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Aitutaki guinea pig for weather project

Friday April 04, 2014 Written by Published in Weather
Christina Leala-Gale, FINPAC Project manager, will be running a workshop in Aitutaki next week. 14040201 Christina Leala-Gale, FINPAC Project manager, will be running a workshop in Aitutaki next week. 14040201

Aitutaki has been picked for a trial project aimed at helping remote communities cope with the impacts of climate change and natural disasters.

The pilot is being run by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) in the village of Tautu.  
Project manager Christina Leala-Gale said the objective is to improve the level of communication between the Cook Islands Meteorological Service and the community.
“The main focus is on ensuring that the kind of weather and climate information the community needs is provided by the Met Service in a way which is understandable and useful.”
The more information the community is given, the more able it will be to cope with the effects of climate change and natural disasters.  
“If we have to help these people then that communication has to be good.”
Leala-Gale will be running a four-day workshop in the Tautu village next week, bringing about 50 people together to get feedback on climate issues and disaster resilience plans.
The trial is part of the FINPAC Project, which aims to help Pacific Islands communities adapt to the effects of climate change.
“This will be our first one out of 11 countries so we’re using the Cook Islands as a trial in rolling out this project,” said Leala-Gale.
She said SPREP asked the Cook Islands Met Service to select a community in need of support.
“They suggested Aitutaki because of its vulnerability to natural disasters and climate change impacts.”
Media training is also being delivered to the Met Service as part of the project.
“We do note that communications is an issue in some Pacific Islands communities, as far as reaching people in these remote areas. We’re looking at ensuring information reaches the media and that the Met looks at the different channels suitable to people in different communities.”
Leala-Gale said the Cooks Met Service will receive a range of new tools, such as forecasting software, and help improving its website.
The main partners involved in the FINPAC project are the Finland Government, Finnish Meteorological Institute, and the Red Cross.

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