Consolidated Responses for the PAFPNet Discussion for the First quarter of 2016
Date: 17/03/16 - 22/04/16
“Re-building the Agriculture sector and Farmer Livelihoods – Post – Disaster”
For the first quarter of 2016 PAFPNet hosted the discussion topic themed, “Re-building the Agriculture sector and Farmer Livelihoods – Post – Disaster” where in just 2 years, both Fiji and Vanuatu have faced their most devastating natural disasters on record. Six questions were underlined for the discussion that triggered an extensive and thorough exchange of views and altogether 15 replies were received. Thank you very much for participating!
Tropical cyclones Winston and Pam, both Category 5s, have caused cataclysmic losses in both countries. Extreme weather events like TC Winston and Pam are not unexpected in the Pacific, which is one of the most vulnerable areas in the world to natural disasters due to powerful tectonic forces constantly shaping the region and the occurrence of unusually warm ocean conditions. Scientists and Inter Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have predicted that the natural disaster frequency has risen and that their intensity will be more and more severe, hence causing major destructions especially to small and vulnerable countries such as Small Island Developing States (SIDS).
Increasing unplanned urbanization, migration patterns, and people occupying high-risk areas in greater numbers, however, increase the impact of natural hazards on population. Although disasters do not respect borders, nor distinguish between economic levels, their impact is always much more detrimental to vulnerable populations in low income countries.
It has been highlighted in the discussion that preparedness is very critical, and this requires training of relevant agricultural public and private stakeholders on Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) methodology; developing template for data collection; and ensuring that a sound baseline is in place and updated regularly. Assessments tend to move much faster and more efficiently where good baselines are in place.
A study or investigation needed to be done on the indigenous knowledge and should they be credible incorporate them in post disaster strategies. Also it is important to note that there are certain level of resilience relating to this knowledge that are present within communities, the form and manner in which the assistance are delivered should not interfere with the traditional resilience mechanisms which are in existent as this may lead to communities heavily depending on outside assistance in future disasters rather than being able to deal with some of the issues themselves.
There are some mechanisms in place that are working well to prepare farmers, agricultural officers not only to be prepared to reduce the impacts of hazards but also to respond effectively in a timely and resourceful manner. It is about having a good pre-disaster risk reduction plan and also a good post disaster process in place – prepare to respond.