The Vanuatu government’s emergency radio network has come online ahead of the high risk weather season, with support from the ADF.
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The Australian Defence Force recently partnered with the Vanuatu Police Force for the delivery of the Vanuatu government's National Emergency Radio Network, which came online ahead of the country’s high risk weather season.
The radio network is a critical piece of infrastructure for Vanuatu, providing connectivity between police across the country’s six provinces. The network enables the provinces to remain in communications throughout emergencies, and remain in contact with police headquarters and the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO).
“The devastation from Tropical Cyclone Harold in 2020 reinforced the priority of radio communications for Vanuatu,” Commander Deployable Joint Force Headquarters Major General Scott Winter said.
“This project will connect communities, enhance Vanuatu’s disaster resilience, and support an increased police presence.”
Robson Iavro, Vanuatu’s Commissioner of Police, outlined why the network was so crucial for the people of Vanuatu.
“I recall difficulty accessing the digital networks during these disasters,” he said.
“If this critical infrastructure was in place during that time, we would have been able to communicate critical issues during the time of emergency.
“It’s a lifesaver for everyone across Vanuatu in the event of the disaster.”
According to a release from Defence, signallers from the Australian Army have been collaborating with members from the Vanuatu Police Force since October 2020. Defence explained that the most recent rotation of 27 personnel completed their installation in late November.
The emergency network enables the police, who use VHF and HF radios, to raise communications with the network across the nation.
Contingent Commander Captain Todd Wilson explained that the recent collaboration with the Vanuatu Police Force will help protect local communities in emergency situations.
“Together the ADF and VPF installed new communications equipment and trained to establish a resilient emergency communication system across Vanuatu,” CAPT Wilson said.
“It will extend emergency 111 (000 equivalent) dispatch services, with coverage on Tanna and Malekula joining existing systems on Santo and Efate.
“This will facilitate daily police operations and expedite police response to emergency callouts.
“Upgrades now mean that if communications channels are disrupted during natural disasters, the VPF can still respond to calls for help, communicating with their command and the NDMO.”
Defence explained that the partnership was undertaken as part of the Vanuatu-Australia Defence Cooperation Program.
[Related: Patrol boat delivered to Vanuatu]