Disaster Risk Reduction

Pacific Islands Humanitarian Assistance

Countries in the Pacific experience a wide range of hazards, including cyclones, floods, drought, earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions. Meanwhile, extreme climate variations are presenting new risks, including changes in rainfall patterns, increased severity of storms and rises in sea levels. Poverty, population growth and rapid urbanization all exacerbate these vulnerabilities. USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) leads and coordinates the U.S. government’s response to disasters overseas. USAID/OFDA responds to an average of 65 disasters, in more than 50 countries, every year. The types of disasters that USAID/OFDA responds to are rapid onset disasters, such as earthquakes, volcanoes and floods and slow onset crises, such as drought and conflict. In partnership with other operating units of USAID and other U.S. government agencies, USAID/OFDA saves lives, alleviates human suffering and reduces the social and economic impact of disasters worldwide.


Building Disaster Management Capacity in the Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands
The Pacific Island countries of Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Palau, and Repuclic of Marshall Islands (RMI) are vulnerable to a number of natural hazards, including drought, floods, and cyclones. The Marshall Islands Red Cross Society (MIRCS), Micronesia Red Cross Society (MRCS), and Palau Red Cross Society (PRCS)—supported by International Federation of Red Cross (IFRC)—continue to partner with local government agencies, businesses, and communities to build awareness of disaster response activities and cultivate a trained volunteer base for emergency responses. USAID/OFDA has provided more than $1.4 million since FY 2013 to support the preparedness and mitigation activities of MIRCS, MRCS, and PRCS.

Enhancing Humanitarian Coordination and Information Management
USAID/OFDA partners with the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Regional Office for the Pacific in Suva, Fiji, to strengthen humanitarian coordination in the Pacific. The program facilitates information sharing, initiates contingency planning, and enhances disaster response coordination among humanitarian actors in the Pacific.

Increasing Resilience and Response Capacity to Natural Disasters
With USAID/OFDA funding, IFRC is working to increase the capacity, readiness, and resilience of national Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in EAP to respond to natural disasters. Through the program, IFRC is working with national societies, including in Papua New Guinea, to strengthen their capacity to prepare for and respond to disasters.

Mainstreaming Gender and Disability Inclusion in Community-based Disaster Risk Management
USAID/OFDA supports CARE to increase community resilience to climate change and disasters through gender and disability inclusive approaches to emergency preparedness and emergency response planning processes. To achieve this, the program works with communities, local CSOs, and government at all levels to increase their awareness and skills on gender and disability inclusion. CARE will work within existing structures, build on existing local capacities, and draw on and support positive cultural traditions. By increasing knowledge on climate change and disasters, and gender and disability inclusion, this program will strengthen community development planning processes. This program will also support specific activities for women and people with disabilities to increase their voice and confidence in community level decision-making fora and action.

Strengthening Emergency Medical Team (EMT) Coordination and National Emergency Response Capacities in the Pacific
With support from USAID/OFDA, WHO will work with Ministries of Health across the Pacific to develop Emergency Medical Team capacity in some of the world’s most vulnerable and disaster-prone countries – to develop national EMT capacity, and to more effectively receive and coordinate support from international EMTs, when required. This program will focus on five countries for national EMT development - Kiribati, Republic of the Marshall Islands, FSM, Palau, and Tuvalu - to be able to rapidly deploy trained and equipped clinical and public health teams in cases of local emergencies. Activities will support improved use and coordination of incoming international EMTs in larger-scale events in all Pacific countries.

Supporting WFP Emergency Capacity and Preparedness
USAID/OFDA supports the UN World Food Program (WFP) to bolster emergency logistics and telecommunications capacity across the Pacific. WFP works with national and regional relief actors to improve assessment, coordination, equipment stocking, technical advisory services and training capacity in the region. Through these activities, WFP aims to strengthen operational capacity of national disaster management offices and their local partners, and develop infrastructure to prevent and respond to disasters.


Building Resilient Communities in Disaster-Prone Areas (BCRF)
USAID/OFDA supports the multi-year Building Resilient Communities in Fiji program in several of the country’s disaster-prone areas. Through partner IFRC, program activities include collaborating with the Fiji Red Cross Society to build disaster management capacity and working with community members to facilitate assessment and early warning systems trainings to reduce disaster risk.


Bolstering Disaster Response Capacity
USAID/OFDA supports a multi-year AmCross program implemented with MRCS to build local capacity and reduce communities’ vulnerability to disaster risks in FSM by improving sanitation infrastructure and increasing water supply. AmCross addresses water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) needs in disaster-prone areas, including through hygiene promotion activities and rehabilitation of sanitation facilities.

Increasing Resilience Among Vulnerable Communities in FSM
Catholic Relief Services (CRS) bolsters the capacity of local authorities and communities on FSM’s Yap Island to prepare for and recover from frequently occurring natural hazards, such as drought and typhoons. With USAID/OFDA support, CRS is facilitating the development of a national disaster risk management and climate adaptation plan; training households to develop and adopt household-level preparedness plans; promoting effective hygiene practices; and supporting 600 vulnerable households to diversify or enhance agricultural livelihood strategies, thereby ensuring food sources and agricultural livelihoods are resilient to drought and typhoons.

Climate Adaptation, Disaster Risk Reduction, and Education (CADRE+) in FSM and RMI
The CADRE+ program targets 4,500 school-aged children, 300 educators, and 7,500 community members with activities to improve resilience to natural and climate-related hazards. Program activities include establishing community disaster preparedness and response committees, developing school emergency management plans, training teachers in climate adaptation and evacuation center management, and supporting the Governments of FSM and RMI to implement national strategies for adaptation and disaster risk management. In addition, the program aims to facilitate planning and coordination among local, national, and regional stakeholders; assess the suitability of existing emergency evacuation centers; and equip 10 schools with emergency equipment, such as fire extinguishers.

Pre-Positioning Emergency Relief Commodities
USAID/OFDA has supported IOM since FY 2010 to preposition emergency relief supplies in three strategic locations throughout FSM and RMI and develop standby agreements with regional and local organizations for logistical support during an emergency response. In FY 2019, USAID/OFDA provided IOM with approximately $50,000 to support the pre-positioning and maintenance of emergency relief supplies This funding complements the funding provided by USAID's PREPARE program without duplication.


Alii Climate Adaptation and Disaster Risk Education (Alii CADRE)
IOM is building disaster management capacity in Palau by incorporating the alii CADRE program into ongoing IOM DRR initiatives in FY 2019. The alii CADRE program focuses on improving school-based preparedness for disasters, which include contingency planning for typhoons and facilitating humanitarian assistance and logistics training. Using a school-based disaster risk education approach, IOM worked with school principals, the Palau Ministry of Education and the National Emergency Management Office to create targeted.


Strengthening Early Warning and Preparedness
USAID/OFDA supports IOM to increase disaster preparedness and response in Papua New Guinea’s hazard-prone coastal, highland, and outer atoll communities. Program activities included support for improved community-based early warning systems and disaster risk management planning, as well as capacity-building measures for local and provincial authorities. IOM also supported small-scale projects intended to build resilience among local communities, rehabilitated boreholes, and conducted basic training in first aid.

Volcano Disaster Assistance Program (VDAP)
Implemented by the U.S. Geological Survey, VDAP provides technical assistance to national volcano monitoring organizations, including training in hazard assessment, early warning system development, and volcano monitoring equipment installation. With prior year funding, USGS continued to support the Port Moresby Geophysical Observatory and Rabaul Volcano Observatory in Papua New Guinea through VDAP, helping improve volcanic gas monitoring and warning systems.


Building Resilient Communities in Solomon Islands (BRCSI)
USAID/OFDA is supporting IFRC to increase the resilience of vulnerable communities in the Solomon Islands and expand the ability of the Solomon Island Red Cross Society (SIRCS) to support disaster risk management and community-based health programs. The program aims to empower government agencies and targeted communities to assess and manage risks by conducting participatory capacity and vulnerability assessments, establishing village disaster response committees, and developing community action plans. Additionally, IFRC will support simulation exercises, train community members in first aid and hygiene best practices, and support the creation of community-based early warning systems during the two-year program.


Building Resilient Communities in Vanuatu (BRCV)
USAID/OFDA supports IFRC to increase the resilience of vulnerable communities and enhance the capacity of the Vanuatu Red Cross Society (VRCS) to prepare for disasters, mobilize and train volunteers, and support community disaster response committees. By providing financial and technical support to VRCS, IFRC aims to expand the organization’s ability to identify and address risks and respond to disasters through a decentralized local disaster network, ensuring a sustainable program approach. Additionally, IFRC will conduct community risk assessments and develop local action plans based on assessment findings.

Last updated: April 09, 2020

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