New tsunami computer model helps Tonga handle disaster

Source(s): Islands Business International

The Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) has created a computer model to demonstrate how Tongatapu would be affected by a tsunami created by a magnitude 8.7 earthquake, reports Islands Business.

Geoscience Australia also helped in the development of the programme which was financed by AusAID. Leveni ‘Aho, Director of Tonga’s National Disaster Management Office, says the ‘Tsunami Wave Inundation Model’ is helping the Tongan government to determine evacuation zones, design emergency response measures and improve long-term urban planning for Nuku’alofa and surrounding villages. Mosese Sikivou, deputy director of SPC’s Disaster Reduction Programme, says  “At community level, there is little practical difference between disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation.

“Climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction both aim to reduce the vulnerability of communities and contribute to sustainable development.” Sikivou adds that the work to develop a tsunami inundation model for Tongatapu is part of a more integrated approach the SPC and other partners from the Pacific region for maximising resources and minimising duplication of effort and potential conflicts in policy development. “The new information provided by the tsunami model is helping the Tongan government to make plans to prepare for possible tsunami event. But it is also helping to inform longer-term decisions about whether to relocate homes and infrastructure away from low-lying areas. “It is clear these important planning decisions will also help protect these communities from the impacts of projected sea level rise.”

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