A recent initiative could have a major influence on how Pacific Island countries deal with natural disasters. Pacific Disaster Risk Assessment is an ambitious 20-month-long project that has included the Pacific island countries of Fiji, the Cook Islands, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Niue, Nauru, the Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Palau, Kiribati and Timor Leste.
It also involved a team of 15 researchers who began last February to gather information on the precise number of natural disasters that have taken place in each of the participating countries, based on records collected since 1830.
Earthquakes, tropical cyclones, tsunami, severe local storms, floods, storm surges, and landslides, totaling 448 natural disasters, all feature in the inventory. The research team also used the countries’ most recent census figures, key for estimating human casualties and displacement.