Vanuatu is one of the most disaster prone countries in the region and the world, thus VMGD has a vital role in ensuring that the people of Vanuatu are being informed accordingly and timely with regards to natural disaster, in particular tropical cyclones.
On average Vanuatu receives at least two (2) to three (3) tropical cyclones every cyclone season (November to April). In March 2015, Severe Tropical Cyclone Pam, the strongest cyclone on record to have affected Vanuatu, caused severe damage to Vanuatu’s central and southern islands. A survey was conducted in 5 provinces (Torba, Sanma, Malampa, Shefa and Tafea) after the event, to find ways to improve Vanuatu’s Tropical Cyclone Warning System. The survey indicated that a lot of technical terminologies were used in warnings, and there is a need for simplification of warning messages. Additionally, there is a need for impact based forecasting, enabling people to know what damage a certain cyclone strength can cause. These reviews leads to the need to review the Vanuatu Tropical cyclone tracking map.
The Vanuatu Cyclone tracking Map was developed in the 1980s and the main purpose of the map was to simplify the latitudes and longitudes into a more easy to understand language for communities. The tracking map continue to evolve over time, based on feedbacks from communities throughout Vanuatu.
With support from the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and the Vanuatu Red Cross Society (VRCS), VMGD completed another revision of the Vanuatu Tropical Cyclone tracking Map, incorporating the following features;
1. An updated tracking map of Vanuatu extending from Longitude 160° - 175° East and Latitude 10° - 23° South
2. Specified Wind Categories
3. Hand sketched images and impact descriptions over Land and Sea Conditions in relation to the specified wind categories
4. Updated NDMO Colour Alerts (Community preparedness measures)
5. Updated Radio frequencies including the times and areas of coverage and
6. Updated contact numbers of responsible agencies
This means that by having a tracking map, individuals or communities will be able to clearly locate a cyclone’s position, including having a clear idea of what damage the cyclone can do. Individuals will also be able to know what radio frequency they can tune to, to get the latest information on tropical cyclones. Importantly, the tracking map contains the National Disaster Management Office’s (NDMO) Colour Alerts and precautionary advices, including actions to take when these Alerts are issued.
The VMGD is requesting government institutions and non-government organisations to assist in distributing this useful tool to our communities throughout Vanuatu. You can obtain a copy of the official tracking map at our office at the Namba 2 Area in Port Vila