IOM in the North Pacific at a Glance
IOM established its first office in the region in Majuro in May 2009. The opening of the sub-regional Head Office in Pohnpei followed a few months later. The FSM has been a member state since December 2011 and the RMI acceded to membership on 26 November, 2013.
Inaugural International Day for Disaster Reduction in FSM
The inaugural International Day for Disaster Reduction in the FSM was recognized in Pohnpei on Thursday, October 13. The event was the first collective effort of the Disaster Risk Management (DRM) Network, a collection of state and national government agencies, official missions, international, regional and local organizations. Co-chaired by the Office of Environment and Emergency Management (OEEM) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the DRM Network’s mission is to assist in making communities more resilient and more prepared for disasters, when (not if) they occur in the FSM.
The Exhibition was opened with an official welcoming from the Governor of Pohnpei, Hon. John Ehsa, U.S. Ambassador, Peter A. Prahar, Director Andrew Yatilman, OEEM and Mr Amena Yauvoli, Manager, SPC, North Pacific Regional Office. The Master of Ceremony then welcomed Mr Ashley Carl, Country Officer, IOM, Mr Rick Herman, Emergency Medicine Trainer, Pohnpei State Department of Public Safety and Mr Iakop Iaonis to the stage. This introduction quickly developed into quite a performance, when Mr Iaonis collapsed on the stage holding his chest and complaining of chest pain. After a brief dialogue between Mr Carl and Mr Herman about locating the emergency response numbers, a volunteer from the crowd came to the stage with a large placard emblazoned with the emergency number for Pohnpei: 320 2221.
Following a brief call to the emergency number the new Pohnpei State ambulance pulled into the driveway with sirens blaring and lights flashing. Two uniformed police officers attended to the victim: equipped with oxygen, first aid equipment and a gurney. During the course of this event, the speakers mentioned that this was only a demonstration and used the opportunity to publicize the new emergency services and explain emergency medical response. This led into a speech by Mr Carl aimed specifically at the students, explaining terms such as hazards and disasters and how to prepare for them. He also announced the official launch of the Climate Adaptation and Disaster Risk Education (CADRE) project which aims to build the resilience of schools and communities in Pohnpei.
While the IOM coordinated the event, it would not have been possible without the members of the DRM Partner Network: The event was primarily funded through the generous support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and a significant financial contribution from the Secretariat of Pacific Community (SPC). The Embassy of Japan also made a monetary donation and the U.S. Embassy and College of Micronesia - FSM provided staging, sound and equipment for the event. All other partners contributed in some way, including the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), Conservation Society of Pohnpei (CSP), Gear-Up Program, Island Research & Education Initiative (IREI), Micronesian Red Cross Society (MRCS), the U.S. Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS). The Island Food Community of Pohnpei provided catering for the day.
Many members of the public dropped into the Pohn Umpomp compound during the course of the day, including representatives from Pohnpei State and National Government, members of the international community, church groups, principals, teachers and notably over 150 students. This truly was a collaborative effort and demonstrated the power of coordination between disaster risk management stakeholders in making communities resilient; and helping communities get ready!