Vanuatu receives Automated Weather System to improve early warnings of natural disasters

Jul 28, 2017

Vanuatu Meteorology Observatory Officers explain the functions of the Automated Weather Systems during the official handing over ceremony at the White Grass Weather Station (Photo: UNDP/Donald Wouloseje)

Tafea Province, Vanuatu - Five weather stations in Vanuatu are now enjoying the Automated Weather System (AWS), a new weather recording unit which will benefit the country. The weather stations have switched to the new automated system from the manual system, to address the issue of data inconsistencies.

Previously, the Vanuatu Meteorological and Geo-Hazard Department would wait three hours for the Vanuatu Meteorology Head Office to provide an analysis of their weather information recorded, now with the new automated system, it will only take 10 minutes. The system not only resolves the issue of data inconsistency, it also captures weather updates in real time.

The AWS was officially handed over to the Government of Vanuatu in early July. The initiative was supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) under the Vanuatu Coastal Adaptation Project (VCAP).

Speaking at the recent hand-over event, Director of the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazard Department, David Gibson said, “The Vanuatu Government through the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazard Department and people of Vanuatu will benefit greatly from the installation of the AWS throughout the country, which is prone to natural hazards and disasters.”

Second Political Advisory to the Ministry of Climate Change, Robson Siro described it as a milestone achievement and confirmed the Ministry’s commitment to offer its services to rural communities throughout the country.

The AWS was officially handed over to the Government of Vanuatu on 6 July 2017 at Aneityum island of Tafea Province, the southernmost of the six provinces of Vanuatu.

Acting Secretary General of Tafea Province, Jack Joe said, “The AWS will greatly improve the services of our weather stations as Meteorology Observatory Officers on the ground. We don’t have to do our three hours 24/7 recording. The AWS will do that for us every 10 minutes and even at night which is a bonus for us.”

UNDP Programme Analyst based at the Vanuatu UN Joint Presence Office, Donald Wouloseje said, “The VCAP project is here to improve the early warning systems in Vanuatu in line with the UN Development Framework in improving the resilience of Pacific Island Countries with a focus on communities through integrated implementation of sustainable environmental management, climate change adaptation/mitigation, and disaster risk management approaches. 

Present at the official event were chiefs, church leaders, school children and communities from Aneityum Island. The Vanuatu Government acknowledged the support by UNDP/GEF V-CAP Project and the technical assistance from the New Zealand Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research for the successful installation and operation of the AWS in all five meteorology weather stations in Vanuatu. 

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