Mobilizing the Pacific Diaspora: A Key Component of Disaster Resilience   [open pdf - 91KB]

From the Document: "Of all the earth's regions, the Pacific is one of the most prone to natural disasters. Climate-related disasters such as floods, droughts, and tropical cyclones make the headlines, along with other natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions. These may be accompanied by crises in public health. Samoa, for example, confronted a measles epidemic in 2019, followed by the global COVID-19 [coronavirus disease 2019] pandemic in 2020. In Fiji and Vanuatu, the pandemic was compounded by Cyclone Harold. These experiences highlight the severity of cascading disasters and the complex requirements for a humanitarian response. Today, many Pacific Island countries rely heavily on government relief and international aid when they face a disaster. Traditional sources of resilience can still play an important role, however, both within local communities and within the broader diaspora of Pacific communities in Aotearoa-New Zealand, Australia, and the US. [...] Opportunities abound to improve social justice by resetting imbalances and inequities in disadvantaged communities. Innovative solutions to lower the cost of remittances to Pacific nations is one example of a practical improvement going forward. A better understanding of Pacific cultures from within and a better recognition of the role of the Pacific diaspora and of churches in Pacific communities would also help improve development efforts and disaster response."

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