Opinion

Let’s Be Prepared For New Cyclone Season Which Starts On November 1

The tropical cyclone season begins on November 1, only eight days away. It ends on April 30, 2017. According to the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport, cyclones can form in
25 Oct 2016 11:00
Let’s Be Prepared For New Cyclone Season Which Starts On November 1
Be Prepared!!!!

The tropical cyclone season begins on November 1, only eight days away. It ends on April 30, 2017.

According to the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport, cyclones can form in months outside this period. The peak period for cyclones in the region is usually from January to March.

This year we were hit by a Category 5 Cyclone Winston which caused damage we are still recovering from. There are some people still living in tents waiting for their homes to be rebuilt. Some schools are still conducting classes in makeshift shelters.

We can only pray and hope that no cyclone visits us this cyclone season. There is absolutely no guarantee it will be a cyclone-free season.

This means we must always be prepared to weather another big storm.

The ministry says that based on the latest information from weather forecasters, the probability of tropical cyclone occurrences is elevated for Fiji and Tonga, while Cook Islands, New Caledonia. Niue, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau,Vanuatu and Wallis and Futuna is predicted normal during the 2016-17 season.

In the last cyclone season, there were eight cyclones within the Area of Responsibility (AoR) and one of which was Cyclone Winston.

In comparison, this cyclone season is expected to have between five to seven cyclones within AoR, with three to five predicted to reach Category 3 and one to two predicted to reach Category 4 or Category 5 status.

In regards to Fiji, we expect as many as two to three tropical cyclones to pass through Fijian waters this season with one anticipated to reach Category 3 or above.

The ministry says similar patterns in the past have shown that tropical cyclones have mainly affected areas in the Northern and Western parts of Fiji.

The early prediction and warnings are appreciated. They indicate that we are likely to be hit again by a cyclone. We hope it will bypass Fiji.

The major concern is that the West and North, two key areas that drive the economy, are likely targets. In the West we have sugar, hotels and tourism, manufacturing industries, mining etc. In the North we have sugar, hotels and tourism and mining.

We need to heed the advice of the ministry which has said that it is critical that communities across Fiji act responsibly and pay close attention to all weather forecast, warnings and advisories issued by the Fiji Meterological Service and Government.

We all should have learned from Cyclone Winston. Some of us may have been guilty of underestimating the power of Cyclone Winston.

We should now switch to cyclone preparedness mode so that we can become better prepared.

This is the reality of the time we now live in. It’s part and parcel of climate change, brought about by global warming, caused by carbon emissions pollution.

We have to face this challenge through disaster preparedness and prudent financial management.

In February, we were blessed that Cyclone Winston spared the tourism industry. We need to be ready to cope with a direct hit on hotels and resorts.

The Government has made it known that climate change will be factored in for all development programmes. This puts us in a better position to deal with a major disaster.

So let’s be prepared.

 

Nemani Delaibatiki
Feedback:  nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

 

 

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