By Meriba Tulo – EMTV News, Port Moresby
Due to its rugged geographical terrain, Papua New Guinea remains a disaster prone country – and when disasters strike, communication is seen as a key component of disaster response.
However, there is much more that communication providers can offer in the overall disaster management – most notably in disaster early warning.
A workshop today brought together representatives from the telecommunication sector to discuss how best the industry could assist in the National Disaster Plan.
In Port Moresby today, representatives from various communication providers, broadcasters and service providers gathered to discuss the role of the communication sector in disaster management. The meeting, facilitated by the National Information Communication Technology Authority (NICTA), in partnership with International Telecommunication Union.
With PNG a disaster prone country, the need for effective communication mechanisms were highlighted as a critical component in the response to disasters.
Communication at the four stages of Mitigation, Preparedness, Response, and Recovery, were all acknowledged as crucial to dealing with disasters, both natural and man-made.
The workshop today comes one year after the magnitude 7.5 Earthquake in the Highlands – a natural disaster that affected five provinces in total.
According to the Communication Secretary, the lessons learnt should be used to improve in future instances of disaster – and communication capabilities are a large part of this.
For the communication industry regulator, NICTA, the efforts to bring together these representatives are crucial to ensuring that the country’s disaster response is improved – and centralised – without various organisations duplicating roles. And with communication a key component of this, it is hoped that a National Emergency Telecommunication Plan can be drafted, to put forward for relevant government agencies to consider.
From the regulator’s perspective, what is more important is building partnerships among all communication providers.