Speech by Permament Secretary for Rural and Maritime Development and National Disaster Management, Mr. Meleti Bainimarama – Send Off Reception for High School Students Summit on World Tsunami Awareness Day 17/11/16
Your Excellency; Mr. Takuji Hanatani the Japanese Ambassador to Fiji, Dignitaries,
Ladies and Gentleman.
The Government of Fiji is most grateful to you Excellency and the Japanese Government for this generously funded and considerate initiative to send the six Fijian teachers and students from the Marist Brothers High School to represent Fiji to the “High School Students Summit on World Tsunami Awareness Day in the Kochi Prefecture, Japan.
Natural disasters including earthquakes and tsunamis are common issues which should be addressed by all countries because of their devastating impacts and unexpected extensive damages.
We understand that the High School Students Summit on World Tsunami Awareness Day is held for the purpose of training future leaders who can minimize the impact of damages by natural disasters through executing comprehensive and systematic measures.
They will be provided with opportunities to learn the threats of natural disasters and significance on disaster risk reduction (DRR); prior investment in DRR; rapid rehabilitation and the concept of “build back better” in the reconstruction phase in Japan.
The training is relevant and also timely for our country.
The Republic of Fiji Islands is located between two major tectonic plates - the Pacific Plate and the Asian Plate – which generate subduction zones that cause underground earthquakes on almost daily basis.
There have been an above average number of significant earthquakes across South Asia and the Pacific recently, and on 22nd April this year it was reported that seven major earthquakes stuck the Pacific Region in just 96 hours.
The predictions are that the magnitude and frequency of earthquakes may increase and the possibility for a big event in the future is not a far off possibility that may lead to a big Tsunami.
The New Zealand Government on Monday this week suffered a 7.5 magnitude earthquake which devastated parts of North Canterbury and Kaikoura district, followed by frequent aftershocks, but luckily did not generate any Tsunami as it occurred inland.