Singapore offers US$50,000 to cyclone-hit Vanuatu

Singapore offers US$50,000 to cyclone-hit Vanuatu

Singapore will offer US$50,000 (S$70,000) in humanitarian aid to cyclone-ravaged Vanuatu, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said in a statement today.

Singapore and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) will also collaborate on a specialised training course for developing countries, in particular Small Island Developing States (SIDS) like Vanuatu, on the front line of climate change.

The course will be held here in October, and will address the needs of SIDS that are particularly vulnerable to cyclones. It will support developing countries in their implementation of the outcomes of the post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction which is due to be adopted on March 18, the closing day of the ongoing Third UN World Conference.

The pre-planned announcement coincides with the news of Super Cyclone Pam tearing through Vanuatu, leaving at least six dead and 30 injured in the capital Port Vila alone.

Experts from Singapore and the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) will share their expertise on setting up early warning systems, conducting vulnerability assessments through economic risk analysis, catastrophe assessment, formulating emergency preparedness plans, building resilience in public health systems, climate change adaptation and mitigation measures, and sustainable urban planning.

The course will be conducted under the Singapore Cooperation Programme, which is the primary platform through which Singapore extends technical assistance to over 170 countries. It will be in addition to the dedicated technical assistance package for SIDS that Singapore announced at the Third International Conference on SIDS held in Samoa in September last year.

Singapore's Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Law Mr K Shanmugam said: "As a small island state, Singapore is vulnerable to natural and man-made disaster threats. Our approach has been to plan for the long term by integrating DRR considerations into our national development plans and policies. We hope that our friends will benefit from some of our experience in this field, in particular those from small island states facing similar challenges like us."

The head of UNISDR Ms Margareta Wahlstrom said: "This partnership between UNISDR and the Government of Singapore will support least developed countries and small island developing states in implementation of the post 2015 framework for DRR. UNISDR will draw on the experience of the Global Education and Training Institute in Incheon, Republic of Korea, which has trained over 1,800 government officials on various aspects of disaster risk reduction over the last four years, from 73 countries."

huizhen@sph.com.sg

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