THIS month Islands Business enters an arrangement with the Auckland University of Technology which takes our magazine into places of influence in New Zealand. More than 400 more copies of the publication each month will carry the AUT logo and enter board rooms, places of learning and homes in New Zealand and around the Pacific. This is an initiative of which we are extremely proud for it brings two of the Pacific’s leading brands – one in journalism, the other in education – together for the first time.
IB has been involved in regional journalism for close to 30 years. The AUT has emerged as a credible institution with a fine tradition of journalism training for regional students. We hope that over the next 12 months IB will bring to the Pacific some of the excellent journalistic work for which the AUT has become renowned. At the same time IB stands committed to increasing its coverage of this widely diverse region. In recognition of the magazine’s status as the Pacific’s leading local news product, we have been contracted to provide coverage of the South Pacific Tourism Exchange on Australia’s Gold Coast.
This is the second successive year that IB has been honoured to cover the event using a multi-media platform – on our website, Facebook and in the magazine.We will introduce a video component providing key interviews from the SPTE every day.
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FIJI was battering up for Tropical Cyclone Zena as we prepare to put this edition to bed, exactly 45 days after Category 5 Winston destroyed homes, villages and islands in eastern, central Fiji and the north-western regions of the main island. Most of the 30,000 that were rendered homeless by that superstorm were still living in makeshift shelters and foreign government gifted tents, when heavy rain that preceded TC Zena caused widespread flooding in towns and villages on the west, north and south coasts of Viti Levu.
If anything the extensive flooding and intensity in tropical storms confirm the extremities and unpredictability in our weather systems. In just one week, Fijian towns and cities were inundated with flood waters while the northern Pacific island nation of Palau was running low in fresh water due to a prolonged drought.
There is really nothing island governments can do to avoid natural calamities such as these, except that one ought to get its population disaster prepared and ready. Fiji did offer a novel way of assisting its cyclone ravaged population in the wake of devastation caused by TC Winston. Following a government directive, its superannuation fund waived most requirements to offer members FJD1,000 or FJD5,000 cash disbursements.
MONSTER storm Winston goes down in history as the most destructive cyclone ever to be recorded in the southern hemisphere. Forty-four fatalities, thousands homeless and a FJ$1 billion repair bill, the road after Winston will be a long and difficult one. Response from the international community was swift with Australia and New Zealand offering emergency supplies including logistic support almost immediately after Winston passed.
As we went to press, the Australian Navy’s largest supply ship, the HMS Canberra and New Zealand’s HMS Canterbury are busy coordinating relief work in islands to the central and eastern Fiji.
The bad news is that the world will have to brace for more, not less, Winston-type super storms. As global warming sets in, cyclones according to climate scientists, are expected to occur more frequently and with greater intensity. Vulnerable countries like those of us in the Pacific will have to seriously consider a more stringent building code, an affordable national insurance cover mechanism and perhaps a quicker and more efficient early warning system.