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News from the Pacific Media Team, Bulletin 1. 2 July, 2013

Press Release – Secretariat of the Pacific Community

Better information management key to overcoming Marshall Islands drought By Daniel Namosuaia, Solomon Star: http://www.solomonstarnews.comHeadlines – Bulletin 1. 2 July 2013

·         Better information management key to overcoming Marshall Islands drought

·         Meet Maria Ngemaes, Met Director of Palau

·         Pacific met services look for funding opportunities (Samoa and Tokelau)

·         Lack of resources and limited staff is a challenge at the Tonga Met Services

Better information management key to overcoming Marshall Islands drought
By Daniel Namosuaia, Solomon Star: http://www.solomonstarnews.com

2 July 2013 Nadi, Fiji – Better information management and coordination has been the key to overcoming the recent drought in Marshall Islands at the beginning of the year.

Former Chairman of the Pacific Meteorological Council (PMC) Reginald White said information management and coordination are the two key tools that enabled the Marshall Islands to overcome the recent drought.

Although the recent drought was not as severe those in 1992, 1997 and 1998, he said its impact was stronger due to the increase in population of the country over time.

More than 75% of the northern islands of Marshalls had low rainfall which affected crops, water and increased the likelihood of water borne disease such as diarrhea and pink eye.

It is estimated that it has cost more than cost USD$5 million to respond to the drought in the Marshall Islands, with White highlighting the quick response of donor partners; Australia, US, Japan and New Zealand.

White says information sharing between the Meteorological Agency and National Disaster Managers and Emergency has been important in responding to the drought.

“The Met Services provided advisories and warnings and emergency and disaster responders were able to coordinate and manage the information which make it easier for donor partners to step in with the much needed assistant,” White said.

He stressed that involving the Met Services and Disaster Managers and emergency office is the way forward for the Pacific in addressing disaster and the impact of climate change on communities.

Meanwhile he said the situation of the drought in Marshall islands is improving now that rain is expected for this week and next week.

“However it will take time for the recovery of food crops and the water table since it has been mixed with salt. It would take another few months with more rainfall for conditions to get back to normal.”

Meet Maria Ngemaes, Met Director of Palau

By Evan Wasuka, Pacific freelance reporter

2 July, Nadi, Fiji – She may be the only female taking part in the opening day of the 2nd Pacific Meteorology Council but Palau’s Maria’s Ngemaes is no stranger to regional meteorology.

As the Meteorologist in charge of Palau’s National Weather Service, Ngemaes has worked more than 17 years in meteorology.

She holds a degree from University of Hawaii at Manoa, and a weather forecasting certificate from Guam.

As a regular face at regional meteorology meetings, she points out that the PMC is unique as it provides a chance for met services in the North Pacific to come together and network with counterparts in the South Pacific.

“It’s a great opportunity to come and share our issues as well as help each other in areas of similarities.”

As for the 2nd PMC, which is meeting in Nadi from July 1- 5, Ngemaes has been impressed with its format, particularly with the introduction of summarized country reports.

“In the past meetings, the country reports tend to be very long. People would lose track of what the topic is. Now that we have the agenda it is shorter more concise and interesting.”

As a US territory, Palau receives its funding from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which is responsible for funding her office and staff of nine.

One of the major developments underway in Palau is the construction of a new US$3.3million office complex for the National Weather Service.

Looking ahead Ngaemaes says the key areas that Palau needs support in are in addressing inundation, sea level rising and mapping.

“Along with these areas we need training for our staff to improve the skills capacity of our people.”

Pacific met services look for funding opportunities

By Asenati Taugasolo Semu, Press Secretariat of the Government of Samoa: http://www.savalinews.com

2 July Nadi, Fiji – The 2nd Meeting of the Pacific Meteorological Council in Nadi, Fiji this week provides a window of funding opportunities for Pacific Island countries, including Samoa.

This is the view of the head of Samoa’s Meteorological Office, Mulipola Ausetalia Titimaea.

He says the meeting opens the door for discussions with donors.

“This is a window of funding for donors to help our met services offices,” said Mulipola.

The meeting is coordinated by Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and World Meteorological Organization (WMO) with support from the Australian Department of Industry, Innovation, Climate Change, Science, Research and Tertiary Education (DIICSRTE), Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI), US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Deutsche Gesellschaft Für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).

Mulipola said the PMC meeting greatly benefits Samoa as it strives to achieve the Pacific Islands Meteorological Strategy (PIMS) 2012-2021.

He said these strategies include the public, marine and aviation areas with projects and activities the PMC hope to achieve within the strategy timeframe, and that council member countries have implemented their own projects.

“Samoa has just implemented an upgrade project for its Meteorological Service Office with assistance from the Government of Japan.”

Tokelau

Over the years Samoa’s weather forecasts have been accessible to people in Tokelau, thanks to the strength of the Samoa radio broadcast.

Although there was no formal agreement for this, Mulipola, says things may change with Tokelau planning to set up its own met office. 

Tokelau’s representative at the PMC, Environment Manager, Menny Tavuto said a new office should be opened by the end of the year.

Tokelau, like other Pacific islands, is also eyeing this meeting as an opportunity to access donor funding.

“I am here to plead for funds and training to get our new office going. This is the first time Tokelau has been represented at these meetings,” he said.

“We are still at the drafting stage process for a Meteorological Service Office, and at the moment we have recruited only one staff member.

Lack of resources and limited staff is a challenge at the Tonga Met Services

By Sini Latu, Tonga Broadcasting Commission:  http://www.tonga-broadcasting.net

2 July 2013, Nadi, Fiji  One of the many challenges that the Tonga Meteorological Services is a lack of resources and qualified staff.

The Director for the Tonga Meteorological Service, Ofa Fa’anunu says the Met Service only comes to people’s attention when there is a cyclone or a natural disaster.

Fa’anunu who is the vice-president for World Meteorological Organization Regional Association Five says they need to get their services and weather related information out to the public.

He called on related sectors namely the media, communication companies and Non-Government Organizations for their help, while stressing the need for the dissemination of accurate information.

Tonga Meteorological Services has 26 staff – including Fa’anunu.

They operate and issue weather information in Tonga’s Met offices located at the airport zones of Tongatapu, Vava’u, Ha’apai and the 2 Niua’s.

ENDS

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