Disaster preparedness in the village of Lovelove

Fijian Red Cross Labasa Branch Volunteer Group Chairman Maleli Qera said they were happy to respond to the village’s request for disaster preparedness awareness.

Red Cross volunteer Pita Saladoka demonstrates handwashing practices during the disaster awareness program in Lovelove village. Photo: Laisa Lu

People need to be prepared for the cyclone from the start of the season and not a few minutes before landing.

Lovelove Disaster Awareness Program Coordinator Ana Wise said at an event at Lovelove Village.

The event also included the Fijian Red Cross team who helped raise awareness about disaster preparedness.

“The sensitization program is aimed primarily at nine households with the support of the village chief and village sub-committees; we also invited the settlements living around us, ”Ms. Wise said.

“We were not prepared for the last three cyclones which had an impact on our village and which partially damaged houses.

“Most of us prepare just hours before the cyclone. We were both disorganized and panicked.

Ms Wise said she believes government officials play a huge role in their communities by advocating for and organizing such awareness for their own communities.

The village chief, Jacoro Maleau, also thanked the Fijian Red Cross team who accepted their invitation to lead the disaster preparedness awareness campaign.

“We are currently in cyclone season and it is only when a cyclone is approaching that people decide to prepare,” he said.

“We need to prepare from the onset of the hurricane season, to always be physically, mentally, spiritually and financially ready.

“We used to have a relaxed attitude to cyclone warnings, but after our recent experiences we will do better and prepare better for the cyclones to come,” he said.

Fijian Red Cross Labasa Branch Volunteer Group Chairman Maleli Qera said they were happy to respond to the village’s request for disaster preparedness awareness.

“The awareness was mainly aimed at making the community aware of what they could do before the cyclone, such as planting resilient crops such as kumala and dalo ni tana,” Qera said.

“They were also educated on ways they can reduce the risk of injury by putting away household items, wood, roofing irons and securing their homes in advance.

“And how to help an injured person in the height of a disaster, depending on the situation,” he said.

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