UK-Australian space tech scheme to boost Pacific climate resilience

UN chief underscores disaster-proofing infrastructure on Tsunami Day

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday underscored the importance of disaster proofing infrastructure on the occasion of World Tsunami Awareness Day.

In his message for the day, Guterres said disaster-proofing infrastructure is essential to avoid the disruption to important public services that can occur during tsunami, earthquake and extreme weather events.

However, “it is clear from the growing economic losses over the last 20 years that we have not yet fully learned the importance of disaster-proofing critical infrastructure,” he said.

He pointed out “the risks remain immense,” as an estimated 680 million people live in low-lying coastal zones, and by 2050, this number might surpass 1 billion….


Why do a worrying number of us not know what to do before tsunami waves arrive?

Nearly all of us understand the danger posed by tsunami, but about a quarter of us don’t know what to do while the first wave is making its way to land.

This is a fact pointed to time and again in surveys by the likes of the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management, GNS Science and the Wellington Regional Emergency Management Office.

A GNS study on tsunami awareness and preparedness in 10 selected coastal areas of Wellington, Wairarapa, Hawke’s Bay and Gisborne revealed that while 71 per cent of the 875 respondents rated tsunami as the most likely natural hazard to affect their community, 26 per cent said they were unlikely to evacuate their property if a severe earthquake struck…


UK-Australian space tech scheme to boost Pacific climate resilience

A computer-generated image of the NovaSAR-1 satellite, which is able to see through clouds. (Image courtesy SSTL).

The UK Space Agency and Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, have invited international partners to work with them on projects designed to deliver sustainable benefits to small island developing states in the Pacific.

The projects, to be delivered through the Department for International Development scheme UK aid, will use data collected by satellites to improve decision-making for disaster risk reduction, ocean monitoring, mangrove mapping and maritime management.

The work will build on systems already being used to help prevent and plan for disasters caused by rising sea levels and climate change.

“Space has a crucial and expanding role as a green technology, providing vital data on earth observation and climate conditions, which helps to predict the impact of climate change,” said UK science minister Chris Skidmore.

He cited Surrey Satellite Technology, which launched its NovaSAR-1 satellite last year with funding from the UK Space Agency, as an example of a company that has already made an impact in this area…

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