FIJI VULNERABLE TO NATURAL DISASTERS

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Location on the ‘Ring of Fire’ hazardous

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, March 26, 2009) – Fiji is one of the island countries sitting on the Pacific Ring of Fire that makes it more vulnerable to natural disasters.

Natural Disaster Management office director Joeli Cawaki said Fiji was simply exposed and vulnerable to future tsunami, earthquakes and volcanoes.

"We are at high risk and can be hit by any of the mentioned natural hazards and we live at a location that is exposed to the risk. It is like we are sitting on a time bomb and don't know when it will burst," said Mr Cawaki.

He said it is a worry and a reality that 80 per cent of the world's earthquakes occur on the Pacific Ring of Fire.

"Taveuni has more chances to have volcanoes in future because it has active ones. Another location is Nabukelevu in Kadavu but that is not a worry at the moment because the volcanoes there are dormant," Mr Cawaki said. He said Fiji was quite lucky to be surrounded by deep Pacific Ocean waters that sheltered us from experiencing the heavy impact of earthquakes.

"The impact naturally would be more if it comes from a shallow place but our advantage is we are surrounded by deep Pacific waters — where it starts from," he said.

Other island countries which are in the same situation as Fiji are Tonga, the Solomon Islands, Samoa, New Caledonia, Samoa, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea.

Fiji Times Online: http://www.fijitimes.com.

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