DEAR EDITOR, I wish to respond to the article by Mr ALFRED PAGEPITU your reporter in Gizo on the water crisis faced by the Gizo community.
To provide a fairer reporting for public consumption, I would like to respond as follows:
The NDMOs trip to Gizo was on the request of the Chair of the Provincial Disaster Committee.
The purpose of the trip was to support the province put in a “short term plan” on how to respond to the short term water needs of the Gizo community.
The meeting which took place at the Provincial office came up with the option mentioned in your paper.
The plan was for NDMO to donate tank to the Gizo Township to be installed at certain strategic point with the Red Cross water module to help clean the water before it is transported to the storage tanks.
This was a repeat of the same exercise by NDMO and SIRC few years back when Gizo experience similar water crisis.
What was required for this to happen was for the province to identify the best water source with the Red Cross water module to be used to clean it.
The water source previously used for this exercise was drying up so another source needs to be identified.
However, this plan did not eventuate because, there was another project which NDMO is also a counterpart already installing water Tanks in Gizo.
The SWISAP project UNDP funded and implemented through the Ministry of Mines and Rural Electrification – Water Resource Dept had already installed 10,000 litre tanks at the Anglican Church, SSEC Church and the AOG church.
This project will further install water tanks at the following places by Feb/March 2018
- The COTLW
- United Church
- SDA Church
- Gizo Community High School
- Gizo Primary School
With the SWISAP already installing water tanks at various strategic locations in Gizo, the NDMO was not required to further procure tanks.
Further to this, there was no need to put in a request for the use of the SIRC water module as the rain was already falling in Gizo on the day of the meeting and the following days.
I want to make it clear to the people of Gizo that the NDMO is NOT in the business of funding long term multi-million dollar projects like the Gizo water project, our business is to support communities in their short term, immediate need issues.
Our role is mostly humanitarian and it will remain that way.
The discussion on the Gizo water issue which has been going on for the last 20 plus years should be levelled at the Provincial Govt and other responsible authorities.
We will not be drawn into the longer term discussion on such issues because we do not have the expertise, resources or the mandate to do it.
Director, National Disaster Management Office