The equipment was made available through the Disaster Resilience for Pacific Small Island Developing States (RESPAC) project. Amongst other priorities, the project aims to strengthen the Republic of Nauru’s preparedness for the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The PPE was presented to Health Attaché, Sharon Aremwa by the RESPAC Project Manager and UNDP Disaster Risk Management (DRM) Advisor, Noud Leenders in Suva recently. .
“On behalf of the Nauru High Commissioner in Fiji, His Excellency Michael Aroi and the Government of Nauru, I would like to thank UNDP for the timely donation of these personal protective equipment that will be used back home in Nauru,” said Aremwa.
Aremwa added Nauru has an estimated population of 10,000 living in an area of 21 square kilometers. Pre- existing health conditions including Nauru narrow economic base, remote geographical location and 80 percent dependence on aid make Nauru very susceptible and vulnerable to the impact of COVID-19 should it reach Nauru.
“Since the declaration of ‘State of Emergency’ by the President Lionel Rouwen Aingimea in March 2020, we have stepped up our preparedness and implemented precautionary measures to ensure COVID-19 does not enter Nauru. These measures include entry restrictions for any travelers, travelling from or through China, Hong Kong, Macau, South Korea, Italy or Iran, 21 days prior to travelling to Nauru,” said Aremwa.
“We received a request from Nauru who has been a long-standing partner of our Russian funded RESPAC project. It was a wise move to request for additional support and we hope this donation will help strengthen your COVID-19 preparations, hopefully there is no second wave, but should it reach Nauru, you will be prepared,” said Leenders.The PPE will be used by essential services and first responders in health, aviation, health and ambulance personnel. The boxes are earmarked to fly out of Fiji to Nauru on the next available flight.
A number of Pacific Island Countries (PICs) have not reported any confirmed cases of COVID-19 including Nauru, Kiribati, Republic of Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
RESPAC is a key partner of National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHS) and National Disaster Management Offices in the Pacific and works closely with Nauru National Emergency Management Operation (NEMO) center and Nauru National Disaster Risk Management office to enhance capabilities in early warning systems and disaster preparedness.
The RESPAC project overall objective is to improve capacity of Pacific Small Island Developing States focused on three components, Strengthened early warning systems and climate monitoring capacity in selected PICS; Preparedness and planning mechanisms and tools to manage disaster recovery processes strengthened at regional, national and local level; and Increased use of financial instruments to manage and share disaster related risk and fund post disaster recovery efforts.
Photo supplied UNDP