Fiji: Fiji received GIS-based state-of-the art techniques under the joint Pacific Catastrophe Risk Assessment and Financing Initiative (PCRAFI). The techniques will assist the Ministry of Finance and the National Disaster Management Office in risk modelling and risk profiling, which in turn will help government draw up risk reduction measures.
Architects of this innovative risk modelling and profiling technique studied a huge amount of GIS data for the Pacific in their work. They analysed data and information on population, land use and land cover, topography, bathymetry, soils and their engineering properties, assets including infrastructure and buildings, satellite images as well as historical catalogues and information on cyclones, earthquakes and tsunamis.
The GIS database provides full coverage of the entire landmass of Fiji and the other 14 participating countries and involved intensive field visits to 11 countries to survey more than 80,000 buildings, digitising from satellite imagery the footprints of 450,000 buildings, as well as inferring from satellite imagery 2,900,000 buildings and other assets.
The techniques have been developed by the scientists at Applied Geoscience and Technology Division of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SOPAC) who worked jointly with experts at the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank. Technical support were provided by Air Worldwide, GNS Science of New Zealand and Geoscience Australia as well as the 15 participating countries of the Pacific which apart from Fiji were Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
Dr Russell Howorth, the Director of the Applied Geoscience and Technology Division of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC/SOPAC) hailed this initiative as “the first quantitative assessment of risk for Pacific Islands countries in terms of money, potential loss of lives and injuries.”
He opined this will provide governments and other key stakeholders such as the private sector with critical data and information needed to inform future policies, strategies and decisions in respect of “all” risk reduction measures as well as for underpinning sustainable development.
Howorth added that there are now opportunities for Pacific islands countries to integrate disaster risk considerations more meaningfully into their respective planning and decision-making frameworks at national and sub national levels.
PCRAFI comprises two key complementary components; disaster risk assessment and disaster risk financing solutions. Disaster risk assessment tools seek to assist countries to improve their understanding of their exposure to natural disasters through being able to assess and model disaster risks.
The second component identifies a range of financial options for countries that could improve their capacity to access incremental financial resources in the case of natural disasters, while at the same time maintaining their fiscal balance.
Planning for a third phase of PCRAFI is underway, with a key component being to strengthen the data-sharing platform at SPC/SOPAC in order to achieve expanded reach and allow access of PCRAFI data and information to the wider Pacific community and beyond.
Source: Island Business