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Resilient urban development planning for Fiji

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Participants review

23 September 2015

Nadi, Fiji Increasing the climate and disaster resilience of urban development planning is the focus of a three day training being held in Nadi this week (21-23 September) for representatives of national government and Nadi Town Council.

The training is facilitated by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) in partnership with New Zealand’s National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) with support from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction. Fiji’s high exposure to tropical cyclones and flooding means that urban planners must ensure future development is resilient to climate and disaster risks in order to reduce or prevent the impact of future natural disasters.

This training introduced urban planners to a range of tools that have been developed for the Pacific Islands region, using Nadi as a demonstration site to support risk-informed decision making in the approval of new developments or renovations to existing buildings.

Participants also learnt to use new user-friendly tools that apply existing hazard and risk assessment information to identify buildings and infrastructure at risk of flood inundation to support decision making in urban development planning.

A participant from the Nadi Rural Local Authority, Luisa Molidrau, described the tools as very useful in the control of urban development.

Ms Molidrau stated that development authorities have been waiting for tools like this for some time and that these tools fill that gap.

Nadi Town Council representative, Taniela Safuru, said that the training has been very informative, reminding participants of the importance of risk informed decision making.

Mr Safuru said he would like to see regular refresher training opportunities in the future.

Urban planners and infrastructure engineers gained skills and knowledge to make risk-informed urban planning, risk mitigation and adaptation decisions leading to safer and more resilient urban environments in Fiji.

The training concludes today.

Media contacts

Dr Kirstie Méheux, Senior Adviser – Disaster Risk Management Training and Professional Development, SPC, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or +679 9315 189

Mr Doug Ramsay, Manager, Pacific Rim, NIWA, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 September 2015 10:18  

Newsflash

Thursday 19 September 2013, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Suva, Fiji – On 19 September, guest lecturer Dr. Tom Durrant of the Australian Bureau of Meteorology presented his wave modelling research to students at USP Marine Science Campus. This new research provides a better understanding of ocean wave movements across the Pacific and will be used by SPC’s Applied Geoscience and Technology (SOPAC) Division to enhance development planning and disaster management in the region.

According to Durrant, “Waves and wave climate have significant implications for coastal security, marine resources, and alternative energy options. Waves on the ocean, Durrant explained, range in period from tidal waves, with periods of 12 and 24 hours, to Tsunamis, with periods around 15 minutes, to wind driven waves with periods of around 2 to 20 seconds.

In the case of wind driven waves, the focus of Durrant's work,  the longer the wind blows over a greater area, the bigger the waves. Pacific Islands are affected not only by local, short period, wind-generated waves but also by long period swells generated by far away storms.

Long period swell waves are fast-moving waves caused by distant storms that can pile up when they reach land. Such waves have caused widespread flooding, damage and loss of life in the Pacific, for example, in the Mortlock Islands of Papua New Guinea in 2009 and in the Marshall Islands in 2012. “These events haven’t been studied much because of lack of data,” said Durrant.

To this end, Durrant has been working under the AusAid-funded Pacific and Australia Climate Change Science and Adaptation Planning (PACCSAP) Programme to develop wave models for the Pacific that can in turn be used to assess wave-induced coastal inundation events in detail.