Date: 05-22-2003

A presentation to the Prime Minister of Fiji and his cabinet is the latest step in the Pacific Disaster Center’s work in developing a methodology for assessing the flood losses from an earthquake-generated tsunami.

Stanley Goosby, PDC Chief Scientist, met with the Fiji officials on May 6 to discuss results of a study assessing and visualizing the impacts of tsunami inundation on the Suva Harbor area. Peter Colvin, PDC Executive Director, represented the PDC and the East-West Center at this meeting.

The Pacific Disaster Center (PDC) has been collaborating with the South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC) to demonstrate the methodology.

An initial effort by the PDC studied selected buildings in the Port Vila and Mele areas of Vanuatu, applying predictive modeling, high performance computing, Geographic Information System (GIS) resources, scientific visualization and animation capabilities.

Background: The Fiji study was based on the 1953 event when a 6.8 magnitude earthquake originating 25 km offshore from Suva triggered a coral reef platform collapse (underwater land slide), which in turn generated what is considered the most damaging local tsunami to affect Fiji in recorded history. The tsunami caused major damage to the wharf and other buildings in Suva City as well as 8 to 15 fatalities.

Using assessment techniques such as these, island nations in the South Pacific will be better able to plan for and cope with natural disasters such as tsunamis. These methods will also be useful in dealing with longer term issues such as climate variability and change. It is recognized by both scientists and regional governments that adapting to the effects of episodic and longer term disasters is crucial to sustainable development.

About PDC

The Pacific Disaster Center's mission is to provide applied information research and analysis support for the development of more effective policies, institutions, programs and information products for the disaster management and humanitarian assistance communities of the Asia-Pacific region. Since 2002, the East-West Center has been the managing partner of the Pacific Disaster Center.

The Pacific Disaster Center (PDC) is a public-private partnership sponsored by the PDC Program Office (ASD/C3I). The content of the information does not necessarily reflect the position or policy of the U. S. Government and no official Government endorsement should be inferred.

CONTACTS: PDC -- 808-891-0525

Stanley Goosby:

Peter Colvin:
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