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.


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.

Supporting WFP Emergency Capacity and Preparedness
USAID/OFDA is supporting 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 is building the operational capacity of national disaster management offices and their local partners, as well as develop infrastructure to mitigate and respond to disasters.

Building Disaster Management Capacity in the Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands
The Federated States of Micronesia, Palau and the Republic of the Marshall Islands are vulnerable to natural hazards, including drought, floods and storms. Through USAID/OFDA funding, the Marshall Islands Red Cross Society, Micronesia Red Cross Society and Palau Red Cross Society - supported by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies - work with local government agencies, businesses and communities to build awareness of disaster response activities and cultivate a trained volunteer base for emergency responses.


Building Resilient Communities in Fiji (BCRF)
USAID/OFDA supports the IFRC and Red Crescent Societies to implement the BRCF program in several disaster-prone areas in Fiji. Through partner IFRC, BRCF program activities included 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.


Adaptive Community Transformation (ACT)
In FY 2017, USAID/OFDA partnered with Catholic Relief Services to initiate the multi-year ACT program, focusing on increasing the capacity of vulnerable communities in Yap State, Federated States of Micronesia, to prepare for and recover from typhoons and droughts. The project engages municipal chiefs, village chiefs, and other community leaders, as well as individual households, to build capacity on emergency preparedness planning and early warning systems. The project will also support vulnerable households to diversify or enhance their agricultural livelihood strategies through training and market-based grants that will make their food production more resilient to disasters.

Micronesia Community Resilience and Capacity Development Project
Through USAID/OFDA support, the American Red Cross partners with Micronesia Red Cross Society to strengthen local capacity and reduce communities’ vulnerability to disaster risks by improving sanitation infrastructure and increasing water supply. The project addresses water, sanitation, and hygiene needs in disaster-prone areas, including conducting hygiene awareness activities and repairing sanitation facilities.

Climate Adaptation, Disaster Risk Reduction, and Education (CADRE+) in FSM and RMI
USAID/OFDA supports the International Organization for Migration to implement the CADRE+ program in the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of the Marshall Islands. The program builds the resilience of more than 500 school-aged children and 5,000 community members to environmental disasters. The support also creates community disaster preparedness and response committees, develops school emergency management plans and trains teachers in disaster and evacuation center management.

Pre-Positioning Emergency Relief Commodities
USAID/OFDA supports the International Organization for Migration to pre-position emergency relief supplies in three strategic locations throughout the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of the Marshall Islands. The project also helps develop agreements with island-based organizations for logistical support during an emergency response.


Climate Adaptation, Disaster Risk Reduction, and Education (CADRE+) in Palau
With USAID/OFDA support, IOM builds disaster management capacity in Palau through incorporating the CADRE+ program into ongoing IOM DRR initiatives. CADRE+ activities focus on improving school-based preparedness for disasters, as well as contingency planning for typhoons and facilitating humanitarian assistance and logistics training.

Conducting Incident Command System Training
USAID/OFDA and the U.S. Forest Service train partners with national and local government, as well as non-government organizations in Palau, to strengthen disaster preparedness. Following initial consultations with the national government, the project is conducting incident command system (ICS) workshops with key partners and integrating ICS with existing response systems.


Strengthening Early Warning and Preparedness Actions for Disaster Risk Reduction
With USAID/OFDA funding, IOM will improve community awareness and monitoring of natural hazards such as earthquakes, flooding, cyclones, sea level rise, sea surges and droughts in 16 provinces. IOM is promoting disaster risk reduction measures in preparedness to future earthquakes, drought and other disaster through build back safer, climate smart agriculture, basic first-aid training, rehabilitation and drilling of boreholes, gravity water supply and wells, and shelter guidelines. The project will integrate indigenous practices to strengthen early warning systems, use of rainfall and river water level monitoring gauges, and implement safe shelter construction.

Volcano Disaster Assistance Program (VDAP)
USAID/OFDA and the U.S. Geological Survey provide technical assistance to national volcano monitoring organizations to respond to volcanic events. Assistance includes training in hazard assessment, early warning system development and installation of volcano monitoring equipment. In Papua New Guinea, the project helps the Port Moresby Geophysical Observatory and Rabaul Volcano Observatory in Papua New Guinea to improve volcanic gas monitoring and warning systems to keep people from danger during volcanic events.


Together Becoming Resilient – Phase V
With USAID/OFDA support, the French Red Cross is improving the resilience of communities in Guadalcanal and Central provinces, as well as working with the National Disaster Management Office to disseminate and implement the updated National Disaster Management Plan at the national and provincial levels. Working with the Solomon Islands Red Cross Society, the program supports the establishment of Village Disaster Response Committees in target areas and the creation of village disaster response plans. The program also supports workshops in disaster management and assessment to build the disaster risk reduction capacity of students and teachers in schools vulnerable to disasters.

Supporting Community Planning (SCP): Reducing Vulnerabilities of Communities Exposed to Natural Disasters by Implementing DRR and WASH Mitigation Measures
The Solomon Islands are vulnerable to natural disasters, including cyclones, floods and tropical storms, which can limit access to safe drinking water and increase the risk of disease outbreaks. USAID/OFDA strengthens the capacity of communities in Guadalcanal and Malaita provinces to respond to natural disasters that may affect drinking water supply. The French Red Cross, in coordination with the Solomon Islands Red Cross Society, incorporates water, sanitation, and hygiene elements into community disaster mitigation plans. The project also rehabilitates water supply infrastructure and teaches basic hygiene knowledge to local communities.


Community Disaster Risk Management
USAID/OFDA, through Act for Peace and in collaboration with the Tonga National Council of Churches, supports the government of Tonga to implement its Joint National Action Plan for climate change and disaster risk management. Recognizing that first responders to disasters are typically local community members, Act for Peace facilitated community DRR and emergency response trainings - including in first aid and search-and-rescue operations - and simulation exercises in communities across Tonga. The program also works with local authorities to plan and implement disaster mitigation projects, such as retrofitting evacuation centers and developing early warning systems.


Supporting Community Planning (SCP) to Mitigate the Impact of Disasters
USAID/OFDA supports the French Red Cross to construct and rehabilitate water supply infrastructure in Malampa and Torba provinces, improving the communities’ access to safe drinking water during times of disaster. The program also provides hygiene information to community members to protect water sources from contamination, thereby reducing the risk of waterborne diseases.

Conducting Incident Command System Training
USAID/OFDA is working with U.S. Forest Service to conduct incident command system training courses in Vanuatu. USAID/OFDA is supporting training for participants from the Vanuatu National Disaster Management Office, provincial governments and nongovernmental organizations to improve disaster response capacity and facilitate emergency communication systems among the approximately 80 islands that comprise the country.

Last updated: July 03, 2019

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