Natural disasters are on the rise due to climate change, displacing millions of people each year. A new international initiative is aiming to improve the way governments respond to such crises.
As Prime Minister Tony Abbott attends the Pacific Island Forum summit today, attention has again turned to how the low-lying islands will deal with global warming.
Food has been scarce for many rural people in Vanuatu since Cyclone Pam – but overall, they now have greater security of food supply than they did in the past.
One of the most hotly debated questions in Vanuatu has been about how communities can rebuild so that they are safer and more resilient to future cyclones. That’s not as simple as you might think.
This Sunday marks 100 days since Cyclone Pam hit Vanuatu, with ceremonies in villages across the nation to mourn the 11 people who died. Meanwhile, islands left brown in the aftermath are green again.
To rely on tourism to rebuild Vanuatu’s economy is lazy policy and economically fraught. There are other opportunities, despite the challenges.
The people of Vanuatu have always had to cope with extreme weather events, but natural disasters on the scale of Cyclone Pam test their strengths and leave areas of vulnerability exposed.
A causal relationship between cyclone behaviour and anthropogenic global warming is a very real possibility. But most climate scientists hesitate to attribute any single event to global warming.
Vanuatu’s tourism industry has taken a beating from Cyclone Pam, but prospective visitors shouldn’t think that will be the case long-term.
Any public health assessment of Vanuatu should include the identification of immediate needs and associated risks, as well as put in plans for mitigating future natural disasters.
While Australia’s leaders express concern for the people of Vanuatu, the welfare of poor states is a commitment from which Australia is walking away.
The devastation to Vanuatu left in the wake of Cyclone Pam shows small islands in the Pacific need a climate insurance scheme, similar to what has been achieved in the Caribbean.
We now have more people, infrastructure and assets exposed where tropical cyclones make landfall.