Samoa is highly exposed to natural hazards – both of hydro-meteorological and geo-physical in nature. Storms/cyclones, storms/wave surges, floods, and strong winds, are among the recurrent climate-related hazards in the country. Tsunami, an infrequent but high-impact geo-physical hazard, was experienced in Samoa on September 2009. Impacts from these hazards have been devastating.
The early warning system (EWS), an integral and indispensable component of effective disaster risk reduction (DRR) and resilience, encompasses sectors and activities from the technical aspects of hydro-meteorological and geo-physical parameters monitoring, data analysis, and forecasting; potential sectoral impacts assessment; sectoral warning formulation; preparation of sector- and location-specific response options; dissemination thereof to at-risk communities, and community response (in Figure 1). In a nutshell, EWS encapsulates all the processes involved from the generation to application of relevant risk information.
Research in forecasting have improved reliability, and spatial and temporal resolution of weather- and climate-scale information. Enhanced and low-cost technologies at tsunami risk assessments enable estimation of potential tsunami wave height and inundation, for informing development planning. Breakthroughs in telecommunications have made possible access to information at an unprecedented rate and ease.
While capacities at generation and communication/dissemination of hazard/risk information have significantly improved over the years, the systematic and comprehensive application of multi-timescales, multi-hazard information, in key sectors, remains to be improved through mechanisms that integrate such hazard/risk information into sectoral plans and decisions.
This training is therefore undertaken, through the lead of Samoa Meteorological Division (SMD), under the aegis of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE), and with the support of the Regional Integrated Multi-Hazard Early Warning System (RIMES) and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), to promote the integration of SMD-generated multi-timescales, multi-hazard information into short, medium, and long-term plans and decisions of risk-sensitive sectors in Samoa, for enhancing resources and risks management, and resilience.
The training, broadly targeted to facilitate integration of multi-timescales, multi-hazard information into sectoral plans and decisions, is aimed at:
- identifying sectoral focal points, in key risk-sensitive sectors, whose expertise shall be built vis-à-vis integration/application of SMD-generated multi-timescales, multi-hazard information
- improving appreciation of sectoral focal points of EWS, its components, sectoral roles therein, and target outcomes
- enhancing capacity of sectoral focal points in:
- appreciating multi-timescales, multi-hazard information, including inherent limitations and uncertainties in forecasts
- forecast/information interpretation (what the forecast parameters mean)
- forecast/information translation (what are the potential impacts of identified hazards in different sectors and locations)
- development of response options (what institutions and communities can do to mitigate/minimize possible impacts and at the same time take advantage of anticipated opportunities) in a risk management framework
- communicating advisories to institutional and community stakeholders, and obtaining feedback for guiding improvements
- facilitating institutional and community responses to forecasts/information
- regular assessment of sectoral EWS, for capturing good practices, lessons and gaps for informing short, medium, and long term development plans