Disaster preparedness and response in Pacific island countries

Tropical Cyclone devastation
The people in the Pacific islands are amongst the most prone to disaster and climate risks, such as tsunami, earthquakes, cyclone, landslides, flood and even droughts. These natural calamities have devastating impact on livelihoods, especially for the poorest and most vulnerable people. The magnitude, pervasiveness and alarming upward trend of natural disasters in the Pacific Islands countries, demands a special ILO focus, both in terms of preparing and responding to these events.

Disaster preparedness

Post-disaster recovery and resilience can be greatly helped if robust social protection systems already in place. In addition, investments in disaster risk reduction and disaster management can result in massive savings to governments, communities and businesses. In supporting disaster preparedness, the ILO can:
  • Support small and medium enterprises to develop business continuity plans
  • Support small-scale and community contractors in building and maintaining public infrastructure resilient to natural disasters

Disaster response

After any disaster, rebuilding communities and the livelihoods of vulnerable people becomes a top priority of the Government.

In supporting disaster response, the ILO supports the recovery process with alternative job and income creation:
  • Jointly assess the impact of disasters in terms of employment and livelihood losses and needs
  • Launch emergency employment promotion programmes, which provide alternative income to the affected people and contribute to clean-up and repair of public infrastructure (Cash for Work)
  • Establish community contractors or groups to be involved in the reconstruction efforts, working with key partners like Public Works Department and the donors/financial institutions (Employment Intensive Investment Programme)
  • Assist trade unions in supporting their members who lost jobs to find alternative sources of income
  • Assist Employer organizations to support their members to re-establish their operations
  • Promote business response to crisis that minimize the lose of employment
All of ILO employment and enterprise programmes introduce decent work practices and raise awareness for good working practices, workers’ protection and occupation safety and health. Compliance with national labour laws is essential.