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Early response to natural disasters needed – World Meteorology Organisation

Better prediction of and response to natural disasters such as cyclones is among the main priorities for discussion at the fifth Pacific Meteorological Council (P.M.C.) in Apia this week.

The World Meteorology Organisation's (W.M.O.) Director for Development and Regional Activities, Mary Power, said the meteorological conference is focused on strengthening council members' work in the context of sustainable development.

The Council's theme is: "Science to services for a resilient Pacific".

The W.M.O. director said that the conference will be a platform to share ideas on how meteorological divisions from the Pacific can increase community awareness on preparedness.

“[The] W.M.O.'s perspective on the challenge faced by Pacific islands is weather, meaning the last couple of cyclones and hurricanes seasons have been quite severe," she said. 

“Global warming is happening and quite faster than anticipated, so making sure that everyone is able to predict and respond, particularly to cyclones [is of high importance].

"[Cyclones] also bring additional problems like flash floods, mostly in the high islands, that often causes more damage than the cyclone itself.

“Preparedness and taking the time in between events to reach out so the community [to] be better prepared is important."

She added that it was critical to have networking opportunities because weather and climate events are not bound by national boundaries and collaboration can lighten the workload:

“For us, the W.M.O.'s role is to facilitate networking amongst the global meteorological services," she said. 

"We have 193 members and obviously small island states are at a critical group for us being again in areas where extreme weather events occur more common.

“Bringing everyone together once a year allows reviewing what is happening in the region [making sure] it’s an active programme and bringing up the standards of the [members' weather] services.” 

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