Volume 18 Issue 1, 2003

Building Safer Urban Communities in the South Pacific

Pat Jones, Charlie Higgins

Archived Article


In November 2001, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the South Pacific Geoscience Commission (SOPAC) organised a 2 day regional workshop on ‘Building Safer Urban Communities in the South Pacific’, in Suva, Fiji. A working group of the chief fire officers and other officials from Pacific Island Countries (PICs) assessed the current capacity of their countries to conduct Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) operations. They noted that this capacity is extremely limited, primarily because of a lack of awareness of the function and generally weak coordination in emergency response. The working group concluded that PICs do need their own USAR capability because of the high level of risk to their urban areas, and they outlined the next steps needed to develop such a capability.