21 Nov 2013

Vanuatu disaster warning facility one of several new measures

3:09 pm on 21 November 2013

The World Bank says a new disaster early warning centre in Vanuatu is just one of a number of measures being taken to help the Pacific cope better with the threat of natural disasters.

The state of the art facility, being opened today in Port Vila, comes after analysis showing Vanuatu is the Pacific country that suffers the greatest economic impact from natural disasters.

The World Bank's Pacific country director, Franz Drees-Gross, says the facility, with sophisticated equipment to monitor climate, tsunamis, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, will be staffed by both ni-Vanuatu and foreign scientists.

He says similar facilities are planned in other parts of the region.

"So what we are doing in different countries is putting together a package of early warning systems, like this early warning centre that we are opening in Vanuatu, but then also trying to build the resilience of communities, trying to increase the resilience of communities. For example introducing in many Melanesian countries more heat and climate resistance tuber crops and root crops. In other countries we are climate proofing onshore infrastructure."