The Fiji National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) conducted its first webinar series for the 2021 National Disaster Awareness Week (NDAW) on Wednesday with over 100 participants from around the country.
The focus of the session was on Food Security in Disaster Risk Reduction.
In opening the NDAW webinars, Acting Deputy Secretary for Rural and Maritime Development and Disaster Management Ms. Arieta Dimuri said the COVID-19 crisis had presented a new set of challenges that prompted the Ministry to conduct this year’s NDAW on a virtual platform.
She said the platform has helped NDMO reached a wider audience in relaying preparedness messages.
“Today our first webinar will focus on food security. It is no secret that natural disasters are a leading cause of food insecurity. Natural disasters affect all components of food security at the national level right down to food supply at the household level,” Ms Dimuri said.
She said the Agriculture sector suffered losses estimated at $146.5million with 75 per cent crop damage during Tropical Cyclone Yasa in 2020.
Acting Permanent Secretary for Agriculture Dr. Vinesh Kumar had chaired the first session on Wednesday.
In his remarks, Dr Kumar said, to ensure there was no food insecurity in the upcoming cyclone season, there was a need for people to be more aware about disaster risks to enable them to make decisions that minimised their exposure and vulnerability.
“Planting away from flood zones, protecting seedlings from the wind, securing infrastructure, identifying safe ground for livestock and preparing and protecting seed stock are all examples of pro-active measure our farmers can take,” Dr. Kumar said.
“Our economy and our livelihoods are more vulnerable to shocks and stresses now than ever before and as such, it is vital that we pursue all measures to minimise further damage and loss during the coming cyclone season.”
The three-day virtual event concluded yesterday.