Experts meet to discuss communications platforms for national disasters

Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Disaster Management and Meterological Services Jone Usamate delivers his speech at the 3rd Regional Pacific Emergency Telecommunication Cluster held at Pearl South Pacific resort in Pacific Harbour. Picture: FIJIAN GOVERNMENT/Facebook

IT is important to know that the value of having a state of the art technology will only be realized when effective communication is disseminated through a timely manner.

Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Disaster Management and Meteorological Services Jone Usamate highlighted this while speaking at the 3rd Pacific Regional Emergency Telecommunications Cluster Workshop.

Mr Usamate said Fiji was currently transitioning from radio connectivity to fiber optic link.

Fijian Government’s recent $17 million investment in fiber optic network will go a long way in enhancing communication between authorities and people during disasters in the country.

Mr Usamate underscored that seamless communication was crucial during an event of disaster.

“In any emergency situation, the ability to communicate real time information is vital,” Minister Usamate said.

Mr Usamate said clear communication could lead to timely decisions where lives and properties could be saved.

Experts from the communication and technology sector including practitioners from disaster management will be mapping out simple messaging platforms to improve communications during national disasters.

‘Tropical Cyclone Winston provided the ultimate test to our communication system indicating that we have our strengths and limitations,” he said.

Mr Usamate said workshop provided a good opportunity to examine the relevance of such cluster, especially with the growth of social media such as Facebook, Twitter and We Chat.

He addde that we could utilise such platforms to disseminate vital information for preparedness, early warning, and early recovery and for humanitarian response.

The three day workshop will focus on presentations from the region and other development strategies on communications and technology.

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