Pacific weather services receive resilience funding
Much-needed assistance is on its way from Ireland to Pacific island nations affected by the destruction wrought by Tropical Cyclone Harold in early April.
The assistance is being provided through the country’s National Meteorological Services (N.M.S.s), courtesy of funding from the Government of Ireland.
The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (S.P.R.E.P.) announced the funding for meteorology services in Fiji, Tonga, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.
S.P.R.E.P. will oversee the disbursal of the funding.
“In its continued efforts to support Pacific MET services, through a partnership agreement with Irish Aid to support climate change response in the region,” S.P.R.E.P. said in a statement.
It also added that consultations between S.P.R.E.P. and Directors of meteorological services in Fiji, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu identified priority needs which require funding support. The support was particularly needed in areas that were affected by T.C. Harold.
Important infrastructure, along with thousands of homes and businesses, were left damaged in the wake of T.C. Harold.
This included equipment used by the meteorological services to collect weather and climate data that is used to provide early warning, timely prediction and forecast information.
As a result, these countries have been left even more vulnerable, and in dire need of assistance to replace and restore this critical equipment.
The meteorological services put together a collective request for assistance through S.P.R.E.P., in order to fund the repairs and replacement of damaged observation and communication equipment.
It also included a request from Vanuatu for assistance in rebuilding the weather station in Saratamata, which will provide weather data to inform community alerts and early warning for nearby airport operations.
Support was also sought for funding to allow for the hosting of community consultations and workshops in Tonga and Vanuatu. The workshops aim to map the impacts of T.C. Harold and identify lessons learned from early warning systems, in order to build back better in a more resilient manner.
The Director-General of S.P.R.E.P., Leota Kosi Latu, said that the assistance we will be providing to the meteorological services through the Government of Ireland’s funding comes at an opportune time, as we reach the end of the 2019-2020 cyclone season.
“The funding assistance will ensure that all necessary equipment and infrastructure that was damaged by Harold will be repaired and replaced in time for the next cyclone season,” he said.
He also said that it will be used to create consultations to take a closer look at the impacts of cyclones on the community.
“I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the Government of Ireland for the assistance provided to the Secretariat, in part to mobilise support to [meteorological services] who provide extremely important services in the Pacific on weather and climate” he concluded.
The Government of Ireland, through Irish Aid, has provided grant funding to support the achievement of the S.P.R.E.P. Performance Implementation Plan 2019-20. It will be used by S.P.R.E.P. to achieve specific climate change resilience objectives.
This includes support to enhance meteorological services’ capacity in weather forecasting, early warning systems, long-term projections, and improved climate services to support members’ decision-making and coordination through the Pacific Meteorological Council.
Tropical Cyclone Harold was one of eight tropical cyclones to cross the Exclusive Economic Zones of the South Pacific this cyclone season.
Tropical Cyclones Rita, Sarai, Tino, Uesi, Vicky, Wasi, and Gretel also crossed the Pacific islands, underscoring the need for building Pacific resilience.