SPC Geoscience Division

PacSAFE Project

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pacsafe

The PacSAFE project is a response to demand from Pacific Island Countries for tools to better understand disaster impacts. The project will engage with representatives from national disaster management offices and related agencies who are involved in planning, preparing and responding to natural disasters. Geoscience Australia, as Australia’s technical implementing partner, will continue development of the functionality of the PacSAFE software tool. PacSAFE is a desktop tool based on QGIS and InaSAFE, designed and developed for non‑GIS users.

Geoscience Australia, as Australia’s technical implementing partner, will continue development of the functionality of the PacSAFE software tool. PacSAFE is a desktop tool based on QGIS and InaSAFE, designed and developed for non‑GIS users. PacSAFE1 was initially developed by the Pacific Community for urban planners to enable hazard data and asset data, such as the Pacific Catastrophic Risk and Financing Initiative (PCRAFI) asset database. In the current project, the PacSAFE tool will be enabled to produce realistic disaster impact scenarios by combining spatial hazard with exposure data. It will provide a simple tool for users to interrogate hazard and impact scenarios within the context of the local knowledge of their communities. This will support users in making informed decisions for disaster response and to develop evidence-based policies for enhancing disaster resilience

Last Updated on Friday, 30 September 2016 14:52  

Newsflash

16 April 2013 - A survey of the South Tarawa lagoon has revealed some potentially explosive secrets from its past as one of the major battlegrounds of WWII. The survey was designed to identify battle debris that still litters the floor of the lagoon seventy years after the infamous Battle of Tarawa in 1943.

Funded by the New Zealand Regional Ocean Sciences Grant, the survey was undertaken as part of the Government’s work to reduce the atoll’s damaging reliance on beach mining by identifying potential sources of construction aggregate on the floor of the Tarawa Lagoon. The widespread practice of beach mining has been weakening the atoll’s vulnerable shoreline along with Government efforts to protect communities from the worsening impacts of climate change and rising sea levels.

The Government turned to SOPAC, the region’s Applied Geoscience & Technology Division of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, for guidance on safe methods to dredge an alternative source of sand and gravel from Tarawa’s southern lagoon. Before dredging can begin, as part of the European-Union funded Environmentally Safe Aggregate for Tarawa (ESAT) project, SOPAC first needed to identify any potential problems that might be posed by any unidentified and unexploded ordnance.

During WWII, the islands of Kiribati saw some of the Pacific’s bloodiest encounters.  From 20-24 November 1943, an invasion flotilla of 18,000 US Naval and Marine Corps troops attacked the fortified Japanese garrison on Betio in Southern Tarawa. The 4,600 Japanese defenders fought almost to the last man, and more than 1,000 Americans lost their lives.

SOPAC’s Survey Leader, Geophysicist Robert Smith, is still analysing the data but he has already identified two previously unknown vessel wrecks and unearthed numerous artillery remnants. Of the vessels, Smith says, “These may be sunken Higgins boats, which would have carried 20-30 marines each.” The US government has already expressed a keen interest in Smith’s findings.