Tropical Cyclone Harold hit island communities in Fiji in April 2020 leaving behind a wake of destruction. The wind, associated rain and wave swells caused coastal erosion, landslides and damage to village homes and community centres.
To better understand the impacts of this storm the Fiji Government requested technical support from the Pacific Community (SPC). Fiji’s Mineral Resources Department (MRD) and SPC undertook building damage assessments and post disaster capacity building training. Working together, invaluable data was collected highlighted ways to better prepare coastal communities for future disasters.
Pacific Catastrophe Risk Assessment and Financing Initiative (PCRAFI) Project Manager, Eileen Turare said “collaboration with government agencies like MRD is essential to facilitate standards for improving assessment methods on disaster and coastal management. However, collecting the data is only the start. We also need to ensure that the raw information is turned into practical information that can be used by decision makers at every level.”
The surveys carried out included conducting inundation run up assessment using surveyor grade equipment; collecting impact data, community awareness using tide calendars and historical ocean data to verify historical events; and shorelines change detection.
During these assessments, new tools were developed to enable a better structured and more simplified process for data collection. The knowledge gained through this exercise will be used to better prepare communities for the impact of future disasters and to ensure rebuilding efforts are made to be more sustainable resilient.