SPC Geoscience Division

Disaster Workshop for Vanuatu

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A five-day workshop to determine the economic cost of natural disasters in the Pacific will be held in Vanuatu from November 29th through December 2nd. The workshop has been organized to support Pacific island countries towards a clearer understanding of the economic impact of disasters.

“This information is of major importance in helping to organize recovery and rehabilitation efforts,” said Paula Holland, SOPAC’S Manager Natural Resources.

Last Updated on Monday, 25 October 2010 08:16

How SPC and SOPAC will function under the new structure

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In a wide ranging interview with SPC’s Director-General, Dr. Jimmie Rodgers, and SOPAC’s Director, Dr. Russell Howorth, the two leaders explain the way forward in the latest issue of Island Business (October, 2010)

Three years ago, the Pacific Islands Forum members decided to rationalize the operation of SOPAC (Pacific Islands Applied Geoscience Commission) into SPC (Secretariat of the Pacific Community) and SPREP (Pacific Regional Environment Programme).  While the decision of rationalisation was made, how the organisational restructure would work was not.

Read full article here at islandbusiness.com

Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 May 2011 17:04

SOPAC victorious at mini-Olympics

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In a historic victory that humbled the competition that included aid agencies, high commissions and embassies, the ebullient SOPAC team walked away with top honours at the 2010 Mini Olympics held at Yat Sen School in Suva recently.

The team was hosted to a celebration lunch at SOPAC headquarters last Friday where some of the winning team posed for this picture (below).

Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 May 2011 17:05

One million dollar grant to SOPAC

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SOPAC has received a grant from The Asia Foundation of US$1,059,696, over three years, in support of the SOPAC’s Disaster Reduction Programme.

At the signing of the Letter of Agreement and Project Document, SOPAC Director, Dr Russell Howorth, said that the grant would enable SOPAC to further develop its leadership role in disaster risk management training for Pacific island countries, as well as strengthen SOPAC’s support to its island Members in disaster risk reduction capacity building.


Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) Projects Portal proving useful for partners

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At the August launch in Suva of the Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) Projects Portal for Asia and the Pacific, host of the new portal, Mr Loy Rego, Deputy Executive Director of the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center in Bangkok, Thailand, emphasised in his opening address that, “The success of the system depends upon the usage by all partners for ongoing and proposed DRR initiatives, with regular input and update of project information.”

Launched at the fifth Pacific Disaster Risk Management Partnership Network meeting, this requirement for the portal’s success is being met. Of the 300-plus project information records in the DRR Projects Portal, more than 170 relate to the Pacific, and cover initiatives and activities of the Pacific Disaster Risk Management Partnership Network.

Last Updated on Friday, 17 September 2010 16:02

Observer role for SOPAC on French survey vessel L’Atalante

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SOPAC’s Emily Artack, Project Officer and Cartographer of SOPAC’s Maritime Boundaries Project, is on board the French multi-purpose Research Vessel L’Atalante, as it sails throughout the EEZs of Tuvalu, Wallis & Futuna and Tokelau. SOPAC provides assistance to 19 Pacific countries and territories through applied geoscience and technology.

“In the true spirit of regional cooperation, SOPAC has been invited to participate in this expedition in an observer capacity. As well, Mr Faatasi Malologa and Mr Vakafa Lupe of the Tuvalu Department of Lands and Survey have also been invited to take part in the French Government-funded survey cruise,” said Ms Artack. Our participation in this survey was possible through funding from the University of the Sea programme, based from the University of Sydney, Australia.

Last Updated on Friday, 01 October 2010 15:50

Flood alert system now installed in Rewa River

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With the continued danger of flooding from the Rewa River, SOPAC, through its Pacific HYCOS project has funded the installation of an ‘upgraded’ Flood Forecasting and Warning system to provide adequate time for those living downstream to take necessary precautions.

Flooding is an ongoing danger affecting Fiji with an average of 10 casualties and close to $20 million in direct damage every year to infrastructure, agriculture and homes; it also is a major interruption to, transportation and inland communications as well as tourism that was seriously affected in 2008, according to HYCOS Project Coordinator Llyod Smith.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 May 2011 17:05

SOPAC addresses unsafe drinking water in Pacific islands

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Almost 52% of nearly 10 million people living in the Pacific island countries continue to face threats from unsafe drinking water resulting from water-borne diseases.

Unsafe drinking water has been the primary cause for the 2800 deaths per year (most our children under the age of 5) from diarrhoea and related illnesses, and poor sanitation and hygiene are major contributing factors.

Additionally periods of drought that is currently being experienced in many island countries have aggravated the situation.SOPAC, working with the World Health Organization has introduced a plan into the region that has shown positive results in combating water carrying diseases.

“It’s no miracle drug, but a common sense approach to educate people throughout the region of how to determine if their drinking water is safe, how to clean it, and protect it so that that there is no danger that the water can continue to cause illness,” said SOPAC Director, Dr Russell Howorth.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 May 2011 17:06

SOPAC helps build Kiribati Environment Division capacity

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As a part of the Kiribati Government’s commitment to achieving sustainable land management on Kiritimati Atoll, (Christmas Island), staff of the Environmental Division recently undertook training conducted by the Pacific Islands Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC), in Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and Geographic Information Systems (GIS).

“We are so fortunate to get this training,” said Ms Ratita Bebe, of the Kiritimati Conservation Department. “The Kiribati Government recognizes the need to map land degradation sites and protected conservation areas so that we can identify ways to achieve sustainable land use practices.”

Ms Bebe explained that Global Positioning Systems (GPS) use information gathered from satellites circling the earth to locate the correct co-ordinates of any location, while Geographic Information Systems (GIS) combine maps and data to manage, store, analyze and display all forms of geographical information.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 May 2011 17:06

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Source: https://hotosm.org/updates/2016-08-15_improving_resilience_with_aerial_imagery

Earlier this month Nate and I went to Suva to lead the kickoff meeting of the Pacific Drone Imagery Dashboard (PacDID) project funded by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. During the visit, we met and brainstormed with local geospatial experts and stakeholders around the issues of disaster management and aerial imagery. By the end of the week, we had a clear understanding of the challenges that Pacific Island Countries (PICs) face during natural disasters.

Our main local partner in this project, the Pacific Community (SPC), is a scientific and technical development organisation governed by 26 countries and territories of the region. Within SPC, the Geoscience Division supports member countries in every aspect of Disaster Management (DM), from preparedness, to response, to recovery. Their experienced staff provides geospatial and remote sensing services to many Pacific countries and directly works with ministries, non-government organizations and National Disaster Management Offices (NDMOs) before, during and after a disaster.