediction models have calculated below average rainfall in the near future.  
This follows a meeting by the Mitigation and Preparedness Committee for national disasters yesterday to address the El Nino currently affecting the Fiji group.  
In the meeting, the National Disaster Management Office acting director Akapusi Tuifagalele briefed the Committee members on Fiji’s current dry weather conditions and also on the adverse effects of the El Nino already affecting some communities in Fiji.  
“An El Nino has developed at a moderate level but is expected to intensify within the next few months. Already our District Offices have begun to receive water carting requests from places like Lau and Kadavu”.  
“We are advising the public to conserve and to use water wisely because rainfall prediction models have calculated below average rainfall in the near future,” Tuifagalele said.  
Fiji Meteorological Services director Ravind Kumar also said that the El Nino in the tropical Pacific is intensifying.
“Below average rainfall in most parts of the country have been measured in the past few months and is likely over majority of the country through both the June to August and September to November periods”.  
Kumar stated that once elements of a drought are evident then a state of drought could be declared.