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Weathering the storm together

I n January 2014, Tropical Cyclone Ian devastated a number of islands in the Kingdom of Tonga, a brutal and sobering reminder of how extreme weather affects our islands homes. On behalf of SPREP, I extend our deepest condolences to our brothers and sisters in Tonga as they work to recover from the damage caused. We are truly sorry for your loss. What really struck home during this event was the strong role our Meteorological Services play on a day-to-day basis as we face the challenges of protecting the lives and properties of Pacific people during extreme weather events.

In the case of Tropical Cyclone Ian, the meteorological services in Tonga and Fiji collaborated very effectively to ensure that people in harm’s way were aware of the impending threat. It’s our weather conditions that impact how we live and what we do, whether there are strong winds, cyclones, heavy rain, floods, strong sunshine, drought or just your normal blissful day in the islands. Effective and timely weather forecasts and warnings can minimise loss of life and property, and alleviate some of the hardship following extreme events such as tropical cyclones.

The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) is home to the Pacific Meteorological Desk Partnership, which has answered the call from Meteorological Services across the region to develop the Pacific Islands Meteorological Strategy (2012-2021). The Meteorological Strategy outlines critical meteorological priorities and actions for the region. It includes calls for action to strengthen critical sectors such as aviation, marine and public forecast and warning services, as well as addressing ever critical climate services required in our region such as harmonising climate change and disaster risk reduction activities

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