11 Feb 2010

New Zealand geologists look at vulnerability of Pacific buildings to natural disasters

4:53 pm on 11 February 2010

Geologists from GNS Science in New Zealand are to carry out research on buildings and infrastructure in Pacific Island countries to measure their vulnerability to natural disasters such as earthquakes and cyclones.

The project is a joint initiative with the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank's Regional Partnership for Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Preparedness.

The Project leader, Phil Glassey, says the research is to be carried out in eight countries including the Cook Islands, Fiji and Tonga.

"It will also help countries to find what mitigation methods are best for them. For example Cook Islands doesn't have any earthquake shaking but has cyclonic winds, but is also vulnerable from tsunamis from the distant pacific. So that's going to have different mitigation strategies to deal with those types of events than say Papua New Guinea who has a lot of earthquakes."

Phil Glassey says the project will cost about 700 thousand US dollars and is expected to be completed by September next year.