MANAGING THE SOCIOECONOMIC IMPACTS OF EXTREME WEATHER EVENTS IN THE SOUTHWEST PACIFIC BASIN
Free (open access)
Volume 7 (2017), Issue 2
201 - 212
VIVIENNE SAVERIMUTTU & MARIA E. VARUA
Cyclones are a recurrent feature in the Southwest Pacific basin. Australia, Papua New Guinea, Fiji and New Zealand are responsible for monitoring and forecasting cyclone activity in the region. In dealing with extreme events of this nature, the small islands and atolls have had to depend heavily on their more developed neighbours for assistance. Under the FRANZ and Pacific Island Forum (PIF) arrangements Australia, New Zealand and France have an agreement in place to assist partner countries when such disasters strike. The last category five cyclone (Australian scale), to make landfall in this region was Cyclone Winston, which devastated the Island of Fiji in 2016. Fiji is one of the 16 independent member States of the PIF, which includes Australia and New Zealand. Following the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005–2015, an outcome of the World Conference on Disaster Reduction held in January 2005, the PIF convened a meeting, in Madang, Papua New Guinea, to develop a regional Framework for implementation. Foremost in mind were the social and economic structures of these countries where entire communities could lose their livelihoods or face severe disruption as a result of one disaster. This paper explores disaster management, of the impact of severe cyclones, by these PIF countries (excluding Australia and New Zealand), specifically in terms of disaster prevention, preparedness, relief and recovery. Specific focus will be on the islands of Fiji, Tonga and Vanuatu, where category five cyclones made landfall within the last three years and Samoa, where a category four cyclone made landfall in 2012.
cyclones, Pacific islands, regional cooperation, socioeconomic impacts and management