GIS– 28 November 2016: “We are all witnessing the dramatic consequences of disasters. We have no choice than to be better prepared and build resilience. We need now to culminate the outcomes of the consultations into a committed Programme of Action, a common Africa position for the Global Platform 2017 and a Mauritius Declaration that will be submitted to the African Union Summit in January 2017 for endorsement and operationalisation”.
The Acting Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism and External Communications, Mr Xavier Duval, made this statement on 25 November 2016 at the InterContinental Resort, Balaclava at the opening ceremony of the 5th high level meeting on Disaster Risk Reduction in Africa.
According to the Acting Prime Minister, the various forms of vulnerability have the potential to transform even fairly minor hazards into major disasters. The World Risk Report 2016 lists out Mauritius as the 13th country with the highest disaster risk and the 7th on the list of countries most exposed to natural hazards, he recalled.
Nothing can stop nature, said Mr Duval, adding that countries must be prepared and fully equipped and set up disaster response mechanisms, invest in good infrastructure and train personnel in hospitals, emergency units, and special forces.
Mauritius has placed disaster risk reduction as a priority, with the establishment of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Centre (NDRRMC).
Some key initiatives of the NDRRMC include the promulgation of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act 2016 and the setting up of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council. The comprehensive National Disaster Scheme 2015 enables stakeholders to better understand and assume their respective roles before, during and after disasters. With regard to Local Emergency Operations Command, each local authority has its own Disaster Risk Reduction Committee.
A National Multi-Hazard Early Warning and Emergency Alert System has been implemented to provide alert in a timely and reliable manner. Some 50 simulation exercises have been conducted since last year with a view to enhancing the preparedness of agencies and local communities against natural disasters.
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