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Strengthening Multi-Hazard Early Warning Systems in Tonga and Samoa
Senior officials from technical agencies from Samoa and Tonga representing their respective meteorological, hydrological and disaster management offices gathered in Nadi, Fiji, from 7-8 October 2019, for a technical meeting focusing on implementation of their multi-hazard early warning systems (MHEWS).
Samoa and Tonga are in the process of strengthening their multi-hazard early warning systems through nationally implemented projects as part of the World Bank funded Pacific Resilience Programme (PREP).
The meeting provided a good opportunity for technical agencies to share experiences/challenges that will assist in moving towards prioritization of equipment with both countries at an advanced design stage.
The PREP Project Manager, George Beck, stated “Strengthening early warning systems and improving preparedness is an important priority across all PREP projects. The outcome of these discussions and subsequent work will contribute towards an integrated approach in improving our forecasting and early warning systems for floods, cyclone, wind, drought, volcanic and tsunami related hazards.
This work is being supported by the System Integrator Consultants, Deltares, in designing their multi-hazard early warning systems and developing operational procedures. SPC is also providing technical support to the countries in implementing national activities as part of their design obligations under the contract with the Deltares.
The key outcome of the technical meeting included sharing information that included discussions with the consultants on next steps, lessons learnt between the two countries, improving communication and managing key deliverables. This is part of broader initiatives being implemented at the national level in providing an enabling environment, that include reviewing legislative and policy frameworks, a necessary and much more complex and lengthy process, complimenting the equipment upgrade.
Tonga and Samoa are also constructing new Emergency Operation Centres that will house the new MHEWS. SPC will continue to provide technical support to the countries and integrate the SPC implemented impact-based forecasting activity with the national MHEWS.
The meeting was also attended by representatives of the World Bank, SPC and PIFS PREP Regional Coordination Unit. The SPC PREP I project is implemented by the Goescience, Energy & Maritime Division with a budget of USD9.7 million.