Vanuatu comprises over 80 islands, of which 68 are inhabited, and has a population of around 240,000 people. It has a combined land area of 14,760 km2 and a maritime exclusive economic zone of 680,000 km2. Like most small island nations, the coastal zone is the hub of economic activities in Vanuatu. The vast majority of the population is concentrated in the narrow strip of the coastal zone, as most islands are volcanic with a mountainous terrain in the interior of most islands. Nearly 75% of the population live in rural areas and engage in subsistence, rain-fed agriculture. While coastal fisheries contribute significantly to food security, many life-supporting coastal ecosystems are increasingly under stress from climate change and other human-induced impacts.

Vanuatu experiences severe tropical cyclones during the summer months of December to February; long dry spells associated with the El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) cool phase March to November, and frequent earthquakes and seismic activity due to its location along the “Pacific Ring of Fire”. According to the Commonwealth Vulnerability Index, Vanuatu ranks as the world’s most vulnerable country due to its high exposure to natural disasters, scattered island geography, narrow economic base, inadequate communication and transportation networks, and limited capacity to cope with disasters, including climate change. In the Pacific region, the highest concentration of cyclones occurs in the area of Vanuatu; which experiences cyclonic activities most years.

The impacts of climate change have serious consequences on the coastal environment in Vanuatu. The bio-geophysical effects include coastal erosion, increased flooding, loss of coastal lowlands and wetlands and salinization of surface and groundwater. The loss and degradation of coastal wetlands impact on the livelihoods and nutrition of coastal dwellers that depend on the ecosystem services from intact and healthy mangroves, coral reefs and other coastal ecosystems. In addition, the effects of climate change on the socio-economy of the country include the risks to human life and health, loss of property and infrastructure, deterioration of agriculture, tourism, recreation and loss of livelihoods. These vulnerabilities threaten the way of life of coastal communities.

With respect to climate change governance, Vanuatu has responded positively to the climate change challenges and has established a National Advisory Board (NAB) with primary responsibility for coordinating climate change policies, programs and projects. The secretariat of NAB is the newly established PMU (Project Management Unit) based at the Vanuatu Meteorological and Geohazards Department (VMGD). To guide the implementation of effective and efficient adaptation efforts, Vanuatu has endorsed the 2012-2022 National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy (NCCAS) and the National Adaption Program for Action (NAPA). These plans provide policy recommendations; sector specific adaptation plans and outlines a systematic, long-term approach for embedding climate change adaptation into core national and sector level activities. Vanuatu has also developed a National Integrated Coastal Management Framework (NICMF) and Implementation Strategy which outlines the institutional arrangements needed for management of coastal ecosystems. These national plans and strategies provide an important framework for the development of the project design.

Vanuatu is highly vulnerable to climate change related risks. The location, geology, and climate put Vanuatu at risk of disaster regardless of climate change. However, given the potential impacts of climate change the existing vulnerabilities will enhanced. These risks are summarized in Annex 1 of the main project document.

The current projections for climate change in Vanuatu in are outlined below. In relation to coastal and marine ecosystems that changes are projected to include:

  • Increase in mean air temperature (0.4-1 degree Celsius by 2030),
  • Increasing temperature of coastal waters with increasing likelihood of the potential for coral bleaching
  • Increasing acidification of the coastal water (due to a decrease in ocean Aragonite saturation from 3.9 to 3.4 to 3.5(Ωar) by 2030)
  • Increase in sea level (5-17cm by 2030),
  • Increase in the intensity of the wet and dry seasons
  • Increase in soil erosion due to changing rainfall events
  • Less frequent, but more intense cyclones (increased wind speed and precipitation)

A ridge-to-Reef concept needs to adopt for the Vanuatu by integrating Coastal Community Climate Change Management Plans and integrated water resources management plan. In particular, the plan will focus on reducing threats to coastal and marine ecosystems, enhancing the resilience of ecosystems, disaster risk, water resources, coral reef, mangroves and seagrass beds and managing pressure on extraction of marine and coastal resources.

Natural disasters create significant impacts in the Pacific Islands: between 1950 and 2004 more than 200 disasters resulted in ovecrm_tongar 1700 fatalities and losses of USD 6.5 billion. Given their small populations and economies, such impacts represent significant shocks to Pacific Island countries. Tonga like the other fifty-one Small Island Developing States is highly susceptible to the impacts of climate change and disaster risks. Its susceptibility is principally due to its geographical, geological and socio-economic characteristics. Climate change and natural disasters pose serious adverse impacts on the environment, the people of Tonga and their livelihoods. Scientific findings revealed that these impacts would be exacerbated by future climate change. The Government of Tonga understands these significant detrimental impacts of climate change and disaster risks to sustainable development of the country hence considered these issues as high priorities in its National Strategic Planning Framework. With support from UNDP and Australian Government Pacific Adaptation Climate Change (PACC) project in Tonga assisted to increase the resilience of the water resources management sector and to enhance adaptive capacity of villages/communities and socio-economic activities to climate change and sea level rise. The paper doesn’t describes the PACC results rather water resources impacts due to climate changes.

For more detail contact Author.

DOI: 10.13140/2.1.2028.3200

This document is part of a series of studies produced by the African and Latin American Resilience to Climate Change (ARCC) project that address adaptation to climate change in West Africa. Within the ARCC West Africa studies, this document falls in the subseries on Climate Change and Water Resources in West Africa. ARCC has also developed a subseries on Agricultural Adaptation to Climate Change in the Sahel, Climate Change and Conflict in West Africa, and Climate Change in Mali.

Upon the request of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), ARCC undertook the West Africa water studies to increase understanding of the potential impacts of climate change on water resources in West Africa and to identify means to support adaptation to these changes. Other documents in the Climate Change and Water Resources in West Africa series include Transboundary River Basins, Mapping the Exposure of Socioeconomic and Natural Systems of West Africa to Coastal Climate Stressors, and Coastal Biophysical and Institutional Analysis.

The Ministry of Public Works and Transportation (MPWT) is increasingly focusing its attention on extreme climate events and their impact on Cambodia’s road network. Under the ADB-funded “Climate Resilience for Provincial Road Improvement Project” (CR-PRIP), MPWT aims to promote climate adaptation and environmentally friendly roads. The project will ensure the robustness, safety, pass-ability, and durability of roads by setting up design standards, safety measures, and emergency plans. The CR-PRIP is piloting an emergency management system in the Kampong Leaeng District by constructing an Emergency Operation Center (EOC) which will provide ferry ferries and inflatable boats for the safe evacuation of the population in affected areas; capacity building; and other rehabilitation activities (e.g. water supply, electricity) to enhance community resilience.
Evacuation planning is a common necessary mitigation factor for a range of risks, and planning should be proportionate to the level of risk. There are a number of cross-cutting issues in evacuation and safe place planning including community perception, acceptance, planning, and include logistics, security, local resilience, infrastructure and the role of local government. Consideration of these will help in understanding the wider impacts and interdependencies that surround an evacuation.
This document describes the community capacity, their perceptions and safety and evacuation needs to manage the disaster. A series of field surveys were conducted at the household level as well as focused group discussions at District and Commune level to identify disaster risks, damages and existing early warning systems. The survey also identified community needs to increase and support their capacity for managing flood risks; safe areas and any renovations or enhancements which are required; safety routes; and other measures required for safe evacuation. Based on the consultation, it has been recommended that six shelters with proper facilities be constructed as model shelters for evacuation during floods. The project will include the provision of water, electricity, land filling, etc to ensure the shelters can accommodate flood victims and provide basic support during an emergency. This report also covers characteristics of the project area (Kampong Leaeng District), the overall risk assessment for the area, historical flood damages and existing early warning systems for Cambodia.
Evacuation effectiveness can be improved by clear communication of risks and actions to take in the event of an emergency. To this end, the ‘Concept of Operation (CONOP) for Emergency Operation’ describes the plan for emergency communications and early warning dissemination and the Standard Operation Procedures (SOP) document describes the operation procedures and other advice for evacuation.

The Ministry of Public Works and Transportation (MPWT) has increasingly focused its attention on extreme climate events and their impact on Cambodia’s road network. Under the ADB-funded “Climate Resilience for Provincial Road Improvement Project” (CR-PRIP), MPWT aims to promote climate adaptation and environmentally friendly roads. The project will ensure the robustness, safety, pass-ability, and durability of roads by setting up design standards, safety measures, and emergency plans. The CR-PRIP is piloting an emergency management system in the Kampong Leaeng District by constructing an Emergency Operation Center by providing ferry boats, inflatable boats for evacuation of the population in affected areas, capacity building, and other rehabilitation activities (i.e. water supply, sanitation, electricity, etc.) to enhance community resilience.

There has been a constant realization that effective and holistic disaster risk mitigation requires greater multi-sectorial collaboration. For any disaster management organization should have written guidelines that defined precisely how operations were to be conducted. These guidelines, often called standard operating procedures or SOPs, are “organizational directives that establish a standard course of action.” In other words, SOPs are written guidelines that explain what is expected and required of disaster response personal in performing their jobs. A comprehensive set of SOPs defines in significant detail how the organization intends to operate.

The purpose of this document is to provide standard operation procedures for Emergency Information Center (EIC) at the MPWT and the Emergency Operation Center (EOC) at Kampong Leaeng District. This report also describes the operation procedures for the ferry boats and inflatable boats for emergency rescue activities and Drone operation during disaster period.

An EOC has planned to establish in Kampong Leaeng District for 24/7 Operation facilities. A Concept of Operations (CONOPS) document has been produced to guide the management, organization, responsibilities, and coordination necessary to provide for effective response and recovery from any emergency at community level. The SOP document is the follow up document of CONOPS and more an operational document and will be updated based on the needs or adjustment.

I wrote similar article right after 2010 floods. I had a chance to work in Pakistan to conduct some climate risk management assessment and training program for the Government officials on climate risk management during 2009-2010. Based on my assessment, major recommendation was to strengthening flood forecasting and warning system with longer lead time and community level awareness to interpret the flood forecasts for decision making! There has been some steps taken by Pakistan Met office (PMD) to strengthen the system but comparing to donor’s supports that perhaps nothings much has been done. Donor supports and NGOs are flooded with resources in Pakistan even though not much focused on flood early warning system! The BBC quoted “Pakistan has not experienced floods as devastating since 2010 – officials say 254 people have died in the past few days”. Though 2010 not so far, I wish they could write something more what lessons they learned from 2010 and how much they progress so far!
Advances in meteorological, hydrological and engineering sciences are fast generating a range of new methodologies for forecasting weather and flood events, including ensemble prediction systems (EPS) and new hydrological or hydrodynamic models (Fakhruddin, 2014; Drobot and Parker, 2007). However, many of these advances prediction system have not yet been incorporated into operational forecast systems and consequently, operational forecasts have not been integrated into decision making processes in order to reduce disaster risks. In a real world, it has been noticed that not all people noticed warning or able to understand the meaning of probabilistic forecasts and consider themselves at risk (Parker et al., 2009; Molinari and Handmerand, 2011). On the consequence no appropriate actions were taken to reduce damage (Fakhruddin, 2014, Babel et al. 2013).
PMD is in charge for issuing flood forecasts and warnings to the nation to help in saving lives and to reduce flood damages. For this purpose, PMD maintains a specialized Flood Forecasting Division (FFD) at Lahore. PMD issues pertinent information on rivers’ condition to local, provincial, and federal decision-makers and to general public. However, a flood forecast is only of value if it induces a response from the residents in the threatened area that lead to effective actions. Urban flood, Flash flood watches and warning, river and flood forecasts and warning, and water supply forecast and water management at major dams is the major hydrological services provided by PMD. The PMD able to provide accurate forecasts 24 hrs before but perhaps 24 hrs too little time to take appropriate actions for property damage but sufficient to save lives (Figure below represent the forecasts of PMD and its accuracy for the forecasts of 3rd September).


Figure 1: Forecasts accuracy for 2014 flood forecasts by PMD
Based on the research it has been proven (Fakhruddin 2014, Shrestha et al. 2014) that the lead time for flood forecasting for Indus Basin could increase 5-7 days with high persistent. In 2010 ECMWF 1-15 rainfall predicted more than 20 cm during those days (Figure 2). The rainfall forecast able to capture the 27-29 July events accurately. The figure 3 shows the 15-day forecasts of precipitation in north Pakistan for 27-29 July events (dashed). Multiple forecasts using ECMWF 51 set of ensembles were made to determine probabilities shown in figure 3.

Figure 2: 15-day probabilistic rainfall forecasts


Figure 3: The probabilities of flood in 1-15 days forecasts
The media has reported, in Punjab Province, Pakistan, 156 deaths have been attributed to heavy rains and floods and 75 people were dead in Pakistani-administered parts of Kashmir and the northern territory of Gilgit-Baltistan, said Zaheer Abbas, an official with the National Disaster Management Authority. At least 2,100 villages have been badly affected by the flooding. Thousands of villagers in central parts of Punjab are depending on boats and rescue operations to save their lives and livestock. The floodwaters were moving downstream and were expected to reach the southern part of Sindh Province and the southwestern part of Baluchistan Province by the end of the week, officials said.
This clearly states the lack of communication to receive the warning to the affected people, interpret or internalize the information for decision making and response. As mentioned Fakhruddin (2012), early warning systems alone do not prevent hazards turning into disasters. Early action is essential in order to mitigate potential damage (World Disaster Report, 2009). Early warning and early action together can save thousands of lives and livelihoods; reduce vulnerability and strengthen resilience. Nevertheless without lead time to react an early warning is almost ineffective. (Parker et al., 2005). For taking a good decision, the capacity of generation of long lead flood forecasts with an acceptable degree is essential (Alan, 2002). Therefore A breakdown in any one of these elements of early warning can cause warning messages to fail to reach and motivate their intended recipients. It’s clear that early warning is not helpful unless its reach to the people who need to act. To response to the early warning the information need to understand and internalized by the people. Thus an interpretation and translation of the science information is essential. People do not immediately respond to early warnings because people worldwide first “search” for additional information to “confirm” that they are really at risk. This searching happens despite the technology used to give warnings. Searching is a social phenomenon. It involves talking things over with others and seeking to hear the same warning multiple times from different sources. Warned people turn to friends, relatives, and strangers to determine if they agree that risk is present and if protective actions are warranted. This process, constructing new perceptions of risk out of existing perceptions of safety adds time before protective actions are taken- it is fundamental to all human beings worldwide, and it is difficult to change. Early public warnings work best when they are under mandate from a government that is trusted as they can facilitate the process and speed it along (World Bank and UN, 2010). Ignoring these basic human warning elements may continue to cost lives. A decision support system incorporating all these users need could enables peoples to visualize the possible scenarios with probabilities of risk to reduce their vulnerabilities.

DOI: 10.13140/2.1.4070.8486

The Ministry of Public Works and Transportation (MPWT) has increasingly focused its attention on extreme climate events and their impact on Cambodia’s road network. Under the ADB-funded “Climate Resilience for Provincial Road Improvement Project” (CR-PRIP), MPWT aims to promote climate adaptation and environmentally friendly roads. The project will ensure the robustness, safety, pass-ability, and durability of roads by setting up design standards, safety measures, and emergency plans. The CR-PRIP is piloting an emergency management system in the Kampong Leng District by constructing an Emergency Operation Center, provide ferry boats for evaluation of the affected areas, capacity building, and other rehabilitation activities (i.e. water supply, sanitation, electricity, etc.) to enhance community resilience.

This document provides guidelines for the establishment of an Emergency Operation Center (EOC) and its overall operation system. The Concept of Operation (CONOPS) outlines an organized and unified capability for a timely, coordinated response by the MPWT and Kampong Leaeng District Center to natural disasters. It establishes conceptual guidance for assessing and monitoring a developing threat, notifying appropriate provincial and local agencies of the nature of the threat, and the requisite advisory and technical resources to facilitate coordination during the crisis and consequence management activities. Actions will be necessary to continually refine the mission, capabilities, and resources of other supporting departments and agencies; and the actions each agency or department must perform during each phase of the response, to include crisis management and consequence management actions.

For more detail author!

Early warning system (EWS) is an integral part of human to influence perceptions, decisions and behaviour in times of adverse conditions and crises. Thus an early warning system integrated science, institutions and society for hazard detection to trigger warning, influences behavior for decision making and community response. People still EWS as their immediate warning and evacuation process to save lives. The notion of the Last Mile originated from the need that EWS have to reach people at the local and community level with appropriate information in order to ensure that anticipated responses at the Last Mile can take place (Shah, 2006). The issues of the Last Mile underscore that EWS need to pay more attention to risk knowledge, response capabilities, and vulnerabilities of communities, including aspects of temporary and long-term migration. This paper discuss about a case study from Ranong Province of Thailand which was badly affected by 2004 tsunami. The effectiveness and strength of a local EWS depend on the cultural, technological and local governance setting, and the capabilities of the community. Beside the technical skills to operate EWS, participatory approaches (PRA) are essential to support the development and improvement of EWS by enhancing the involvement of the community. A survey was conducted first under the US Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning System (US-IOTWS) program in 2007 and evaluated in 2011-2012 with the same community to identify the community vulnerability and enhancement of community based EWS. It was found that tsunami memories getting faded to the community as lack of awareness and evacuation drills. Though many people feel safe from tsunamis, the majority of people interviewed were not content with the current tsunami warning alert system and evacuation plans.

Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh surrounded by river networks, which is, in turn, connected to a network of internal drainage system. Flood occurs frequently in this mega city due to both river flood and drainage congestions. Flood is the most common kind of disaster the city faced during the last fifty years since 1954. Flood management of the city is crucial for reducing the enormous loss to capital investments and sufferings to human beings. The drainage of the city has only covered 140 sq. km, which is 38% of the total city corporation area, and it’s deteriorating for the last few years due to many development works. The 2010 and 2004 flood was due to excessive rainfall over the catchments area of the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna (GBM) river basin. In addition, the impact of the lunar cycle and its resulting high tide was responsible for slow recession of floodwaters. The causes of flooding inside the protected area were due to an inadequate or inefficient drainage network. Flooding that’s occurs in the city due to drainage congestion arising out of incessant rainfall. This kind of flooding causes damage to road surface, communication systems and public utility services.

Samoan Islands are prone to climatic hazards that will likely increase in coming decades, affecting coastal communities and infrastructure around the islands. Climate models do not predict a reduction of such disaster events in the future in Samoa; indeed, most predict an increase in such events. Future rainfall in Samoa is uncertain as model results have been inconsistent; however, projections generally suggest that the dry season rainfall will decrease but the wet season rainfall will increase, which may lead to seasonal cycles of too much and too little water (ICCAI, 2011). Thus, the dry season will likely be drier and the wet season wetter (World Bank, 2010). The sea level in Samoa has been rising at 4 mm per year since 1983, which is slightly greater than the global average of 2.8-3.6 mm per year (ICCAI, 2011). Rising seas may compound problems either by resulting in a higher base and therefore increasing the height of storm surges, or by acting as a higher seaward barrier that restricts the escape of flood waters caused by excessive runoff (Walsh et al., 2004). Apart from coastal flooding, sea level rise (SLR) may accelerate the erosion of coastal margins, threatening surrounding land, property and infrastructure. Therefore, storm surge and flooding as well as wind damage that occurs during tropical cyclones can be seen as the principal hazards on the Samoan Islands.
As a part of the initiative of USAID Adapt Asia-Pacific in partnership with UNDP to support the Government of Samoa in addressing a range of climate hazard-related issues, the goal of this report is to identify key infrastructure and their functions and status in order to provide an overall picture of relative vulnerability to climate-related stresses of such infrastructure on the island. This report also aims to identify feasible adaptation measures based on consultations with the Government of Samoa and review its implementation plan for an economy-wide integration of climate change adaptation to reduce vulnerability in communities. A case study for the economic costs and benefits for an early warning system are also summarized. In this report, only water supply, sewerage, land transportation and power supply are considered for vulnerability assessment due to climate-related hazards. A detailed and exhaustive assessment of the climate-related vulnerability of the whole infrastructure system of Samoa will require detailed hazard mapping (e.g. flood hazard mapping, coastal erosion hazard mapping, etc.), the development of an inventory of critical infrastructure and their users, and finally, superimposing of the hazard maps with the inventory of the existing infrastructure. Such an exhaustive exercise is beyond the scope of this report due to the limited time available for this study as well as the lack of readily available data.