Pacific experts discuss communications platforms for disasters

Source: Xinhua| 2018-12-04 14:07:57|Editor: ZD
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SUVA, Dec. 4 (Xinhua) -- In times of emergency, effective communication is vital to saving lives and properties, a Fijian government minister said here on Tuesday.

According to a government statement, speaking at the third Pacific Regional Emergency Telecommunications Cluster Workshop, Fiji's Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Disaster Management and Meteorological Services Jone Usamate said that the island nation is currently transitioning from radio connectivity to fiber optic link and seamless communication is crucial during an event of disaster.

"It is important to know that the value of having a state of the art technology will only be realized when effective communication is disseminated through a timely manner. In any emergency situation, the ability to communicate real time information is vital," the minister said, adding that clear communication can lead to timely decisions where lives and properties can be saved.

Meanwhile, experts from the communication and technology sector including practitioners from disaster management will be mapping out simple messaging platforms to improve communications during national disasters.

Tropical Cyclone Winston in Fiji in 2016 provided the ultimate test to the country's communication system, indicating that it has its strengths and limitations, Usamate said.

The workshop provides a good opportunity to examine the relevance of such cluster, especially with the growth of social media such as Facebook, Twitter and WeChat, he said.

"We can utilize such platforms to disseminate vital information for preparedness, early warning, and early recovery and for humanitarian response."

The three-day workshop will focus on presentations from the region and other development strategies on communications and technology.