Disaster Risk Management Delegate - North Pacific
My role for the COVID19 is to oversee and provide operational management to the local red cross offices in Marshall Island, FSM, and the Republic of Palau. Since the COVID19 Pandemic started, this role varies from advising on day to day operational strategies to overall short- and long-term planning and budgeting for the three National Societies.
Whilst settling into the role of COVID19 operations management, TC Harold hit and affected Vanuatu and some of the other south pacific islands. Immediately our office in Suva requested that I assist with providing temporary operations management for Vanuatu remotely while the team in Suva focuses on Fiji and Tonga. I did this role for a total of five weeks until there was a full time Operations manager.
COVID19 created some challenges as I was just settling into a new country and learning the lay of the land, while at the same time scoping the capacity of the local Red Cross National Societies that I am to work directly with. Three of these great National Societies are small and have very limited experience in responding to a global Pandemic. At the same time, COVID19 restrictions were always to be adhered to and followed. These challenges are being constantly addressed through working alongside the RC National Societies to pull all normal business as usual and activate its Emergency Operations Centers to manage the COVID19 response and to plan what and how to respond. Showing the National Societies their inhouse capacity and managing the expectations from the global movement through clear communication of deadlines and on the job training for the tools was also done.
I believe in localizing the tools in response and recovery in all our efforts to assist.
By discussing with the communities and the local actors on how they can improve their own resilience can take time but eventually they catch on and they prioritize it.
This was very well observed in TC Harold and with COVID-19 where a lot of the investments into the local actors and development of their institutional tools were seen to be empowering their ownership of the response.