Fiji flood early warning stakeholder workshop in Suva

The Pacific Community (SPC) has been working closely with the Fiji Meteorological Service (FMS) since February 2023 to determine the technical support that may contribute to improving and strengthening Flash Flood Early Warning Systems in Fiji.

This has been made possible through the Hydrology Support for Flash Flood Early Warning Systems project, with funding support from the Australian Water Partnership (AWP).

The collaboration has paved the way for national consultations, which began with the Fiji National Flood Early Warning Stakeholder Workshop at the Holiday Inn on the 10th of August, 2022 in Suva, Fiji.

In his opening remarks, Permanent Secretary for Infrastructure and Meteorological Service, Mr Taitusi Vakadravuyaca, said the workshop was an important step in this project.

"Bringing together diverse stakeholders and gathering their valuable feedback will undeniably help the Fiji Meteorological Service improve flood early warning in Fiji,"  Mr Vakadravuyaca said.

He added that such engagement is essential in promoting a shared understanding of the value of early warnings and different stakeholders' requirements in Fiji.

Outputs of the project will include the improvement of flash flood early warning systems in a pilot catchment in Fiji to demonstrate an approach for the strategic development of an upscaled programme of support for building surface water hydrological capacity and systems to address flash flooding and other hydrological needs in the Pacific.

Mr Vakadravuyaca also acknowledged the ongoing support of SPC and the Australian Government'  Department of Foreign Affairs through AWP.

Acting Director of SPC's Geoscience, Energy and Maritime (GEM) Division, Ms Rhonda Robinson, said support for  providing timely and effective early warnings for communities and businesses has been a long-standing request from SPC member countries that suffer from floods.

"As the principal scientific and technical organisation supporting development in the Pacific region, we here at SPC are delighted to link with the team from Australian Water Partnership in developing a modest but critical first step towards re-establishing and strengthening the regional support we can provide in hydrology to member countries to address flash flood early warnings," Ms Robinson said.

Acting Director of Meteorology, Mr Terry Atalifo, explained that the partnership will strengthen the Early Warning System in Fiji when it comes to riverine and flash flooding.

"Stakeholder involvement and feedback will also assist in improving our services and developing targeted information.  This is the beginning of many more improvements to come"  Mr Atalifo said.

This article is adapted from a Fiji Meteorological Service press release.