Hosking part of UN team in PNG

Tuesday March 13, 2018 Written by Published in Local
Elizabeth Hosking (right), is a member of the United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) team in Papua New Guinea. 18031210 Elizabeth Hosking (right), is a member of the United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) team in Papua New Guinea. 18031210

Cook Islander Elizabeth Hosking is part of the United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) team in Papua New Guinea for response to the recent earthquake.

Over half a million people have been affected by the 7.5 magnitude earthquake that struck the Highlands region of PNG last month. It destroyed homes and infrastructure, triggering landslides and affected water sources.

Hosking is part of the six member UNDAC team which supports a coordination mechanism for international response to PNG.

The rest of the members in the team are from Fiji, Solomon Islands, Philippines, Italy and Holland.

All of have unique skills and capacities in different areas relating to coordination or assessments.

“UNDAC is a country obligation, meaning the government of the country has a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the United Nations Office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, (UN OCHA), through the Emergency Management Cook Islands (EMCI) Disaster Management Division of the Office of the Prime Minister,” Hosking said.

“The MOU outlines the country’s obligation to deploy skilled capacity to any country who is affected by natural or man-made disaster, so as a trained UNDAC member from the Cook Islands, I am obligated to represent the Cook Islands in any disaster and humanitarian response that UNOCHA calls. These are called deployments.”

This trip to PNG is Hosking’s third deployment for UNDAC since becoming a certified UNDAC consultant in 2014.

Her first deployment was in 2015 to Federated States of Micronesia for Typhoon Haiyan and the second one in 2016 for TC Winston in Fiji.

“We coordinate between the government of the country and the international partners/communities of governments and non-government organisations that come into the country to do assessments and relief distribution.

The UNDAC team coordinate activities so there isn’t any duplicating of assessments and distribution and gaps are identified to ensure the communities affected is covered and no one misses out,” Hosking said.

“In all cases, the country is overwhelmed from what is happening with them, they have their own families and homes to attend to and we come in as neutral consultants and help the national authorities in coordinating their response, assessments and eventually recovery processes.

“While we are here, we train any local staff who may be available, so they are able to continue the coordination when we leave after three weeks.”

In addition to the coordination, UNDAC also does assessments, going out into affected communities and collecting information to provide situation reports.

These reports identify gaps in relief and these relief support can be provided by donor countries or aid funding.

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