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Fiji Time: 7:38 PM on Friday 25 April

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$47m, 1km

Tevita Vuibau
Monday, December 09, 2013

IT will cost Fiji about $47million per square kilometre to rebuild the Suva Peninsula if proper disaster risk reduction strategies are not made before a natural disaster.

This was the finding included in the 2013 Global Assessment Report (GAR) on Disaster Reduction by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction.

According to the report, it will cost between $18m and $47m per square kilometre to reconstruct buildings in the Suva peninsula.

The survey in the GAR report titled The Pacific Catastrophe Risk Assessment and Financing Initiative was conducted by SOPAC, and the rebuilding figures for the Suva Peninsula in the report match those of Nadi Town because of the capital value of the buildings.

UNISDR information management adviser Meri Kelliher said the survey took into account public and private buildings and estimated cost on the number of levels and sizes of the buildings.

"So $US10m-$US25m ($F18m-$F47m) worth of capital per square kilometre is at risk of being lost from if there is a severe natural disaster and proper disaster risk reduction strategies are not made," she said.

"So if the Suva Peninsula which is basically an area of three square kilometres you are looking at a loss of $US75m ($F141m) and that's comparable with the other side which is Nadi.

"So it quite clearly highlights how vulnerable our two main cities are."

She explained the point of the survey and the GAR report was to shift focus from reacting to damage from natural disasters to one of actively working to prevent it from happening.

Ms Kelliher also explained it was essential for private companies to start including disasters and hazards in their risk assessments beyond the usual scope of legal risk and market risk as they were major contributors to the economy.

She said this added to the resilience of the local economy, adding that disaster risk reduction strategies were already being acted upon.

"In Fiji the main source of prevention or reduction of these impacts would be through the building codes so all or most buildings would have been built to Australian and New Zealand standards so that's one thing and that's enforced by the Suva City Council.

"The hospital in Navua has also taken a preventative measure, it has relocated from the flood prone areas to the top of a hill.

"For example the New Zealand telecom industry invested $6m in seismic protection six months before the earthquake hit and they actually calculated that they saved $60m by investing in those preventative measures.