Thursday, 4 July 2013

Tokelau seeks Pacific help for its meteorology service

3 July, 2013, Nadi, Fiji - Fiji and Samoa have been thanked by Tokelau for providing timely weather reports to the tiny Polynesian atoll.

Without these daily weather bulletins, the 1,700 residents on the island are unable to make informed decisions daily on changing weather situation or prepare for any natural disaster, said Kelemeni Tavuto, the island’s manager environment services.

He is in Nadi this week to seek assistance from other Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs) on improving climate services on the island.

“After the political referendum on the island in the 1990s New Zealand has shied away from some of its responsibilities, especially in the area of climate services, said Tavuto.

“That is why we are represented here to seek help from other Pacific Island Countries and Territories  and try and find ways to seek funding from donors.

Tavuto however admits that New Zealand provides million of dollars to other areas of the administration of the island but climate services, including meteorology has been neglected.

“For example, my department receives NZ$900,000 for three government department - which is sub-divided into environment, economic development and meteorology.

“Even though each ‘nuku’ or village is provided budget for its own, residents often rely on the national government to provide these essential services to the community, said Tavuto.

Responding briefly to the Tokelau country report, the Pacific Manager for NZMet, Penehuro Lefale said New Zealand has been and continues to assist Tokelau with its climate services.

One of the immediate needs for Tokelau is the establishment of weather offices on all the three islands.

“My main purpose here is to reach out to potential partners and donors to assist us. Tokelau will not reach its potential unless we get help from our Pacific brothers and sisters.

“I would expect them to assist us with the implementation of climate change programs and improved, severe weather updates, said Tavuto.

This is the first time that Tokelau is being represented at the Pacific Meteorological Council meeting.

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