Vanuatu to install tsunami signs, sirens in urban areas

Port Vila ... better preparedness for another tsunami. Image: Anita Roberts/Vanuatu Daily Post

Port Vila and Luganville will be introduced to a complete tsunami warning system by the end of this year.

This includes the installation of tsunami signage and sirens, says the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department (VMGD).

The VMGD, in partnership with stakeholders, is working hard to complete the final phase of the Mainstreaming Disaster Risk Reduction (MDRR) Project.

Funded by the Japanese government, MDRR aims to strengthen urban planning and tsunamis preparedness in the urban areas of Vanuatu.

The project started in 2013, it comprises of three components:

  • Risk mapping to support urban preparedness and planning (Vt66million [NZ$884,000]);
  • Establishing a tsunamis warning system for Port and Luganville (Vt136.5 million[NZ$1.84 million]); and
  • strengthening the national advisory board on climate change and disaster risk reduction (Vt21million [NZ$281,000]).

Workshops that have been held with the municipal and provincial authorities have assisted mapping out danger zones, drawing up evacuation maps, selecting evacuation routes and signs as well as evacuation key messages.

Starting from this week until July, the project team will be carrying out consultation to communities.

According to the project coordinator, Sylvain Todman, more than 60 consultations are expected in Port Vila and Luganville before the finalisation of evacuation routes, signs location and evacuation messages.

Todman said the project is looking at installing around 500 signs in every community.

He added that the project would distribute tsunamis brochures and make available a dissemination notice board to communities that needed one.

According to VMGD staff, this tsunami warning system is also used by countries like the Philippines, Samoa, Thailand and the United States.

VMGD staff said a live exercise would be conducted in both towns once the system was installed.

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