Isolated people, far from assistance and communications, have to be self-reliant. In modern times, the question is how this self-reliance can be translated to urban areas, especially for those who are poor and marginal.
These people often need to deal with disasters in situations where they have little access to central government and emergency services, few connections with people who can assist them, and often few personal resources that can be utilized during and after a major disaster. Today, when planning for disasters, much of the emphasis is on relocation,  and likely impacts on tourism and loss of revenue. It should be obvious that in order to understand socio-ecological systems and their resilience to climate change, the interrelatedness of areas such as local expertise, customary resource management and practice, and the roles of leaders and institutions must be understood.
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However, as long as cultural values of sharing and valuing community remain and collaborations continue, then, as noted by McMillen et al. Despite the growing urbanization of the Pacific, urban dwellers are not as ignorant of their environment as planners sometimes seem to imagine. New migrants are often believed to have less understanding of local conditions, compounding the many inequalities faced by those on the margins.
This is in many ways an external response to urban planning in the Pacific. In most Pacific countries, governance at all levels is local and the everyday language is the dominant language of the country. Also, non-governmental organizations are increasingly home-grown and tend to work closely with communities, both urban and rural, offering alternatives and building upon what the people can, and do undertake for themselves.
Levels of resilience clearly exist, just as one would expect to find in village communities. These have most recently been encouraged by non-governmental organizations NGOs , but often they simply develop as people live together over a period of time.
These are replicating through other urban settlements. There is also evidence that before cyclones and floods people carry out much the same gardening practices that were practiced in rural areas e. The cutting of cassava tops, collecting water, tying down roofs and moving to strong structures are all practiced.
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Similarly, people talk widely of observations warning of an impending cyclone such as seasonal changes. Although many urban dwellers may not openly admit to being prepared, or at least warned of impending disaster, many will discuss and act upon such signs. Although it can be argued that people are losing traditional practices through urbanization there remains a sense of community in dealing with urban floods.
In fact the majority of people, although they do suffer from loss and exposure to disease, never simply wait for assistance after a disaster. Urban people are not helpless, even in informal settlements and even when poor.
It is well known throughout the world that major flood disasters disproportionally affect the poor and marginal, especially in urban areas. Pacific nations have been slower to come to such recognition, largely because urbanization is more recent, but in some ways this has meant that traditional and community responses and understandings are still understood and practiced. Flooding disasters will most likely occur not because of a lack of knowledge, preparation, and coping strategies on the part of the settlers, but because the physical events will be so powerful in the urban context.
People, both urban and rural, across the Pacific, are now taking extreme events more seriously and responding through education, sharing and historical knowledge. Urban and rural people are likely to be traumatized and to face extreme loss, but urban dwellers, and the poor, are no less vulnerable than rural and village dwellers.
Ways of dealing with disasters and a strengthening of the type of resilience that has always been in communities is a key to successful disaster response. This is not simply about coordinated institutional approaches but includes community cooperation and participation in decision-making.
See S. In Fiji for example, in the period to around cyclones hit the wider Fiji group. See R. McLean, T. Bayliss-Smith, M. Brookfield and J. Of course there were periods with no cyclones, but in other years there were several.
On average, around 12 cyclones affect Fiji each decade. Yeo and R. Working Paper See E. Raj, Integrated Flood Management. Case Study 1. Bryant-Tokalau and J. Jurriens, ed.
McMillen, H. Ticktin, A. Friedlander, S. Jupiter, R.
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Aalbersberg, and D. Brookfield, and J. Population and environment project in the eastern islands of Fiji. Island Reports 1. Despite people preparing as best they could, there was massive destruction with loss of livestock, homes, boats and food gardens, but fortunately no deaths. On other islands damage was more severe [T. Over the past decade, the agriculture sector contributed an average of Recent challenges to the sector have included a declining sugar industry, inability to cope with trade liberalization, natural disasters, pest and disease outbreaks, and trade restrictions in export markets.
Fiji's economy has continued to grow, and notwithstanding reduced sugar exports, its agricultural sector is expanding. However, the country is highly vulnerable to natural disasters. Agriculture, forestry and marine ecosystems are under threat from growing population pressure and climate change. Severe weather is putting poor rural people — especially Fiji's agricultural producers — at high risk, threatening their incomes. For more than 30 years, IFAD has been providing financing and technical assistance to help rural people in the Pacific improve their lives.
IFAD operations have a special focus on remote areas and upland communities in Fiji, as well as on investments that benefit young people and women. IFAD-supported projects are aimed at addressing the most pressing challenges facing rural people. An important focus is production of local food crops, especially indigenous and traditional foods, that can handle a changing climate and provide nutritious meals for the local population. Approximately 43 per cent of the population lives in rural areas, according to estimates.
The Context The Republic of Fiji is an archipelago of around islands and more than islets. The Strategy For more than 30 years, IFAD has been providing financing and technical assistance to help rural people in the Pacific improve their lives.
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Country Facts Approximately 43 per cent of the population lives in rural areas, according to estimates. Tawfiq El-Zabri Country programme manager t. Nicolas Syed Programme Officer n. Sakiusa Tubuna Country Programme Officer s. Projects and Programmes.