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We need to do more in disaster risk: Tuvalu PM

A national building code is required for Tuvalu to be better prepared for disasters, says the island’s Prime Minister Enele Sopoaga. Such a code would lead to the construction of stronger buildings on Tuvalu, strong enough to withstand adverse climatic conditions.

Speaking to Islands Business in Nadi recently, Sopoanga admitted that more still needs to be done in the area of disaster preparedness coordination, and building communication and protection infrastructure. “I have set up what we call a national advisory council on climate change that can advice directly to cabinet the response we should be doing on climate change impacts in particular sea level rise, cyclones and that sort of thing.

“The council so far has come up with very good proposals, one of which is to build a storage and protection building, or climate proofing all the buildings in Tuvalu that means legislating for a building code and that sort of thing. “There is a lot of work that needs to be done and also a great need for more presence of the international community in Tuvalu.

“We need for example the representation of the United Nations through appropriate persons on the ground in Tuvalu.” PM Sopoaga said his government doesn’t have a specific budget on disaster preparedness. The country’s entire budget is all about mitigating and adapting to adverse climate conditions. As an example, 40 per cent of Tuvalu’s budget is on education, and disaster preparedness and climate change are key components of the school curriculum.

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