Strengthening Multi-Hazard Early Warning Systems in Samoa


Photo: SPC team deploying a buoy in Apia Harbour


Ocean observation buoys were deployed in Apia harbour to strengthen early warning capability of the Samoa Meteorological Services and technical agencies including the Disaster Management Office, Water Resources Division.  The buoys provide valuable data on ocean currents and wave related data to help customise Samoa’s existing multi-hazard early warning system including impact-based warning products.

This impact based early warning system  can provide actionable information to decision makers for response planning and sectoral planning.  It allows for a quick analysis of a developing system, does not require high computing power, and is customised for Samoa.  The system was developed by Pacific Community in collaboration with University of Cantabria (based in Spain) and the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) in collaboration with the Samoa Meteorological Services.

The Principal Officer – Forecasting at the Samoa Meteorological Services, Mr. Silipa Mulitalo, said “The hazard models will improve our short term to long term forecasting capability. We will use these to map population and assets affected within a short period of time and issue targeted warnings to the public and sectors. This impact forecasting system complements the upgrade of the Samoa multi-hazard early warning system implemented through the national Pacific Resilience Project implemented by Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.”   

Litea Biukoto from Pacific Community added, “This work in Samoa is part of the integrated support that SPC provides to reduce the risks related to disasters and support countries in better preparing for future hazard events. This includes through initiatives like the PCRAFI Project and the Pacific Risk Tools for Resilience in the Pacific implemented with NIWA.  SPC will continue to work with partners to provide technical support to Samoa Meteorological Services to ensure that the impact-based forecasting platform is operational.”

The support provided to Samoa has been possible through the World Bank funded Pacific Resilience Programme (PREP) implemented by the Pacific Community.  It aims to  strengthening multi-hazard early warning systems to support resilient investments and improve preparedness. A training to operationalise the impact forecasting system was held from 26 – 29 September 2022, at the Samoa Meteorological Services, with key agencies working in early warning and preparedness in attendance.  

For more information, please contact SPC's PREP Project Manager, George Beck, [email protected].

Geoscience, Energy and Maritime