SOPAC - Applied Geoscience and Technology Division - SPC

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Newsflash

Island Business: June 2013 Dionisia Tabureguci - Year after year, earthquakes and tropical cyclones have battered a number of small islands countries in the Pacific region, some to such a degree that thousands of lives are lost and millions of dollars in damages are incurred.

They have become regular visitors to the region, their tendency to disrupt national planning and put pressure on national budgets becoming as much a concern as their propensity to cut swathes through national population and bring untold trauma. Not surprisingly, scientific studies have categorised some of them as among the most vulnerable countries in the world when it comes to their exposure to natural hazards and indeed, while earthquakes and cyclones have been identified as the region’s two chief nemeses, the region is not spared from other forms like flooding, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis.

As momentum increases in the region to address their ravaging impacts, a new research is shedding new light on just how exposed Pacific Islands Countries (PICs) are to earthquakes and tropical cyclones, projecting an average annual bill of some US$278 million for 14 PICs from damages they will sustain from these two forms of natural disasters. Known as the Pacific Catastrophe Risk Assessment and Financing Initiative (PCRAFI), the multi-donor-supported project is administered by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) through its Applied Science and Technology Division (SOPAC).

It uses a combination of historical data and new mapping technology to give vulnerable islands nations in the region improved tools for planning and preparedness.