Natural hazards amplified by climate change

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BY ELLISON VAHI

SOLOMON Islands is building resilience at the community level through the Community Resilience to Climate and Disaster Risk in Solomon Islands Project (CRISP) project.

The project, which is carried out through the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology, focuses on bringing climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction into government policies and operations, setting up early warning systems and investing in vulnerable communities in the provinces.

As a small Island State Country, the Solomon Islands is highly prone to natural hazards such as tropical cyclones, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, tsunamis, landslides, floods and droughts and is ranked among the 10 countries with the greatest exposure and vulnerability to natural disasters.

Seven major disasters have been triggered by natural hazards over the past three decades, causing loss of life and having a severe and adverse economic impact.

Climate change also have threatens to increase the frequency and severity of natural disasters in the Solomon Islands.

Notably, in 2014, flash flooding in Guadalcanal Province was estimated to have displaced 10,000 people and caused damages and losses equivalent to 9 percent of the country’s GDP.

Modelling predicts, natural hazards and climate change will lead to an average direct loss of US$20.5 million or 3 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) annually for the next 50 years.

Other low lying atolls too have also faced the threat of coastal erosion as a result of sea level rise while their food supply has been affected by changing climatic patterns.

The growing intensity of natural hazards and climate change have made life especially low lying atolls in the Solomon Islands difficult for instance, where community’s struggle for water, brought on by the destruction of the village’s water supply system in major cyclones.

The project is supported by the EU-funded ACP-EU Natural Disaster Risk Reduction Program, managed by the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery, and the Global Environment Facility’s Least Development Country Fund.

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