PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT

Pacific Islands Development Program/East-West Center
With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies/University of Hawai‘i


News Release

National Disaster Preparedness Training Center
Pago Pago, American Samoa
April 26, 2010

HAWAII TEAM TO HELP AMERICAN SAMOA PLANNERS

Dr. Karl Kim (PhD MIT) Director of the recently established Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) National Disaster Preparedness Training Center (NDPTC) at the University of Hawaii arrived in American Samoa last night from Hawaii leading a team with multiple missions, including governmental and inter-institutional collaboration, disaster management training and local capacity building with an emphasis on village resiliency traditions.

Dr. Kim is a former Vice Chancellor at the University of Hawaii— Manoa, and as a Professor of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Hawaii won an international design competition for a hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle.

As the Director of the seventh and newest member of the National Domestic Preparedness Consortium, Dr. Kim is routinely called upon by international, national, state and local agencies to provide technical assistance related to climate change, disaster resilience and urban planning.

The other six members of the National Domestic Preparedness Consortium include the National Nuclear Security Administration, Counter Terrorism Operations Support; New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, Energetic Materials and Research Testing Center; National Center for Biomedical Research and Training, Academy of Counter-Terrorist Education (Louisiana State University); National Emergency Response and Rescue Training Center (Texas A&M University); Center for Domestic Preparedness; and the National Center for Emergency Response to Surface Transportation.

The Center, headquartered at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa, is the newest of seven federally funded members of the National Domestic Preparedness Consortium (NDPC). UH’s NDPTC will add to the nation’s all-hazards capabilities by focusing on programming and training for the following:

  • Natural hazards
  • Coastal communities
  • Special needs and resources of island communities and territories

The NDPTC works closely with its affiliate partners including the Pacific Risk Management ‘Ohana (PRIMO); National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Pacific Services Center, Pacific Marine environmental Laboratory’s Center for Tsunami Research and International Tsunami Information Center; the Pacific Disaster Center; Center for Excellence In Disaster Management & Humanitarian Assistance; Partnership for Disaster Resilience at the University of Oregon; and the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies.

Under the leadership of U.S. Senate Appropriations Chair Daniel K. Inouye and Senate Homeland Security Committee senior member Daniel K. Akaka, the University of Hawai‘i was recently awarded more than US$4.8 million for FY 2009 by the Department of Homeland Security.

The appropriated funds will be used to conduct research to develop and deliver disaster training for responders, decision-makers, policy-analysts and urban planners to ensure they are prepared to respond in the event of a catastrophe.

An advance team associated with the NDPTC that arrived last Thursday included NOAA Pacific Services Center Director Bill Thomas who led the movement to establish Fagatele Marine Bay as a National Marine Sanctuary in 1980’s; Kalani Souza, Hawaiian Kupuna Traditional/Cultural Elder and advisor to the Pacific Risk Management Ohana and NDPTC; Deputy Director of the American Samoa Government Hawaii Office and Military Liaison, Filipo Ilaoa (Sgt Major USMC ret.) who was designated as the contact coordinator by Governor Togiola at a meeting in Hawaii earlier this year with Dr. Kim; and Papalii Dr. Tusi Avegalio, Director of the Pacific Business Center Program. Papalii is facilitating inter-governmental and regional higher education collaboration and partnership initiatives for disaster management training and education.

Also arriving with the team is a distinguished expert in community resilience and natural disasters: Dr. Dolores Foley, Professor and Chair of the University of Hawai‘i Department of Urban and Regional Planning; Dr. Laura Kong, Director of the International Tsunami Information Center (ITIC) and lead trainer for conducting Tsunami training on Tuesday in cooperation with the American Samoa Department of Homeland Security (ASDHS).

ASDHS Director Mike Sala, whose insistence on such training prior to the natural disaster of September 2009 is well documented, and which training was credited for saving many lives, welcomes the opportunity to work with NDPTC and key village, community resource and experienced first responder organizations and agencies to benefit from the disaster preparedness training, which will be held at the Army Reserve Center.

The NDPTC is a DHS/FEMA training partner dedicated to providing critical all-hazards training throughout the United States and its territories with an emphasis on natural hazards and island and coastal communities.

Uniquely positioned geographically and culturally, the NDPTC develops and delivers disaster preparedness, response, and recovery training to governmental, private, and non-profit entities incorporating urban planning with an emphasis on community preparedness for vulnerable and at-risk populations.


 
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