By Daniel Namosuaia, Solomon Star: http://www.solomonstarnews.com
3 July 2013, Nadi, Fiji - Community awareness is the key to having an effective response to natural disasters such as tsunami says the Director of Solomon Islands National Disaster Management Office, Loti Yates.
In his brief presentation at the joint meeting at the Pacific Meteorological Council meeting in Nadi, Yates said experience from a February’s tsunami in Temotu Province found that awareness is the key to an effective warning system.
"Even if we had an early warning systems in place, it would not work for situations like what happened in Temotu.
“Even if we are to send warning messages through the radio or other telecommunication methods and media, these messages will reach the people after they are hit by the wave."
Although Solomon Islands relies on the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre to give out warnings, Loti pointed out that this doesn’t work for a locally generated tsunami.
He stressed that with the geographical location of islands and its isolation, communities must have the authority and knowledge to make decisions.
Loti says the strengthening of early warning systems must go hand in hand with community awareness.