TARAWA, Kiribati (Secretariat of the Pacific Community/Pacific Media Watch): Thirteen people from Kiribati’s Broadcasting and Publication Authority, Kiribati Red Cross Society, the Office of Te Beretitenti and from the newspapers Kiribati Independent, Kiribati Update and Kiribati Newstar have tested their readiness to stay on air and provide vital public information during a major emergency or disaster.
The staff, including journalists, media technicians, and administrative staff, participated in a table top exercise to test new climate and disaster resilience plans that they developed earlier this week through a two-day workshop led by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC).
National broadcasters play a pivotal role in providing public information and warnings about emergencies and disasters.
The Climate and Disaster Resilience Plan supports the ability of the BPA to perform its duties in the event of an emergency or disaster in Kiribati by setting out ways to increase the resilience of the authority’s infrastructure, operations and personnel.
It is part of an initiative funded by the Australian government-supported Pacific Assistance Media Scheme (PACMAS) and implemented by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) in partnership with SPC. Kiribati is among eight countries to benefit from this initiative.
The editor of Te Uekera newspaper, Ueretan Bauro, participated in the workshop. He said: “The Broadcasting and Publication Authority participants were grateful for the opportunity to attend this workshop which they found to be very interesting as it highlighted the importance of resilience planning”.
Bauro said he found the content of the workshop to be "very relevant and it has provided us with good ideas on how to better prepare before any disaster”.
The exercise provided an invaluable opportunity to practice emergency response procedures based on a simulated crisis situation and better prepare for future emergencies or disasters in Kiribati, a Pacific nation highly vulnerable to natural disasters and the impacts of climate change.
This work is in line with several of the key strategies within the Kiribati Joint Implementation Plan for Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management.
Climate and disaster resilience plans have been developed for broadcasters in Palau, Samoa and Tuvalu.
Later this year broadcasters in the Cook Islands, Marshall Islands, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu will complete their plans. Following this, all broadcasters will receive newsroom training to build their capacity to report on climate change and disaster risk management issues.
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