Government will continue to increase its efforts to use space technology and geospatial information system (GIS) as a way of predicting and mitigating the impacts of natural disasters.

This was revealed during the 5 day training on the applications of GIS and geospatial data management for disaster risk reduction which got underway at the JJ’s on the park this morning.

In opening the workshop, Deputy Secretary for the Ministry of Rural & Maritime Development and National Disaster Management, Mr Setareki Tale said that the training is timely given the frequency of natural disasters affecting Fiji in the past.

“As of 2009, Fiji reported 124 natural disasters in the past 37 years. Tropical cyclones accounted for 50 per cent, followed by floods (33 per cent) and earthquakes (8 per cent).

“The training allows participants to gain some knowledge on geospatial data management for disaster risk reduction that would assist in establishing geospatial portal for disaster risk management in the Fiji Government,” Mr Tale added.

The 5 day training was made possible with the support received by the UN ESCAP and the Korean Government through KOICA for the funding and the provision of technical expertise.

The training is also part of a commitment made in Bangkok with the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) to enhance space technology for disaster risk reduction by establishing a national geo-portal for disaster risk management.

More than 15 government officials are currently attending the 5 day workshop which included the Divisional Commissioners.