National Emergency Management Office/MEIDECC Tonga

Beneficiary: Lu’isa Uai Taunga
Title: Officer, National Emergency Management Office, Tonga
Training: UNITAR Hiroshima Disaster Risk Reduction Training

Most often we find that local business owners and locals are not often present during our workshop training,

explained Lu’isa Uai Taunga, an officer with the National Emergency Management Office in the Kingdom of Tonga and participant in the UNITAR Disaster Risk Reduction Training in 2017. Lu’isa came up with a strategy to address the fact that members of the community could not take time away from work to attend the National Emergency Management Office’s training.

Using the knowledge that she gained from the UNITAR Disaster Risk Reduction Training she took part in, she worked on incorporating best practices from around the globe and adapting them to her local context.

I used readings [from UNITAR]…and simplified it to suit our island context.

“We adopted the ‘leave no one behind kind of concept,” she said in a conversation with Junko Shimazu, UNITAR’s Disaster Risk Reduction Training Associate. “Hence, we took to the streets, shops, restaurants, airports, tourists, and communities.” Her initiative worked to distribute information through bookmarks that with information on "Tsunami Survival Tips" and what to pack in emergency kits. Their goal, she said, was to reach “as many members as we can.” The effort event led them door to door, handing out bookmarks and taking a minute to interface with community members and explain the contents of the bookmarks.

What’s next for Lu’isa? From working with the Government of Japan on an evacuation centre for one of the remotely located islands to installing water tanks to be used in times of emergencies or looking to USAID to fund a glass crusher to make synthetic sand for construction so that the natural sand will not be used, affecting natural fortifying barriers in the event of natural disasters, her upcoming projects and ideas are numerous. She is still continuing to identify needs in her community as part of the needs assessment training she received from UNITAR. She hopes to apply for projects that, in her words,

will continue development in Tonga and affect have a positive impact.

Credit: UNITAR and National Emergency Management Office/MEIDECC Tonga

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