AS part of a Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) plan, mock exercise has been conducted at Koleasi in North East Guadalcanal recently by World Vision Solomon Islands (WVSI).
A statement from World Vision said, since last year’s devastating floods, World Vision has been working to help Guadalcanal communities prepare for disasters.
The project, funded by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), is now in 20 communities across the Guadalcanal Plains.
“Its aim is to strengthen disaster resilience in the region and minimise the impact that future disasters may have on crops, homes, and lives.”
One community that benefits from the project is Koleasi. Around 62 families live in the community, representing around 300 people of which well over half are children.
The houses are built along the banks of the Mbalasuna river and flooding is common. In April 2014, they suffered a flash flood that destroyed village crops and swept away homes.
“Four families including me lost their homes in the flood,” said David Rex a community member and father of eight.
“My house is a semi permanent home, it was washed away by the flood, I mean I lost everything,” he said.
Since January, World Vision has been working with the Koleasi community to prepare for future flooding.
In early November, they ran a disaster simulation and invited representatives from World Vision, UNDP, Red Cross, and NDMO to watch.
The disaster simulation is an effort to measure the effectiveness of the disaster plan and involves everyone in village from the smallest children to the oldest adults.
The simulation begun with three warning sirens, using conch shells and a loud hailer. On the third alert, the villagers move up the hill towards the safe house. There they gathered under shelter, build a fire and try to contact help via radio.
To make the simulation as real as possible, mock injuries are included in the plan. Each community member has a different role to play. Some play the medical team or search and rescue party, others play the sick and injured.
The simulation also includes a few mock deaths. Two men and a small boy enact their roles as drowned victims down at the river. They lie in the water, covered in debris, while the nurse checks their bodies for signs of life. She decides that they have drowned and the search and rescue team carry them back to the village.
Community member, David Rex, said the DRR plan has been a valuable experience.
“Since the disaster plan I have learnt new things and I feel secure because it has given me new ideas and new ways of doing things to prepare our community for disasters,” he says.
About WVSI DRR Projects
After the April 2014, floods World Vision responded with immediate relief items and began to run projects in water and sanitation systems, women and child friendly spaces, and livelihood. World Vision recognises the importance of Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) activities for communities to prepare and minimise the impact of natural disasters. This is important particularly during the period November to April, which is typically more prone to extreme weather events.
The Guadalcanal project builds on existing knowledge and expertise from World Vision’s DRR projects in Makira, Malaita, and Temotu to provide DRR training to 20 communities in Guadalcanal Plains to ensure they are prepared for potential extreme weather events in the future.
Each of the 20 target communities will conduct a simulation disaster evacuation to test and assess the effectiveness of disaster training and preparedness plans if a disaster were to occur. World Vision will provide each household in each of the 20 target communities with Information, Education, and Communications (IEC) materials that outline the impact and early warning signs of five different disasters.