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Fiji vulnerable to climate change, disasters

Torika Tokalau
Tuesday, March 04, 2014

FIJI is one of the countries most vulnerable to natural disasters and other multiple shocks, a themed study for the 69th session of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) commission in 2013 revealed.

Head of ESCAP Pacific Iosefa Maiava said the study, "Building resilience to natural disasters and major economic crisis", highlighted that small island developing countries, including Fiji, were most vulnerable to climate change and natural disasters.

"And Fiji is right in the middle of a high risk area," Mr Maiava said.

"Related to that conclusion is the projection that because of climate change, there might be an increase in intensity of natural disasters.

"As you may have seen, the relationship between the extremely hot weather we had here in Fiji days before the depression â€" rain and wind."

Speaking at the opening of the capacity building training on establishment of geo-DRM and geospatial data management for disaster risk reduction yesterday, Mr Maiava said many developing countries in the Pacific faced development challenges related to size, location and unmatched exposure to climate change, natural disasters, and other external shocks.

"Fiji is not the exception. Recent flooding comes at a time when Fiji is still recovering from the deadly cyclone Evan."

He reminded participants at the week-long training to bear in mind that it is the lives of people and the safety of property they were working to protect.

"I would like to emphasise again that space technologies and GIS applications are extremely important tools for reducing the levels of risk and impact from natural disasters.

"These applications play a crucial role in establishing effective monitoring and end-to-end early warning systems at the regional, sub-regional and national levels, thus, mitigating or minimising the adverse impacts of natural disasters."

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