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Regional workshop on multi hazard risk assessment and early warning system

Radio & TV Tonga, Nuku’alofa, 26/04/2018

More than 20 officials from the Disaster and Emergency Management in the Pacific are in Nuku’alofa for the Regional Workshop on multi hazard risk assessment and Early warning system with applications of space.  It includes the geographic information systems in the Pacific.

The Regional workshop aims at reviewing the achievements learnt through the disaster management and to exchange ideas on how to strengthen multi-hazard early warning systems.

The head of the Pacific office from the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia in the Pacific, UNESCAP- Iosefa Maiava says an early warning system will be the best tool to use in times of any natural disaster.

“As you know it is not an easy task to build an effective early warning system. Limited human resources and restraint technical and financial capacities are faced by many disaster-prone Pacific island countries. To make early warning systems effective – it is not only essential to build a system, it is also critical to enhance the capacity to create, distribute, and exchange the statistical geospatial data of information on disaster risks amongst stakeholders along with other key actions such as involvement of the communities at risk, public education and awareness,” Maiava said.

He talks more on the damage recorded following natural disasters in Asia and the Pacific. 

“According to Asia Pacific Report 2017, natural disasters are a threat to the sustainable development of the Pacific Islands. Over the period of 2000-2016, the Pacific region reported over 300 fatalities from various hazards including tropical cyclones, earthquakes, floods and extreme temperatures. Among these, the most damaging were tropical cyclones which affected over 1.2 million people with over 10 billion estimated worth of damages.

Meanwhile, the Hon. Minister of MEIDECC Poasi Tei urges the Pacific island countries to cooperate in developing this tool for the benefit of the countries involved.

“We can feel more confident not just in our preparations phase but also on the reconstruction phase that nobody is left behind. With the help of UNESCAP and the people of Japan, as well as our regional counterparts, we can now have more confident in utilizing open source tools and support not just for early warning, but for assessments even during peace time. Like we have seen, it has been of a great benefit to our nation to be able to have access to data and to be able to utilize this data and customize it to our needs. We still have a long way to go in terms of preparation and recovery but if we can prepare better and safeguard ourselves we can always bounce back on whatever disaster that may come our way ,” he said.

The ambassador of Japan to Tonga – H.E. Tetsuya Ishii says this workshop is timely for Tonga following various disasters.

“This workshop is a part of Japan contributions to assist and strengthen the Pacific strategies for building resilient communities based on the framework for disaster risk reduction. The Pacific is identified as a vulnerable region active to its capacity for resilience and every year, it faces several threats from natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis, and cyclones. In February this year – the category 4 tropical cyclone Gita devastated the islands of Tongatapu and ‘Eua,” he said.

The workshop is in partnership with the UNESCAP, Asian Institute of Technology and the natural disaster management offices in the Pacific.

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