Dear Editor – Radio New Zealand International (RNZI) is at the forefront in focusing attention on the forthcoming COP 21 Paris meeting on climate change.
In its early morning news bulletin on, 9 November 2015, RNZI is quoted as saying, “People in the Pacific are being called on to share stories on social media of how they’ve been impacted by climate change, in a bid to strengthen the Pacific voice leading up to the COP21 conference in Paris.
“The Pacific Islands contribute to less than 0.03 percent to the world’s total greenhouse gases yet are amongst the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.
“The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme says the outcomes of COP21 are crucial to the Pacific region.
“It’s director general, David Sheppard, says people in the Pacific Islands understand and knows all too well the impacts of climate change.
“He’s calling on people to share their stories with people around the world online of both how they’ve been impacted, and what they’re doing to adapt to the situation and mitigate their problems.
“Mr Sheppard is asking people to use the hash tag #4PacIslands when they share their stories via social media.”
Meanwhile, also quoting from RNZI,” drought affected communities in Solomon Islands Western, Eastern and Southern provinces are being urged to take steps to adapt to ongoing dry conditions in the country.
“The director of Solomon Islands National Disaster Management Office says teams will be deployed to worst hit areas in the coming weeks to conduct a full assessment of the impact of the drought but says initial reports indicate severe water shortages and the beginnings of crop failure in some areas.
“Loti Yates spoke with Koroi Hawkins about the drought situation.
“LOTI YATES (LY): We have actually identified already basing on some support from met service about five hotspots, Rennell Bellona, Makira, Central Province and parts of Choiseul and parts of Western Province. So those are our areas of interest at the moment.
“KOROI HAWKINS (KH). And are you getting reports from these provinces as to what the situation is on the ground?
“LY: Yes the situation based on reports received they are having difficulties, water hem start for, I mean water shortage is starting to be experienced at the same time there are crops wilting due to the excessive heat and people are facing hard times now although they are currently surviving but I am not too sure how long that will go, I mean given the fact that it is predicted to be extended until maybe January or February“KH: Now logistically speaking, and even in terms of getting together funds for relief supplies, it has always been difficult in Solomon Islands. Do you have any funding approval or any plans already in place to deal with any severe effects of the drought on people?
“LY: No, no. Currently what’s happening is we’re trying to secure funding to support the deployment of teams to do surveys, assessments etc. We’ve actually destroyed the Rennell-Bellona team and working on getting the Choiseul and Makira teams on the ground as well. First of all, to get information we need to get people from the various sectors – agriculture, health, rural supplies, sanitation, education, etc. on ground to ascertain what the situation is and give us a good clear picture of the situation so then that will allow us to plan on how to respond to it.
“There has been a lot of interest from our partners locally, from the UN agencies as well as other NGOs. At the moment what has happened is we are trying to step up awareness within all the sectors to be involved in ensuring that the appropriate information like, you know, what to do in the various sectors. So we are actually trying to get the appropriate information in from agriculture, health, education and then going out in a big way to start programmes. For that alone, we will be needing support in as far as media awareness. So if our partners in country are able to do that we will be really appreciating their support. Awareness is key informing people of the possible severe impacts of the drought.”