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This section outlines official Press and Media Statements issued by the Ministry of Information and Communications in addition to Press Releases from the Prime Minister's Office and other Government Ministries and Departments.

Step up - reducing the risk of disaster is everybody's business

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13 October 2011. On the occasion of the national commemoration of the International Day for Disaster Reduction in Tonga on October 13, the Tonga's Red Cross Society in association with the Ministry of Education, Women Affairs and Culture(MEWAC) , the Ministry of Training, Youth, Employment and Sports (MOTEYS) and Tonga's National Emergency Management Office(NEMO) met today at the Ocean of Light School to mark the day with a prayer service and speeches.

As enforced by this year's theme, which focuses on "Making Children and Young People Partners for Disaster Risk Reduction". Young children and youths are also those affected and disproportionately not aware of the risks and measurements to take when disaster strikes.

In his speech, Hon. Fe'ao Vakata, the Minister for Training, Employment, Youth and Sports who delivered the key note address, said that "Young people are the most vulnerable in times of natural disasters but they can also be part of the community of people who would ensure that Tonga, like any other country, is prepared to face and survived natural disasters."

With the recent tragedy and earthquake and tsunami disasters in Japan and New Zealand striking in the early half of this year, Tonga's recent Niuatoputapu Tsunami Disaster of 2009, is still fresh in the minds of many which have caused human suffering, loss of lives and homes and economic damage.

Evidently, over half of Niuatoputapu's main settlement areas have been destroyed or were at risk.

Disaster reduction is everybody's business. All of us can do our part to raise awareness and reduce our vulnerability to future hazards.

A clear message from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon stated that disaster risk reduction should be an everyday concern for everybody. And the only way is to step up with concrete measures to reduce vulnerability and invest today for a safer tomorrow.

On the other hand, communities and governments worldwide to work together in building resilience in their infrastructure, schools, hospitals, roads, water systems and governments in order to reduce the risks of any foreseeable disaster, as urged by the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova.

Disaster risk reduction is not only about stronger building codes, sound land use planning, better early warning systems, environmental management and evacuation plans. It is about awareness and preparedness and, above all, education.

It is about making communities and individuals aware of their risk to natural hazards and this disaster reduction can begin at schools for our youths and young children.

The Ministry of Education can create national awareness by mobilizing Governments, communities and individuals in making disaster risk an integral part of school curricula, while ensuring that school buildings are built or retrofitted to withstand natural hazards.

The resilience of our Tongan way of life and indeed the way of life in the Pacific lies in managing the combination of the collective responsibilities and group values, the individual obligations to one's immediate and extended family as well as the broader community.

ENDS

Issued by the: Ministry of Information and Communications, Nuku'alofa, 2011.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 13 October 2011 16:42 )
 
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