Cyclones cost economy $2.2 billion

Devastation on Yacata Island following Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston in 2016. Picture: SUPPLIED/RadioNZ

TROPICAL cyclones Evan and Winston cost the country $2.2 billion in terms of impact on the economy, says Meteorological Services Minister Jone Usamate.

Speaking at the commissioning of a $896,000 new meteorological archive building in Nadi on Friday, he said a World Bank post disaster needs assessment revealed the depth of natural disaster impact on the economy.

“The total economic value of the disaster effects caused by TC Evan in 2012 is estimated at around $194.9 million while the estimated value of disaster effects arising from TC Winston in 2016 is $1.99 billion,” he said.

“The increase in damage costs will continue to grow into the future and it is important that we continue to build our level of resilience against the impacts of climate change.”

Mr Usamate said it was important to invest in early warning systems to help Fijians prepare for climate change events such as heavy rainfall, floods, tropical cyclones and droughts.

He said the new archive with data dated back to the 1880s would assist the Fiji Meteorological Service make more accurate climatological predictions.

“These datas are important in analysing changes in long term weather patterns, changes in surface and sea temperature and changes in rainfall pattern.

“Analysing these changes is important in developing risk reduction and adaptation plans to address the ongoing changes brought about by climate change.”

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