2009 Tsunami, Cyclone Evan Cost Samoa $339 Million

admin's picture

Deputy PM stresses preparation for climate change impacts

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, Nov. 4, 2014) – Just two natural disasters cost Samoa close to $800 million tala [US$339 million]. Whereas the deadly tsunami of 2009, which claimed 143 lives cost $309 million [US$131 million], Cyclone Evan in 2012 displaced nearly 5,000 people, costing the government a staggering $465million tala [US$197 million].

The figures were revealed by Acting Prime Minister, Fonotoe Pierre Lauofo yesterday, during the official opening of the National Environment Week in Manono.

"With a small fragile economy these figures are very significant for Samoa, a small island developing state," Fonotoe said.

The Acting Prime Minister was highlighting the importance of looking after the environment when he delved into the statistics about the vulnerability of Samoa to natural disasters.

"The World Bank currently ranks Samoa 30th (on the list) of countries most exposed to three or more hazards while the Global Climate Risk Index 2012 ranked Samoa at 51 out of 179 countries who suffer from extreme weather events," Fonotoe said. "The statistics confirm what we already know. Climate Change is Real."

To manage climate change, the Acting Prime Minister said Samoa must remain prepared at all times.

"I cannot emphasize enough the importance of conserving and preserving Samoa’s biological diversity and natural resources," he said.

"This is the resource base upon which Samoa relies on for its economic development, livelihoods, traditional medicine as well as it being the foundation of our cultural heritage and identity."

"Loss of biological diversity would significantly undermine and compromise Samoa’s ability to adapt and respond to impacts of Climate Change."

This year’s National Environment week is being guided by the theme of "Healthy island biodiversity is crucial for a climate resilient Samoa."

Fonotoe said the environment is a priority area for the government and to reflect such a commitment, environmental sustainability and climate resilience are priority goals in the Strategy for the Development of Samoa 2012-16.

The opening of the Environment Week also saw the launching of key documents to strengthen continual national efforts towards an environmentally sustainable and climate resilient Samoa.

These include the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (M.N.R.E) Corporate Plan 2014-2018. This will guide the implementation of priority strategies and actions to enhance Samoa’s environmental sustainability and climate resilience.

The second document is the Pacific Mangroves Charter, which is a collective declaration by the leaders of the Pacific to conserve mangroves and critical ecosystems that they support.

The third document was Samoa’s 5th National Report to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

This reports on the status of Samoa’s National Biodiversity as part of "our commitments and obligations towards the collective implementation of the International Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020; and the SMSMCL Project funded by

GEF through UNDP to address ‘Strengthening multi-sectoral management of Critical Landscapes.’

Manono Island is one of the targeted project sites.

According to Fonotoe, the annual commemoration of the National Environment Week continues to provide and support an interactive platform for development partners, professionals, business and local communities to exchange and share experiences, expertise, lessons learned and best practices on environment related issues and themes. The continuation of this annual event is therefore well supported by the Government.

"Lastly, the government acknowledges genuine, enduring and strategic partnerships with our Development Partners, local communities, NGOs and the Private Sector.

"In particular we acknowledge the tremendous and unwavering technical support and financial assistance from the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP); SPREP, IUCN, Conservation International, the Australian and New Zealand Aid Development Programme, JICA and the EU."

Rate this article: 
Average: 1 (1 vote)

Add new comment