OVER the next 50 years there is a 50% chance that Papua New Guinea could experience a severe natural disaster from earthquakes or cyclones with losses of around K2 billion and with almost 5,000 fatalities.
PNG is situated in one of the most hazard-prone regions of the planet and the complexity of its disaster management requires tailored solutions that weave science into the decision-making process.
Today the Department of Mineral Policy and Geohazards Management and the National Disaster Centre are hosting a disaster science information session for an audience of technical partners, key government agencies, development partners and media.
Delegates representing the PNG and Australian government technical agencies will be reporting on joint projects which address key national issues as well as the outcomes of a risk communication workshop held last week held in Kokopo.
“By tailoring our science to PNG’s unique physical, environmental and economic setting we can make it easier for decision makers to support communities across PNG”, said Geoscience Australia representative Dr Andrew Jones.
“Today’s meeting is about building the partnerships that will enable us to do just that.”
Over coming years existing monitoring programs will be expanded to include forecasting and response capabilities. The program will cover hazards like landslides, which are increasing in frequency leaving PNG communities and industries exposed to danger.
“We are developing the first landslide susceptibility maps and remote sensing tools that can be used to guide response planning, infrastructure vulnerability and community development in PNG”, said Dr Jones.
The work is part of an aid program supported by the Australian government to build PNG’s scientific capacity to assess, monitor and respond to natural hazards.