Notes from the Field

Training Programs Improve Disaster Response in the Pacific Islands

November 11, 2009

The Pacific Islands each have a unique culture but share a common uniting factor – geography has dictated the islands as one of the most disaster-prone regions in the world. According to a U.S. Department of State Travel Alert, the South Pacific region experiences approximately nine tropical cyclones each season, about half of which reach Category 3 intensity or above and have the potential to cause severe destruction. Such fate leaves the region’s inhabitants vulnerable to cyclones, tsunamis, droughts, floods, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions each season, including economic losses which in the 1990s alone cost the Pacific region $2.8 billion in real 2004 value.

To help build regional government capacity to prepare and mitigate the lasting effects of such disasters, The Asia Foundation, with support from the USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance, has been implementing disaster trainings in the Pacific since 1995. Recently, USAID published two success stories highlighting the effectiveness of the programs. Read the full stories here and here.

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