Geospatial information system for disaster management in Pacific Island countries

A major regional geospatial information system and other innovative risk assessment tools are being developed to assist Pacific Island countries to undertake evidence-based decision making in development planning and finance as was announced during a four-day workshop from 9 to 12 June 2015 in Suva, Fiji with the participation of Pacific region government representatives and development partners.

Such instruments are being developed by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and are funded by the Japanese Government and the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR). Apart from rapid impact estimation tool, one of the main products is the Pacific Risk Information System (PacRIS), which contains detailed, country-specific data on assets, population, hazards and risks and uses multiple applications, such as the Pacific risk insurance pilot. It has already been used by Tonga and Vanuatu and uses open and free access software.

According to Prof. Michael Petterson, Director of SPC’s Geoscience Division, "These tools can be used to improve the resilience of Pacific Island countries by providing the technical information needed to make informed decisions about risk of disasters to communities and their assets."