Acting Governor Franz Manderson gave his assent last week to a bill that formalizes the territory’s disaster fund.

The Disaster Preparedness and Hazard Management (Amendment) Law 2018 states that the national disaster fund should receive at least $400,000 per year from government’s general revenue, as well as contributions from individuals or organizations.

During the second reading of the bill in June, Home Affairs Minister Tara Rivers explained that government originally established the fund in 1998, and has been receiving $400,000 per year since then.

However, the territory’s current legal framework for disaster management – the Disaster Preparedness and Management Law 2016 – does not make any reference to the fund, according to Ms. Rivers.

The amendment to the law makes sure that the national disaster fund will continue to receive investments, she said.

The bill also contains amendments that will allow for the full implementation of the emergency notification system, Ms. Rivers said in June.

Ms. Rivers explained that the need for such a system was highlighted by the fuel depot fire at Jackson Point Terminal last year and the tsunami warning in January.

Officials are in the final stages of implementing the first phase of the notification, the emergency radio broadcast system, the minister said at the time.

The second phase will be implementing emergency messages on television, and the final phase will be allowing for government to disseminate emergency text messages to residents, she said.

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