Vanuatu Government National Emergency Radio Network operational in time for high risk weather season
2 December 2021
The Vanuatu Police Force (VPF) and Australian Defence Force (ADF) have progressed delivery of the Vanuatu Government National Emergency Radio Network in time for the upcoming high risk weather season.
The emergency network connects police posts across Vanuatu’s six provinces, enabling inter-island communication during emergencies with police headquarters and the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO).
Commander Deployable Joint Force Headquarters Major General Scott Winter said the ADF is proud to partner with the VPF to support Vanuatu’s priorities.
“The devastation from Tropical Cyclone Harold in 2020 reinforced the priority of radio communications for Vanuatu,” Major General Winter said.
“This project will connect communities, enhance Vanuatu’s disaster resilience, and support an increased police presence.”
Vanuatu’s Commissioner of Police Robson Iavro highlighted the importance of the upgraded radio network for the people of Vanuatu.
“I recall difficulty accessing the digital networks during these disasters,” Commissioner Iavro 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.”
Australian Army Signallers have delivered the infrastructure upgrades alongside their VPF counterparts since October 2020, with the most recent contingent of 27 personnel wrapping up installations in late November.
The VPF has also been trained on Very High Frequency and High Frequency (HF) systems, including portable HF radios that will allow emergency response teams to establish communications via the emergency network, regardless of where they are in Vanuatu.
Contingent Commander Captain Todd Wilson said the upgrades will make a significant difference to local communities.
“Together the ADF and VPF installed new communications equipment and trained to establish a resilient emergency communication system across Vanuatu,” Captain 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.”
The Vanuatu Government National Emergency Radio Network is being delivered in partnership between the VPF and ADF under the Vanuatu-Australia Defence Cooperation Program.
Another ADF contingent will deploy next year to continue delivery of this far-reaching project with the VPF.
Stringent COVID-19 mitigation measures were adopted throughout the deployment to ensure the health and safety of our Pacific family.
Imagery of is available here: http://images.defence.gov.au/S20212950