The workshop, which ran from Monday, was coordinated by Emergency Management Cook Islands (EMCI) with the support of Red Cross and facilitated by Tony Goodrick, the logistics officer of World Food Programmes (WFD) Pacific Office.
“The main aim of this training is to set up a logistics unit to help coordinate and transfer information accurately in response to a disaster. There is a lot more awareness and understanding, for operations to be successful,” said Goodrick.
“The WFP Logistics Cluster (LC) are here to support national-based response agencies on the island. We are only here to support. Logistics in the Pacific is entirely different from elsewhere in the world, the region is very remote.
“A primary aim of the LC is a support service that provides a coordination and transferring of information management such as communication from a focal point to ensure the identification and efficient use of logistics resources available to be used during an emergency in support of the government’s disaster response directives.
“It is about avoiding a duplication or a single information process planning across the sector such as government agencies and private sector. LC creates the framework to have a structure in place.
“It is also critical to understand that is not role of the LC to determine programmes, that is, who is the affected population, what goods should be sent and where and when; these are decisions made outside the logistics cluster,” said Goodrick.
A role of LC is information management, for agencies involved to better understand their roles and responsibilities during an emergency, and learn about distribution during an emergency such as how to manage/control stocks of goods. LC is also tasked with undertaking operational activities such as distribution.
Representatives from various relevant government and non-government organisations including EMCI, agriculture, fire service, maritime surveillance, tourism, Customs, Office of the Prime Minister, Red Cross and Ports Authority participated in the sessions.
Director of EMCI, Charles Carlson said people need to be mindful of the importance of the coordination of emergency response to disasters.
EMCI intends to set up a LC structure that filters through to the all the agencies, including the public.
“People’s expectations are, that only a few of us are responsible to deal with emergency response. We need to pool all the resources together,” he said.
“We want to train and develop the logistics capacity to have people and relevant agencies understand the importance of having it in place.”
EMCI’s expected outcome is to have a robust LC system in place for satisfactory logistics preparedness through each participant to maintain common logistic and operational plans, strengthen partnerships between agencies in their roles in disaster response and more.
WFP is fairly new in the Pacific, having been around for only four years. The organisation hosts the Global Logistics Cluster support team at its headquarters in Rome.