Disaster Recovery is the final phase of the Disaster Risk Management (DRM) Cycle.

It is the coordinated process of supporting disaster and emergency affected areas and communities and involves rehabilitation and reconstruction activities.

The arrangements for this coordinated process is set out in the National Disaster Risk Management Plan 2010.

It follows relief actions taken by responsible authorities such as the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) and its partners as stipulated in the DRM Plan in providing humanitarian relief and basic community support services during and immediately after the impact of a disaster.

Rehabilitation activities aim to restore peoples and essential services, including the beginning of the repair of physical, social and economic damages.

Reconstruction activities on the other hand are aimed at ensuring the medium and long term repair of physical, social and economic damage and the return of affected structures to a condition equal to or better than before a disaster.

The restoration of the emotional well being of communities and individuals affected by disasters is also a priority for those involved in any coordinated recovery effort following a disaster.

Public knowledge of hazards and on what to do before, during and after they occur is one of the ways in which their risks to communities can be reduced. Knowledge of these hazards and their risks also help communities plan for such events and be better prepared to adapt to their effects.

In anticipation of the imminent threat of a disaster event, an alert (warning) is received by the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) from monitoring services and agencies such as the Solomon Islands Meteorological Services (SIMS), kicking off the Response phase of the Disaster Risk Management (DRM) Cycle. This phase continues throughout a disaster and immediately after to ensure its effects are minimised, and that people affected are given immediate relief and support.

The NDMO is usually supported in this phase by sub-national authorities such as Provincial Governments, communities, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO), Civil Society Organisations (CSO) as well as the private sector.

Below are information on recommended actions to be taken by members of the public just before and during a number of disaster events:

Coastal erosions

What you should do:

  • Follow local building codes and zoning advice, if available
  • Plan very carefully before you build.
  • Learn what you can about your coastline.
  • Elderly people who know the area are a good source of information.
  • Many countries have some GIS and historical mapping facilities; ask if they can show you such maps.
  • Always leave an adequate distance back from the shore.

What you should avoid:

  • Avoid building barriers which prevent sand from moving along your beach, e.g. groyne, seawall, etc.
  • Avoid building too close to an active beach.
  • Avoid building seawalls unless absolutely necessary
  • Seawalls must be correctly designed or they will fail and cause more erosion.
  • Avoid dumping domestic waste and machinery on the beach to attempt to prevent erosion.

If you must build near or on an active beach:

  • Consider the most extreme weather events in your area the structure should either be movable or be able to survive these events.
  • Consider your neighbours - if your building stops sand movement you will cause erosion to neighbouring areas, you may be liable for damages.
  • Expect the beach to move - build on stilts so that the beach can move without affecting your structure.
  • Stilts also allow the natural movement of sand along the beach.



Preparing for an Earthquake

Always keep an emergency kit in your home. Include water, food, necessary medicines, a reliable torch with fresh batteries and spares, portable radio, first aid kit, emergency phone numbers.

During an Earthquake

If you are inside:

  • Drop, cover and hold.
  • Stay inside — do not attempt to run outside. However, be prepared for aftershocks and evacuate if necessary. Listen to your radio for information and advice.
  • Take cover under strong support like an internal door frame, table, desk or bed. Stay away from windows, overhead fittings, shelves containing heavy objects etc.
  • If in a high-rise building, stay away from windows and outer walls. Never use the elevator.
  • If in a crowded public place, try not to panic. Do not attempt to barge at the door.

If you are outdoors:

  • Keep well clear of buildings, power lines, trees etc. and stay in the open. Do not attempt to seek shelter in a building.
  • If you are in a vehicle, pull off the road to a clear area and stop the car.
  • Beware of fallen power lines, damaged roads and bridges.

After an Earthquake

  • Check people for injuries and apply first aid. Call the ambulance and do not move the seriously injured unless they are in immediate danger.
  • Do not use the telephone unless it is absolutely necessary.
  • Do not use your vehicle unless there is an emergency.
  • Do not enter damaged buildings.
  • Turn off cooking stoves. Do not light matches until you have checked for gas or fuel leaks.
  • Turn utility off at source if you have water leaks or damaged electrical wires or sewerage lines.
  • Check food and water supplies.
  • Stay calm and lend a hand to others if possible.



Preparing for a Flood:

  • Learn all you can about previous floods in your area and about possible warning signs and systems.
  • Keep an eye on the weather conditions, listen to the weather forecast and follow flood warnings.
  • Keep to hand materials such as lumber, plywood, nails, rope, wires, plastic sheeting, sandbags, etc.
  • Keep to hand a portable radio, spare batteries and an emergency kit.
  • Store all chemicals away from the reach of flood waters.
  • Store livestock feed and supplies above expected water levels. Ensure safety of pets.

Upon hearing a Flood Warning:

  • Listen for emergency instructions.
  • Ensure all your family members are present.
  • Watch for rapidly rising water.
  • Store drinking water in sealed plastic containers as water supply may be interrupted.
  • Move livestock to higher ground.
  • Move household items to higher levels. Secure objects that could fl oat and cause damage.
  • Evacuate if necessary when it is safe to do so. If crossing flood waters, move slowly to avoid losing your footing.
  • Turn off electricity at the main switch before evacuating.

During a Flood:

  • Avoid areas prone to flash flooding.
  • Don’t attempt to cross rivers or streams where water is above knee level.
  • Beware of water-covered roads and bridges.
  • Never allow children to play around high water or storm drains.
  • Animals can swim well. Do not leave them in confined areas or pens. Open gates so that animals can escape.

After a Flood:

  • Re-enter buildings with caution. Use flashlights, NOT lanterns with open flames in case of flammable gas inside.
  • Be alert for fire hazards such as broken electrical wires.
  • If the building has been under water, do not switch on the main, wait for professional assistance. Never touch electrical switches while wet or standing in water.
  • Don’t use appliances or equipment until they have been cleaned, dried and thoroughly checked for damage.
  • Report damaged utility lines (electricity, water, gas and telephone) to the appropriate authorities.
  • Boil all water and don’t eat left-over food until it is checked for contamination.
  • Keep away from disaster areas as your presence may


Preparing for a Landslide:

  • Learn to recognise the landslide warning signs.
  • Look for drainage patterns on slopes near your home noting where flow increases over soil-covered slopes. Check these slopes for signs of land movement, such as small slides or flows or even increasingly tilting trees — changes could alert you to a greater landslide threat.
  • Minimize home hazards — plant ground cover on slopes and build retaining walls.
  • Make evacuation plans — plan at least two evacuation routes since roads may become blocked or closed.
  • Safe areas include slopes that have no movement history, flat-lying areas away from sudden changes in slope, and areas along ridges away from tops of slopes.

Embankments along roads are particularly susceptible to landslides.

During a Landslide:

  • Quickly get out of the path of the landslide or mud flow, RUN UPHILL to the nearest high ground in a direction away from the path. If rocks and other debris are approaching, run for the nearest shelter such as a group of trees or a building.
  • If escape is not possible, curl into a tight ball and protect your head.

After a Landslide:

  • Stay away from the slide area, there may be danger of additional slides. Remember that flooding may occur after a landslide.
  • Check for injured and trapped persons near the slide, without entering the direct slide area. Direct rescuers to their locations.
  • Listen to a battery-operated radio or television for the latest emergency information.
  • Check building foundations, chimney, and surrounding land for damage. Check for damaged utility lines and report any damage to the utility company.
  • Replant damaged ground as soon as possible since erosion caused by loss of ground cover can lead to flash flooding.

Tropical Cyclones

Pre-season Preparations:

  • Be aware of Cyclone Warning Systems.
  • Check your house for structural weaknesses.
  • Identify the safest room in your house.
  • Clear your property of loose objects/material that could blow about during extreme winds. Trim tree branches away from windows and power lines.
  • In case of a storm surge warning know the nearest safe high ground and the safest access route to it.
  • Prepare an emergency kit for the family containing a portable radio with spare batteries, torch, fuel lamp, candles, matches, water containers, canned food with opener, spare clothes, masking tape for windows and plastic bags.
  • Clear all drains and waterways on the property.
  • Ensure houses have proper provision for earthing lightning.

Upon Hearing a Tropical Cyclone Warning:

  • Listen to your radio for further information.
  • Fill water containers and fuel car (if you have one).
  • Store or tie down all loose objects in the house.
  • Batten down roof. Fix any loose parts of the house.
  • Close off shutters. If you live in a flood-prone area take flood precautions.
  • Ensure all the members of your family are present; keep children away from swollen drains and waterways.
  • If your house is not structurally safe, prepare to move to the nearest evacuation centre.
  • Collect firewood and keep in a dry place.

During a Cyclone:

  • Disconnect all electrical appliances but listen to your battery radio for further information.
  • Open louvres on side away from wind to reduce the pull force of the wind on the roof.
  • Remain calm, stay indoors but clear of doors and windows. Remain in the strongest part of the building.
  • Only use the telephone for very urgent calls.
  • If the building breaks up, protect yourself with rugs or mattresses under a strong table/bench or hold onto a solid fixture (e.g. a water pipe).

Beware of the Eye of the Storm:

If the cyclone eye passes over a sudden lull in winds occurs and may last up to 2 hours. The other side of the cyclone then hits and winds resume with equal strength but blowing from the other direction. It is vitally important to remain in shelter during and after the eye passes.

After the Cyclone storm has passed:

  • Don’t go outside until officially advised it is safe.
  • Do not attempt to drive and don’t allow children to roam around outside.
  • Beware of fallen power lines, damaged buildings, trees or flooded waterways.
  • Listen to your radio for advice and updates.


Preparing for a Tsunami:

  • Since tsunamis often happen suddenly, everyone in the community must know the warning signs. An earthquake in your area is a natural tsunami warning sign, as is a noticeable rise or fall of coastal water and a roaring sound as the tsunami rushes towards shore.
  • Coastal communities and schools should plan for tsunami — prepare a safe area and escape paths (more than one) so that people can reach the safe area quickly. The safe area should be on high ground or at least a few kilometers from the coast.
  • Have disaster supplies on hand — torch and battery radio both with extra batteries, emergency food and water, can opener, basic medicines, money and sturdy shoes.
  • Develop an emergency communication plan and post-disaster meeting place in case family members are separated during a tsunami.

During a Tsunami:

  • Listen to your radio or television for emergency information – if you hear a tsunami warning or if you become aware of any of the warning signs, evacuate and seek higher ground immediately.
  • Do not stay in low-lying coastal areas after an earthquake has been felt. If the earthquake occurs just offshore, there will be very little time for response so head for higher ground as quickly as possible.
  • Never go to the shore to watch a tsunami. If you can see it you are too close to escape.
  • If you are in a boat offshore, do not return to shore — the vessel is safe in the open ocean.
  • During a tsunami emergency, police and other emergency organizations will try to save your life. Give them your fullest cooperation.
  • A tsunami is not a single wave – it is a series of waves, so stay out of danger areas (coastal and low-lying regions) for at least 2-3 hours.

After a Tsunami:

  • Listen to your radio for advice and updates.
  • Help trapped or injured people.
  • Stay out of damaged buildings. When returning to your home, enter it with caution – check for gas leaks, electrical shorts and live wires.
  • A small tsunami at one point on the shore can be extremely large a few kilometers away. Don’t let the modest size of one make you lose respect for them all.

Key Points to Remember:

Tsunami can strike any coastline in the Pacific — warnings apply to YOU. For tsunami survival remember the following three warning signs:

  1. An earthquake
  2. Any unusual change in sea level
  3. A ROARING noise

Upon noticing the warning signs:

  • RUN to a safe place
  • Do not wait to be told
  • Do not wait until you see the wave — that is too late because the wave travels faster than you can run.


Volcanic Eruptions

Volcanic eruptions are preceded by signs, some of which are not detected by instruments, nor observed by a volcanologist. The following are some points that should be taken into account to effectively respond to a volcanic eruption.

Preparing for a Volcanic Eruption:

  • Make evacuation plans. If you live in a known volcanic hazard area, plan a route out and have a backup route in mind.
  • Always keep an emergency kit in your home. Include water, food, and necessary medicine, a reliable torch with fresh batteries and spares, portable radio, first aid kit, emergency phone numbers.
  • Report any and all unusual physical changes around volcanoes e.g. the drying up of vegetation, rumbling sounds, earthquakes, landslides and other possible abnormalities.

During an Eruption:

  • Listen to the radio for information and advice. Pay attention to warnings, which include evacuation notices.
  • Escape from area as quickly as possible.
  • Find shelter, but NOT in a building with low-pitched or flat roof, if heavy ash is falling.
  • Avoid basements and closed spaces where gases may accumulate.
  • Wear protective clothing over head and body if you have to move in an ash shower.
  • Breathe through a handkerchief.
  • Always carry a flashlight, even during the daytime.


  • Establish permanent danger zones (4 to 6 km radius circle) around the summit of active volcanoes.
  • Educate population about volcano risks.
  • Improve warning and evacuation systems.

Learn about the different types of natural and human-caused disasters and their impact on lives and livelihood.

Natural and human-caused disasters affect many people each year. Major adverse events such as these have the potential to cause catastrophic loss of life and physical destruction. They are often unexpected and can leave communities in shock.

The possible threats to the Solomon Islands are significant. They include:

In general terms, the effects of disasters on the country and its people include:

  • Loss of life
  • Injury
  • Damage to and destruction of property
  • Damage to subsistence and cash crops
  • Disruption of life-style
  • Loss of livelihood
  • Disruption of services
  • Damage to infrastructure and disruption of government systems
  • National economic loss
  • Sociological and psychological after-effects

Disaster preparedness are measures taken to prepare for and reduce the effects of disasters.

It includes taking necessary action(s) to predict and where possible, prevent disasters, mitigate their impact on vulnerable populations as well as to effectively cope with their consequences.

Disaster preparedness provides a platform to design effective, realistic and coordinated planning, reduces duplication of efforts and increase overall effectiveness of national, community and household disaster preparedness and response efforts (IFRC).

In Solomon Islands, this platform is provided through the National Disaster Risk Management Plan 2010.

This plan and any future replacement of it, provides for the establishment of institutional arrangements for the national Government to address disaster risk management within the Solomon Islands.

It provides for both disaster management arrangements for preparing for, managing and recovering from disaster events and institutional mechanisms for addressing disaster risk reduction, including climate change adaptation. Arrangements are addressed at the national, provincial and local levels.

This plan states that disaster risk management requires a policy consideration, in order to to establish obligations and roles, set arrangements and accountabilities and to provide for national planning. It has been prepared and endorsed by the National Disaster Council (NDC) established under Section 3 of the National Disaster Council Act 1989 and approved by the Cabinet of the Solomon Islands Government under Section 10 of the Act.

The plan and other preparedness activities such as the raising of public knowledge and awareness of disaster types (hazards) and how to respond to them are implemented by the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology’s National Disaster Management Office (NDMO).

In carrying out its mandate, the NDMO is supported by Agencies including the private sector, Provincial Government and community disaster response committees as well as by various Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs).

Disaster preparedness activities embedded with risk reduction measures can prevent disaster situations and also result in saving maximum lives and livelihoods during any disaster situation, enabling the affected population to get back to normalcy within a short time period.

In this respect, disaster preparedness is a continuous and integrated process resulting from a wide range of risk reduction activities and resources rather than from a distinct sectoral activity by itself. It requires the contributions of many different areas—ranging from awareness, training and logistics, to health care, recovery, livelihood to institutional development.

Disaster Preparedness and Communities

Disaster risk management (DRM) is about reducing risks to communities from hazards and their effect.

Communities, who know their local hazards best, are the immediate responders to problems, and are ultimately in charge of the recovery process.

Communities must therefore, with help and support, look at ways to reduce their vulnerability to hazards and increase their capacity to cope with the effects of disasters.

The National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) has made plans to develop and strengthen DRM capacity in Solomon Islands over the next few years.

This will empower communities in DRM rather than create dependencies. The NDMO Plan is focused on:

  1. Assisting communities to become better aware and prepared for disasters;

  2. Maintaining an effective network and partnership with stakeholders;

  3. Assisting in the development and maintenance of an effective disaster preparedness and response capability and capacity nation-wide. The NDMO is committed to our plan and its achievement. I appeal to stakeholders and communities wishing to promote disaster risk reduction in Solomon Islands to support this Plan and work with us in its fulfillment.

Disaster Risk Management Cycle (DRM)

What is the DRM?

The Disaster Risk Management (DRM) Cycle illustrates the ongoing process by which governments, businesses, and civil society plan for and reduce the impact of disasters, react during and immediately following a disaster, and take steps to recover after a disaster has occurred.

Appropriate actions at all points in the cycle lead to greater preparedness, better warnings, reduced vulnerability or the prevention of disasters during the next iteration of the cycle.

The complete disaster risk management cycle includes the shaping of public policies and plans that either modify the causes of disasters or mitigate their effects on people, property, and infrastructure.

Changing weather patterns in Solomon Islands as well as rising temperatures and sea levels due to the effects of climate change have combined to bring an increased risk of natural disasters.

The situation has an added Human dimension due to the rapidly growing urban populations around the country which have led to the settlement of disaster prone areas.

Through its National Disaster Management Office (NDMO), the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology is leading the country’s efforts to reduce the risks of natural disasters to human lives.

The NDMO’s efforts are supported by the monitoring and evaluation capabilities of the MECDM’s Meteorological Services (SIMS) and Climate Change Divisions. Through the Environment and Conservation Division’s inputs to urban planning and development processes, the MECDM also helps ensure that proper planning and awareness of the risks of living in disaster prone areas leads to a lesser risk of the loss of human lives.

The Ministry’s efforts are supported at the national level by other Government Ministries, sub-national authorities such as the Honiara City Council (HCC) and Provincial Governments, local communities as well as by other groups such as various Non-Governmental Organisations and Civil Society Organisations.

The Ministry’s efforts are supported at the national level by authoritative bodies such as the Honiara City Council (HCC) and other Government Ministries as well by other groups such as various Non-Governmental Organisations, Civil Society Organisations.

On the international front Solomon Islands is a Party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its Kyoto Protocol which together make up the core of the international policy response to climate change. Solomon Islands is also a signatory to the Hyogo Framework on Disaster Risk Management and has been involved in the European Union- Global Climate Change Alliance programmes. The country continues to benefit from funding by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) which is the financing mechanism for the UNFCCC made available through Implementing Agencies such as the UNDP, UNEP, FAO and World Bank.

Within the Pacific regional level, Solomon Islands is a signatory to the Pacific Plan, Pacific Islands Framework for Action on Climate Change (PIFACC) and the Regional Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction and Disaster Management that have established climate change and disaster risk management related objectives and actions. Partnerships continue to be developed with a number of international and regional inter-governmental organizations, some of which have specific mandates to assist their member countries address climate change, disaster risk management and related development issues.