The Minister for Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology Bradley Tovosia “turned the switch on” after receiving the equipment from Japanese Ambassador to Solomon Islands, Mr Kenichi Kimiya at the SIBC Transmission Station at the Henderson International Airport today.
The more than SB$40 million facility is donated under a project called “Improvement of Radio Broadcasting Network for Disaster Prevention”.
Ambassador Kimiya said the project is in line with one of his Government’s priority policy which is climate change adaptation and disaster risk management in view of Japan’s early experiences in disaster risk prevention.
He also noted that the Solomon Islands Government also prioritizes disaster risk management as an urgent matter.
Components of the project which JICA has procured and installed include a shortwave transmitter system, a shortwave antennae system, a transmitter power supply system, a disaster prevention broadcasting communication radio system, a program transmission link equipment and peripherals, tools and spare parts to maintain the equipment which are provided to SIBC under the supervision of the Prime Minister’s Office.
The project now enables the provision of a 24 hours shortwave radio broadcasting and communication between respective government authorities. It also increases the coverage of radio broadcasting to nearly 100 percent of the country’s population which will be significant to unite the country for disaster preparation.
Ambassador Kimiya noted the importance of information and communications in the face of disasters - highlighting Japan’s experience in 2011 when a tsunami triggered by a 9.0 magnitude quake struck the northern and eastern parts of Japan.
“This tragic event awakes us seriously that information communications infrastructure to strengthen early warning systems should be delivered as an urgent matter”.
“I believe the project definitely contributes toward minimizing impacts of such natural disasters in Solomon Islands,” Ambassador Kimiya said.
Mr Tovosia thanked the Government and people of Japan for the gift saying Solomon Islands is prone to natural disasters and the information communications infrastructure is crucial to minimize risks during disasters.
Mr Tovosia said transmission of early warnings to the public via radio with the largest coverage in Solomon Islands is a component of disaster preparedness in the Government’s National Disaster Risk Management Plan.
“The handing over of the new transmitter for disaster risk management is a step in the right direction as it enables us to communicate to people in remote areas prior to and during disasters. This project will improve the radio broadcasting network enabling nationwide coverage in Solomon Islands,” Minister Tovosia said.
Minister Tovosia also called on members of the public to respect the facility, especially, the radio equipment because it is a gift from a friend who sees the need of Solomon Islanders.
Minister Tovosia also used the ceremony to reaffirm the strengthened ‘kizuna’ or ‘strong bond’ between Japan and Solomon Islands.