State-of-the-art facility to advance Samoa’s disaster responses

Deputy Prime Minister, Fiame Naomi Mataafa, World Bank Executive Director, Zhang Minwen, with the representative of  Kramer Ausenco and the church minster marking the commencement of construction work

By Rula Su’a Vaai

APIA, SAMOA – THURSDAY 07 FEBRUARY 2019: Samoa’s response to natural disasters is to greatly improve when a state-of-the-art facility now under construction is completed.

The National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) will provide the tools to coordinate actions prior to and during a disaster.

The National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) is a component of the Pacific Resilience Program (PREP) funded by the World Bank through a Grant, and implemented by the Disaster Management Office of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. PREP is contributing to Samoa’s development goal of building resilience to natural disasters and climate change, improve early warning systems, and provide mechanisms for financing recovery activities in the wake of a disaster.

It will also help Samoa effectively implement its National Disaster Management Plan (2017-2020).

The NEOC will be housed in a two storey building with the latest technology and equipment to assist the Disaster Management Office and Meteorology Division, produce accurate information for the public in times of a disaster. It is designed to have sufficient space and equipment for effective coordination and response in case of a disaster. It will help increase the resilience of Samoa and the Pacific region as a whole to natural hazards such as cyclones, coastal/riverine flooding, volcanoes, tsunamis and earthquakes by improving the quality of forecasting and warning services.

“The new building signifies part of Samoa’s effort in reducing its vulnerability to climate change,” said Deputy Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata’afa, when breaking ground for the project yesterday.

The building will be constructed by the Zheng Company Ltd at the total bid price of SAT$6.4 million. The building’s design was done by Kramer Ausenco (Samoa) Ltd, who will also supervise the construction work. The will take 14 months and the building is expected to be completed by April 2020.

The Government of Samoa expressed their gratitude and appreciation to the Director of the World Bank Group for their vision in providing this much needed assistance for Samoa. It is the government’s hope that others continue to provide support in this important area of climate and disaster risk management that is an increasing concern for Samoa.