The Pacific Humanitarian Team (PHT) is a network of humanitarian organizations that work together to assist Pacific island countries (Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Republic of Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu) prepare for and respond to disasters. The PHT consists of humanitarian organizations working in the Pacific which have the expertise, know-how and resources to support disaster preparedness and response. It works with Pacific Governments and partners to ensure that necessary arrangements and systems are in place to enable an effective support to nationally led disaster responses. The PHT has been endorsed as a coordinating body by the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC).
PHT members include UN agencies, NGOs and the International Federation of Red Cross and the Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and works through three main structures:
PHT Principals Group: consists of heads of the respective humanitarian agencies forming the membership of the PHT. It is co-chaired by the UN Resident Coordinators (RCs) from Fiji and Samoa and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA). The forum provides strategic direction for collective inter-agency humanitarian action.
Regional Inter-Cluster Coordination Group: this platform consists of the cluster coordinators of the nine regional clusters (Early Recovery Network, Education, Emergency Telecommunications, Food Security,
Logistics, Health & Nutrition, Protection, Shelter, Water Sanitation & Hygiene) and is chaired by UNOCHA.
The Regional Inter-Cluster Group focuses on operational issues and provides support to national disaster preparedness and response systems.
Cluster Support Teams: each of the nine clusters – with designated lead agencies – assist their national counterparts in the countries and territories covered in preparedness and response activities.
During disasters, the PHT provides support to governments, non-governmental organizations and communities in delivering a fast, effective and appropriate disaster response. During non-emergency situations, PHT members have largely provided preparedness support to their national counterparts in the form of training, mentoring, provision of technical expertise and resource strengthening all in line with national priorities.
In 2019, the region was faced with several emergencies, ranging from Tropical Cyclone (TC) Oma (mainly affecting Solomon Islands and Vanuatu) to TCs Neil and Pola (affecting Fiji and Tonga) to TC Wutip in FSM and the oil spill in Solomon Islands severely affecting the natural habitat and livelihood of Rennell Island.
The region also experienced a measles outbreak prompting response and support from the PHT, particularly in Samoa. Samoa was the only recipient in 2019 of a Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) grant to the tune of USD 2.8m for life-saving activities in relation to the measles outbreak.