EXPERTS on tropical cyclones warnings are meeting in at the Forum Fishery Agency (FFA) Conference Room in Honiara, Solomon Islands to discuss further improvement of coordinating warnings of tropical cyclones among countries in the South Pacific and South-East Indian Oceans.
The meeting which is referred to as the 16th session of the WMO Regional Association V (South-West Pacific) Tropical Cyclone Committee for the South Pacific and South-East Indian Oceans is officially opened yesterday, 29 August 2016 by Hon Minister Samuel Manetoali, Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology (MECDM).
Minister Manetoali, in his opening statement, emphasised that Solomon Islands is very vulnerable to tropical cyclones.
This is largely due to Solomon Islands being located both in the area where tropical cyclones start developing and also an area where tropical cyclones are moving.
Climate change may change rainfall pattern, increase temperature of the air and seas leading to increase intensity of tropical cyclones.
The safety of our region, our people, our communities and their properties against the threats of natural disasters including tropical cyclones are the ultimate goal of national governments.
The Hon Minster also calls on the experts to put on the “hat of servant-hood” and serve the people and create an environment that safety and protection of lives and properties of the people should be the essence of what National Meteorological Services and Tropical Cyclone Warning Centres do through the warning services they prepare and disseminate to the communities.
In 2010, the Government of the Solomon Islands established the MECDM to respond to threats from natural disasters including tropical cyclones.
The Ministry has also put in place legislations, national strategies and policies to guide the implementation of its work programme.
These include the Meteorology Act of 1985; the National Disaster Act and National Disaster Risk; and the Environment Act.
One of MECDM essential duties is to ensure that the Solomon Islands Meteorological Service (SIMS) provides warnings of tropical cyclones to the government and the people of the Solomon Islands.
SIMS is assisted by Brisbane Tropical Cyclone Warning Centre and the Regional Specialised Meteorological Centre in Nadi, Fiji (RSMC-Nadi).
The Government of Solomon Islands continues to build both human resources capacity and infrastructure development for tropical cyclone warnings.
Staff of the SIMS and Solomon Islands National Disaster Management Office have either continuing to pursue first university bachelor degree programmes and pursuing postgraduate studies.
To support the tropical cyclone warning, the MECDM is continuing to strengthen the observing networks including automatic weather stations to collect data weather, climate and rainfall data around the country and in the provinces in particular at Tingoa, Rennel and Bellona Provinces.
On the infrastructure improvement, the MECDM is in the initial stage to establish an “Environment Building” to centralise all operations and cater for staff of the Ministry; and the establishment of another new building to cater for a “Joint National Emergency Operation Centre” to house the National Disaster Management Office and the Weather Forecasting Services.
The meeting will continue its discussion on tropical cyclone warnings for the rest of the week.
The meeting is supported by WMO, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology and the Government of the Solomon Islands through the MECDM.