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Fiji Time: 11:16 AM on Saturday 19 April

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Coastal development works increase disaster risks

Repeka Nasiko
Tuesday, February 19, 2013

THE increasing losses caused by meteorological and hydrological disasters are closely related to socio-economic factors.

This is the view of Works, Transport and Public Utilities Minister Captain Timoci Natuva.

He told the Coastal Inundation Forecasting Demonstration Project - Fiji Stakeholders workshop in Nadi yesterday that these socio-economic factors included population growth, increasing wealth, urban sprawl and development of vulnerable areas, especially along the coast.

"Fiji is no exception to this where the increase in coastal development directly increases the risk of disasters from extreme flooding, high waves, storm surges and associated coastal inundation.

"At the same time, the increased property values impact reinsurance costs."

Capt Natuva said the 2009 and 2012 floods as well as Tropical Cyclone Evan in December last year demonstrated this fact.

Department of Meteorology director Alipate Waqaicelua said the workshop would allow the department to learn ways of adopting a forecasting warning system for coastal communities.

"A lot of developments and communities are along the coast.

"You will note that a majority of all of our hotels are along the coast.

"A majority of very expensive properties are along the coast. There is more development happening along the coast."