24 Jun 2015

Pacific warned of increasing disaster costs

4:04 pm on 24 June 2015

The World Bank says the cost of natural disasters in the Pacific will continue to rise if steps are not taken to strengthen infrastructure and improve early warning systems.

The Bank has just approved a series of credits and grants of $US45 million dollars to help Pacific nations cope with natural disasters.

The World Bank's Pacific Director Franz Drees-Gross says the Pacific Resilience Program will initially provide assistance to Samoa, Tonga, the Marshall Islands and Vanuatu, as well as the Secretariat of the Pacific Community and the Pacific Islands Forum .Secretariat.

"So basically provide early warning sytems to these countries so they can monitor cyclones as they come in and prepare populations for their arrival. To basically do multi-sectoral risk reduction and resilience planning and then plan the investments that bring those about."

The Pacific Resilience Program will be funded through the International Development Association, the World Bank's fund for the world's poorest countries.

William’s Bay, Erromango Island. The village had been without telecommunications or any relief for two weeks when we arrived here on Wednesday the 25th of March. When we returned on Friday their supplies had arrived.

Photo: RNZI / Koroi Hawkins