Earthquake App developed for Christchurch assisting Cyclone-Struck Fiji
Tonkin + Taylor (T+T) climate change expert and Disaster Risk Reduction specialist, Bapon Fakhruddin, recently briefed a USAID workshop about the company’s Rapid Mapping and how it assisted Fiji in the wake of the March 2016 deadly tropical cyclone.
“Cyclone Winston reminded us how vulnerable the South Pacific is. Scientific information alone can’t make Fiji and other Pacific Island nations resilient, but integrated multi-hazard risk management systems and strategies can be adopted to achieve sustainability and reduce vulnerability to natural disaster,” says Bapon.
Bapon also developed the Tsunami Warning System for the Indian Ocean in the wake of the 2004 Boxing Day earthquake and tsunami, which took 230,000 lives. A world-leading hazard modeller, Bapon reported on T+T’s Rapid Mapping to the USAID programme on El Niño Readiness in Bangkok in March.
The programme is focused on an initiative to enhance national disaster risk reduction as part of El Niño Ready Nations. ENRN’s are nations whose governments recognise El Niño as a serious threat, implementing policies to protect people and property.
“Cyclone Winston was an example of a serious El Niño event. Tonkin + Taylor was able to provide pro-bono assistance to the Fijian Government, UNOCHA and the major aid agencies by offering our unique aerial mapping technology,” says Bapon.
Rapid Mapping provides a fast turnaround overview of damage that can be used to prioritise and expedite the delivery of aid to devastated communities. T+T, together with the Earthquake Commission, developed Rapid Mapping during the Canterbury Earthquake Sequence in 2010-2011.
Bapon says Fiji will now be included as a case study for the ENRN: “It’s a particularly vulnerable nation that suffered severe damage from the 300+ kilometre per hour winds – 43 people lost their lives and the repair bill is currently estimated at $USD 200 million.”