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ECONOMIC IMPACT OF NATURAL DISASTERS ON 
DEVELOPMENT IN THE PACIFIC  
 
Volume 1:  Research Report 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
May 2005
 
This research was commissioned and funded by the Australian Agency for International Development 
(AusAID).  It was managed by USP Solutions and jointly conducted by the University of the South 
Pacific (USP) and the South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC). 
 
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Authors: 
 
Emily McKenzie, Resource Economist, South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission  
 
Dr. Biman Prasad, Associate Professor & Head of Economics Department, University of the South 
Pacific – Team leader 
 
Atu Kaloumaira, Disaster Risk Management Advisor, South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Cover Photo:   
 
Damage to a bridge in Port Vila, Vanuatu, after the earthquake in 2002 (source – South Pacific Applied 
Geoscience Commission). 
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CONTENTS 
LIST OF TABLES 
4
 
LIST OF FIGURES 
4
 
LIST OF APPENDICES 
4
 
LIST OF TOOLS 
4
 
ACRONYMS 
5
 
GLOSSARY 
6
 
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 
9
 
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS 11
 
OUTLINE 
11
 
INTRODUCTION 
12
 
FRAMEWORK DEVELOPMENT 
13
 
1.
 
Guidelines for Estimating the Economic Impact of Natural Disasters 
13
 
1.1.
 
Current Practice 
13
 
1.2.
 
Outline of Guidelines 
14
 
2.
 
A Toolkit for Assessing the Costs and Benefits of DRM Measures 
14
 
2.1.
 
Current Practice 
14
 
2.2.
 
Outline of Toolkit 
14
 
ANALYSIS 
15
 
3.
 
Fiji Islands 
15
 
3.1.
 
The Fiji Economy 
15
 
3.2.
 
Literature Review – Economic Impact of Cyclone Ami and Related Flooding 
15
 
3.3.
 
Impact on Agriculture Sector 
17
 
3.3.1.
 
Agriculture Sector Without Cyclone Ami and Related Flooding 
17
 
3.3.2.
 
Impact of Cyclone Ami and Related Flooding on Agriculture Sector 
18
 
3.4.
 
Impact on Education Sector 
19
 
3.4.1.
 
Education Sector Without Cyclone Ami and Related Flooding 
20
 
3.4.2.
 
Impact of Cyclone Ami and Related Flooding on Education Sector 
20
 
3.5.
 
Cost-effectiveness of Community Flooding Mitigation Project 
21
 
4.
 
Niue 
23
 
4.1.
 
The Niue Economy 
23
 
4.2.
 
Literature Review – Economic Impact of Cyclone Heta 
23
 
4.3.
 
Impact on Tourism Sector 
25
 
4.3.1.
 
Tourism Sector Without Cyclone Heta 
25
 
4.3.2.
 
Impact of Cyclone Heta on Tourism Sector 
26
 
4.4.
 
Impact on Education Sector 
27
 
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4.4.1.
 
Education Sector Without Cyclone Heta 
28
 
4.4.2.
 
Impact of Cyclone Heta on Education Sector 
28
 
4.5.
 
Cost-effectiveness of Relocation of Hospital 
29
 
5.
 
Tuvalu 
31
 
5.1.
 
The Tuvalu Economy 
31
 
5.2.
 
Literature Review – Economic Impact of Droughts 
32
 
5.3.
 
Impact on Fisheries Sector 
32
 
5.3.1.
 
Fisheries Sector Without Droughts 
32
 
5.3.2.
 
Impact of Drought on the Fisheries Sector 
33
 
5.4.
 
Impact on Health Sector 
34
 
5.4.1.
 
Health Sector Without Droughts 
34
 
5.4.2.
 
Impact of Drought on Health Sector 
35
 
5.5.
 
Cost-effectiveness of the Funafuti Desalination Plant 
36
 
6.
 
Vanuatu 
38
 
6.1.
 
The Vanuatu Economy 
38
 
6.2.
 
Literature Review - Economic Impact of Cyclone Ivy, Cyclone Uma and 2002 Earthquake 
38
 
6.3.
 
Impact of Cyclone Ivy on the Agriculture Sector 
40
 
6.3.1.
 
Agriculture Sector Without Cyclone Ivy 
40
 
6.3.2.
 
Impact of Cyclone Ivy on the Agriculture Sector 
40
 
6.4.
 
Impact of Cyclone Ivy on the Tourism Sector 
41
 
6.4.1.
 
Tourism Sector Without Cyclone Ivy 
41
 
6.4.2.
 
Impact of Cyclone Ivy on the Tourism Sector 
41
 
6.5.
 
Cost-effectiveness of DRM Measures 
41
 
RESULTS 
42
 
7.
 
Recommendations 42
 
8.
 
Conclusions 
43
 
BIBLIOGRAPHY 
45
 
 
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LIST OF TABLES 
Table 1: Fiji NDMO’s Assessment of Sectoral Impacts of Cyclone Ami and Related Flooding ..............................16
 
Table 2: Summary Statistics – Fiji’s Agriculture Sector Without Cyclone Ami ........................................................18
 
Table 3: Assessment of Impact of Cyclone Ami on Fiji’s Agricultural Sector..........................................................19
 
Table 4: Summary Statistics – Fiji’s Education Sector Without Cyclone Ami .........................................................20
 
Table 5: Assessment of Impact of Cyclone Ami and Related Flooding on Fiji’s Education Sector.........................21
 
Table 6: Impacts of Flooding on Nabouciwa With and Without DRM Measures.....................................................22
 
Table 7: Niue Government’s Categorisation of the Damage Caused by Cyclone Heta by Sector..........................24
 
Table 8: Niue Government Assessment of Impact of Cyclone Heta on the Public Sector......................................25
 
Table 9: Summary Statistics – Niue’s Tourism Sector Without Cyclone Heta ........................................................26
 
Table 10: Assessment of Impact of Cyclone Heta on Niue’s Tourism Sector.........................................................27
 
Table 11: Summary Statistics – Niue’s Education Sector Without Cyclone Heta ...................................................28
 
Table 12: Assessment of Impact of Cyclone Heta on Niue’s Education Sector......................................................29
 
Table 13: Impacts of Cyclone Heta With and Without Hospital Relocation.............................................................30
 
Table 14: Summary Statistics – Tuvalu’s Fisheries Sector Without Droughts ........................................................33
 
Table 15: Assessment of Impact of Drought on Tuvalu’s Fisheries Sector.............................................................34
 
Table 16: Summary Statistics – Tuvalu’s Health Sector Without Droughts ............................................................35
 
Table 17: Assessment of Impact of Drought on Tuvalu’s Health Sector.................................................................36
 
Table 18: Costs of Desalination Plant in Tuvalu .....................................................................................................37
 
Table 19:  Estimates of Insured and Uninsured Damage from 2002 Port Vila Earthquake ....................................39
 
Table 20: Summary Statistics of Vanuatu’s Agriculture Sector Without Cyclone Ivy..............................................40
 
Table 21: Assessment of Impact of Cyclone Ivy on Vanuatu’s Agriculture Sector..................................................41
 
 
LIST OF FIGURES 
Figure 1: Annual Indices of Agricultural Crops in Fiji, 1996-2003 ...........................................................................18
 
Figure 2: Tourist (non-resident) Arrivals in Niue, 1996-2004..................................................................................26
 
Figure 3: Annual GDP of Tuvalu, 1996-2002..........................................................................................................31
 
Figure 4: Real GDP Growth in Vanuatu, 1980-1999...............................................................................................39
 
 
LIST OF APPENDICES 
1.  Details of Meetings during Country Visits to Fiji, Niue, Tuvalu and Vanuatu  
2.  Inventory of Relevant Documentary Materials in Fiji, Niue, Tuvalu and Vanuatu 
3.  Disasters in the Pacific Island Region, 1994-2004 
4.  Tropical Cyclones in the South West Pacific, 1980-2001 
5.  Floods in the Fiji Islands, 1990-2004 
6.  Cyclones and Storms in the Fiji Islands, 1972-2004 
7.  CGE Model Assessment of Economy-wide Impact of Cyclone Ami in Fiji  
8.  Cyclones in Tuvalu, 1972-2003 
9.  Earthquakes in Vanuatu, 1880-1999
 
 
LIST OF TOOLS  
(See Volume 2) 
1.  Guidelines for Estimating the Economic Impact of Natural Disasters on Development in the Pacific 
2.  A Toolkit for Assessing the Costs and Benefits of Disaster Risk Management Measures in the Pacific 
 
 
 
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Acronyms 
ADB 
Asian Development Bank 
AusAID 
Australian Agency for International Development 
CBA  
Cost-Benefit Analysis 
CBR Cost-Benefit 
Ratio 
CEA  
Cost Effectiveness Analysis 
CGE 
Computable General Equilibrium (Model) 
CHARM 
Comprehensive Hazard and Risk Management 
CRED  
Center for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters 
DHA 
Department of Humanitarian Affairs (United Nations) 
DRM 
Disaster Risk Management 
EM-DAT 
Emergency Disaster Database, Université Catholique de Louvain 
FAO 
Food and Agriculture Organisation 
FEMA 
Federal Emergency Management Agency 
FFA 
Forum Fisheries Agency 
FSM 
Fiji School of Medicine 
FV  
Future Value 
GDP 
Gross Domestic Product 
GIS 
Geographic Information Systems 
HDR 
Human Development Report (published by UNDP) 
IDP Internally 
Displaced Person 
IDNDR International 
Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction 
IFAD 
International Fund for Agriculture Development 
IFRC  
International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies 
ITU International 
Telecommunication Union 
NDMO 
National Disaster Management Office 
NGO 
Non-Governmental Organisation  
NPB 
Net Present Benefit 
NPC 
Net Present Cost 
NPV 
Net Present Value 
NSO 
National Statistics Office 
PIC Pacific 
Island 
Country 
PIFS 
Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat 
PRA 
Participatory Rural Appraisal 
PRISM 
Pacific Regional Information System 
PV Present 
Value 
SOPAC 
South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission 
SPC   
Secretariat of the Pacific Community 
SPDRP 
South Pacific Disaster Reduction Programme  
SPREP 
South Pacific Regional Environment Programme 
SPTO   
South Pacific Tourism Organisation 
UNDP  
United Nations Development Programme 
UNDRO 
Office of the United Nations Disaster Relief Coordinator  
UNECLAC  United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean 
UNEP  
United Nations Environment Programme 
UNESCAP  United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific 
UNESCO 
United Nations Education, Science and Cultural Organisation 
UN-HABITAT United Nations Human Settlements Programme 
UNHCR 
United Nations High Commission for Refugees 
UNSD  
United Nations Statistics Division 
USAID/OFDA Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance 
USP   
University of the South Pacific 
WB  
World 
Bank 
WFP   
World Food Program 
WHO    
World Health Organisation 
WTO    
World Tourism Organisation 
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Glossary 
 
Balance of payments 
A record of all economic transactions between one country and the rest of the 
world, including exports and imports of goods and services, and financial 
transactions, such as loans.  
 
CHARM 
A comprehensive hazard and risk management tool and/or process within the 
context of an integrated national development planning network. 
 
Cost-benefit ratio
 
Ratio of the present value of project benefits to the present value of project 
costs.  A project is only a good investment if the cost-benefit ratio is greater 
than one. 
 
Depreciation 
A decrease in the value of a physical asset due to age, wear and tear. 
 
Direct impacts 
Effects on assets caused by a natural disaster that occur during or 
immediately after a natural hazard event.  
 
Disaster risk management 
The development and application of policies, strategies and practices to 
lessen the impacts of natural hazards through measures to avoid or limit their 
adverse effects (includes mitigation and preparedness activities). 
 
Discount rate   
The rate required to compensate for receipt of money in the future rather than 
in the present. 
 
Externality  
Spill-over
 effects arising from the production and/or consumption of goods and 
services for which no appropriate compensation is paid.  
 
Geographic information system  
A computer system capable of capturing, storing, analysing, and displaying 
geographically referenced information. 
 
Gross domestic product 
The total value of goods and services produced by a nation within that nation. 
 
Gross investment 
The amount of new physical assets purchased during a given time period, 
including purchases to replace depreciated assets. 
 
Indirect impacts 
Flows of effects that occur over time after a hazard event and are caused by 
the direct impacts of a disaster.   
 
Inflation       The rate of increase of the general level of prices. 
 
Intangible impacts 
Disaster impacts that are difficult to assign a monetary value because there is 
no market for the good or service affected. 
 
Macroeconomic impacts 
Changes to the performance of macroeconomic variables caused by a natural 
disaster.   
 
Mitigation  
Action taken specifically to reduce future damages and losses from natural 
disasters. 
 
Natural disaster 
A severe disruption to a community’s survival and livelihood systems, 
resulting from people’s vulnerability to hazard impacts.  A disaster involves 
loss of life and property on a scale that overwhelms the community’s capacity 
to cope. 
 
Natural hazard  
Geophysical, atmospheric or hydrological event that has the potential to cause 
harm or loss.  
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Net present benefit   
 
Present value of total project benefits 
 
Net present cost   
 
Present value of total project costs 
 
Net present value 
The sum of the present values of all benefits associated with a project, less 
the sum of the present values of all project costs.  A project is only a good 
investment if the net present value is greater than zero. 
 
Payback period 
The length of time it takes for the sum of the project benefits to cover the sum 
of the project costs. 
 
Present value 
The value today of a benefit or cost that happens in the future, measured 
using the discount rate. 
 
Preparedness
 
Activities and measures taken in advance to ensure effective response to the 
impacts of hazards, including the issuance of timely and effective early 
warnings, precautionary actions and arrangements of appropriate responses.   
 
Real value 
Measurement of economic value corrected for changes in price over time 
(inflation), thus expressing a value in terms of constant prices. 
 
Reconstruction  
Long-term activities required for rebuilding physical infrastructure and services 
after a disaster. 
 
Risk  
The likelihood of a specific hazard of specific magnitude occurring in a specific 
location and its probable consequences for people and property.  
 
Vulnerability 
The potential to suffer harm or loss, related to the capacity to cope with a 
hazard and recover from its impact.  
 
 
 
 
 
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Cyclone Ami you came so sudden 
Ripping open my heart 
Tearing my dreams, aspirations, 
Hopes and ambitions apart 
 
As if your devastation was not enough 
You sent us the dessert the next day 
Lost crops, lost loved ones, lost homes 
And indeed lost job and pay. 
 
No one else can imagine 
The hardship and our pain 
To educate our children 
Now seems all in vain 
 
I await answers and angels 
As I sit and gaze the sky 
You made my life such a struggle  
In despair I question why.  
 
Savita Devi Lal, Fiji 
‘Cyclone Ami: 13-14 January 2003’
 
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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 
This report describes the findings of a research project examining ‘The Economic Impact of Natural Disasters on 
Development in the Pacific’, which was undertaken between October 2004 and April 2005.  The research was 
commissioned and funded by the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID).  It was jointly 
conducted by the South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC) and the University of the South Pacific 
(USP).   
 
Phase One: Framework Development 
The first phase of the project involved development of a framework to assist decision-making on the efficient and 
effective allocation of resources for Disaster Risk Management (DRM).  The specific objectives of the first phase 
of the project were to 1) develop a framework for assessing the impact of future natural disasters in Pacific Island 
Countries, and 2) construct a model for assessing the relative effectiveness and cost-benefit ratio of various DRM 
measures.  The research team conducted an extensive literature search of economic tools being used elsewhere 
around the world to assist DRM allocation decisions, and visited Fiji, Niue, Tuvalu and Vanuatu to determine what 
tools would be appropriate and useful for decision makers in Pacific Island Countries.   
 
Two tools were developed.  First, a set of guidelines was compiled for estimating the economic impact of natural 
disasters on development in the Pacific (see Tool 1).  As most disaster impact assessments in the Pacific focus 
on direct damage to physical assets, the guidelines outline the wide range of other important indirect, intangible 
and macroeconomic effects of natural disasters.  Guidance is provided on techniques for valuation of disaster 
impacts, and checklists are supplied of useful data and sources.  Second, a toolkit was developed for assessing 
the costs and benefits of DRM measures in the Pacific (see Tool 2).  The toolkit outlines the procedure for each 
step of standard cost-benefit analysis, including how to: identify alternative DRM measures; estimate the costs 
and benefits of DRM measures; discount the estimated costs and benefits; evaluate and rank DRM alternatives; 
conduct sensitivity analysis, and make policy recommendations on the basis of the analysis.  Both the guidelines 
and the toolkit include worked examples from the Pacific region, in particular Fiji, Niue, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.  
 
Phase Two: Analysis 
In the second phase of the project, using the methodology developed in the guidelines and toolkit, the research 
team used data available in Fiji, Niue, Tuvalu and Vanuatu to assess the economic impact of a selection of 
natural hazards on particular sectors, and the impact and cost-effectiveness of a range of DRM measures.  The 
specific objectives of the second phase of the research were to 1) assess the economic impact of natural 
disasters in the Pacific over the last 20 years, and 2) examine claims that greater emphasis on DRM can reduce 
the costs of disaster response and recovery.  Research was conducted in the case study countries during visits to 
Fiji, Niue, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.  The project team has faced difficulties in conducting comprehensive analysis due 
to the lack of relevant and easily available statistics in standard data collections.  The four selected case studies 
examine the impact of: 
 
• 
• 
• 
• 
                                                
Cyclone Ami and related flooding on the agriculture and education sectors in Fiji; 
Cyclone Heta on the tourism and education sectors in Niue; 
Drought on the fisheries and health sectors in Tuvalu; and 
Cyclones and earthquakes on the agriculture and tourism sectors in Vanuatu. 
 
Results 
The experiences of the selected sectors in Fiji, Niue, Tuvalu and Vanuatu demonstrate that past natural hazards 
have resulted in significant short-term and long-term direct
1
, indirect
2
 and intangible
3
 impacts.  Examples of direct 
impacts include damage to buildings, infrastructure, crops and equipment.  Examples of indirect impacts include 
losses of income and production, increased operating costs, costs of debris clearing, costs of repair of buildings 
 
1
 Direct impacts are effects on assets caused by a natural disaster that occur during or immediately after a natural hazard 
event. 
2
 Indirect impacts are flows of effects that occur over time after a hazard event and are caused by the direct impacts of a 
disaster.   
3
 Intangible impacts are the effects of a disaster that are difficult to assign a monetary value, usually because there is no 
market for the good or service affected. 
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used as temporary shelters, and the costs of treating the population affected by resulting health problems.  
Examples of intangible impacts (both direct and indirect) include environmental damage, emotional and 
psychological trauma, lost learning opportunities, and positive impacts on community spirit.  On the basis of the 
findings from the case studies, natural hazards have a considerable economic impact on development in the 
Pacific and often lead to deterioration in the quality of life of Pacific Island communities, justifying the term ‘natural 
disasters’.   
 
Due to the lack of easily available data, a complete cost-benefit analysis of a DRM measure could not be 
conducted for any of the case study countries.  The limited analysis that was undertaken suggests that greater 
emphasis on hazard and risk management can reduce the negative impacts of disasters, and thereby reduce the 
costs of disaster response and recovery.  However, our visits to Fiji, Niue, Tuvalu and Vanuatu suggest that 
decisions to allocate resources to DRM are frequently not based on careful consideration of the resulting costs 
and benefits.  Funds are often not invested in DRM measures in order to cut costs in the short term, without a 
careful analysis of the present value of the stream of benefits in avoided disaster damages that will arise in the 
long term.  If and when resources are allocated for DRM measures, the most cost-effective options are frequently 
not chosen.   
 
Conclusions and Recommendations 
Despite the serious negative impacts of natural disasters in the Pacific, there is no systematic collection of 
comprehensive data on these effects.  Historical records of the impact of past natural disasters are scarce in Fiji, 
Niue, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.  After a large-scale natural disaster, Pacific Island Countries (PICs) typically respond 
by assessing immediate short-term impacts, focusing on deaths and injuries, and direct damage to assets and 
infrastructure.  These immediate damage assessments are conducted to provide governments and aid donors 
with estimates of the amount of funds required to address immediate needs.  Long-term indirect losses in the 
flows of goods and services, macroeconomic effects
4
and non-market impacts such as environmental damage 
and psychosocial effects are frequently omitted from disaster impact assessments in the Pacific.   
 
The lack of data on disaster impacts is partly caused by: weak and under-resourced National Disaster 
Management Offices (NDMOs); little coordination between national planning offices, statistics offices and 
NDMOs; and, limited integration of Comprehensive Hazard and Risk Management (CHARM)
5
 into national 
development planning.  These problems lead to uncoordinated, inconsistent and unmethodical data collection.  
Assessments are done through different departments and record keeping is seldom centralised.  The 
establishment of NDMOs and integration of the CHARM process are relatively recent developments, and there is 
still significant room for development and improvement.   
 
There is awareness among disaster managers in the region of the need for more accurate, comprehensive, 
systematic and consistent information on disaster impacts, in order to increase support for DRM among policy 
makers, senior government officials and international donors.  This would also help governments to develop 
appropriate national and sectoral policies, particularly for reconstruction, mitigation and preparedness.   
 
One of the factors holding back the Pacific region has been the lack of standard tools available to assist Pacific 
Island Country decision makers.  However, if the tools developed in this research project are to be utilised by 
decision makers in the future, they must be supported by: capacity building for disaster management institutions 
(particularly NDMOs); training in economic analysis; continued integration of the CHARM process; and, 
strengthened links between NDMOs, Ministries for Finance and Economic Planning, and Statistics Offices.
 
                                                 
4
 Macroeconomic impacts reflect the manner in which the direct and indirect damage caused by natural disasters lead to 
changes in macroeconomic variables, such as gross domestic product (GDP), the balance of payments and public finances.  
5
 In Fiji and Vanuatu, disaster risk management is being mainstreamed into national development planning processes 
through the Comprehensive Hazard and Risk Management (CHARM) process.
  
 
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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS 
This research was commissioned and funded by the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID).  
It was jointly conducted by the South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC) and the University of the 
South Pacific (USP), and managed by USP Solutions.  
 
Thank you to the many people who assisted the research in Fiji, Niue, Tuvalu and Vanuatu, which included 
individuals from government departments, chambers of commerce, private companies, and non-governmental, 
international and regional organisations, who provided valuable information and assistance.  Particular thanks to 
the National Disaster Management Officers and other government officials who supported and coordinated the 
research in the countries: fakaue lahi to Deve Talagi in Niue, tankiu tumas to Job Esau in Vanuatu, fakafatai to 
Sumeo Silu in Tuvalu, and vinaka vaka levu to Tui Fagalele in Fiji.  Thanks also to Alan Mearns and Russell 
Howorth at SOPAC for their guidance and advice. 
 
OUTLINE 
Sections 1 and 2 of this report briefly outline the tools developed in phase one of the project.  Section 1.1 
describes the current practice in Fiji, Niue, Tuvalu and Vanuatu for estimating the impacts of natural disasters.  
Section 1.2 outlines the tool that was developed to help decision makers to assess the economic impact of 
natural hazards on development.  This tool is structured as a set of Guidelines for Assessing the Economic 
Impact of Natural Disasters on Development in the Pacific
.  The full version of these guidelines is provided in Tool 
1.  Section 2.1 discusses the current practice in Fiji, Niue, Tuvalu and Vanuatu for assessing the impact and cost-
effectiveness of Disaster Risk Management (DRM) measures.  Section 2.2 provides an overview of the tool that 
was developed to assist decision makers in the form of a Toolkit for Assessing the Costs and Benefits of Disaster 
Risk Management Measures in the Pacific
.  The full version of this toolkit is provided in Tool 2.   
 
Sections 3, 4, 5 and 6 provide details on the analysis conducted in phase two of the research project for Fiji, Niue, 
Tuvalu and Vanuatu, respectively.  Section 3.1 gives an overview of recent developments in the Fiji economy.  
Section 3.2 discusses previous assessments of the economic impact of Cyclone Ami and related flooding on the 
development of Fiji.  Section 3.3 uses the methodology developed in the guidelines to assess the impact of 
Cyclone Ami and related flooding on the agriculture sector, while Section 3.4 assesses the impact on the 
education sector.  Section 3.5 assesses the impact and cost-effectiveness of a community flooding mitigation 
project in Nabouciwa village in Tailevu, Fiji.   
 
Section 4.1 outlines some aspects of the Niue economy.  Section 4.2 describes the findings of previous 
assessments of the economic impact of Cyclone Heta in 2004 on the development of Niue.  Section 4.3 uses the 
methodology developed in the guidelines to assess the impact of Cyclone Heta on the tourism sector, while 
Section 4.4 assesses the impact on the education sector.  Section 4.5 examines the costs and benefits of 
relocating the Niue hospital to a safer location away from the vulnerable coastal zone in Alofi South, Niue.   
 
Section 5.1 describes the Tuvalu economy.  Section 5.2 discusses previous assessments of the economic impact 
of drought on the development of Tuvalu.  Section 5.3 uses the methodology developed in the guidelines to 
assess the impact of droughts on the fisheries sector, while Section 5.4 focuses on the impact on the health 
sector.  Section 5.5 assesses the costs and benefits of the Funafuti desalination plant for ensuring a safe and 
reliable water supply during droughts.   
 
Section 6.1 gives an overview of the Vanuatu economy.  Section 6.2 reviews previous assessments of the 
economic impact of cyclones and earthquakes on development in Vanuatu, looking in particular at the impact of 
Cyclone Uma in 1987, Cyclone Ivy in 2004 and the earthquake in 2002.  Section 6.3 uses the methodology 
developed in the guidelines to assess the impact of Cyclone Ivy on the agriculture sector, while Section 6.4 
assesses the impact on the tourism sector.  Section 6.5 briefly outlines some of the DRM measures noted in 
Vanuatu.   
 
Section 7 summarises the research team’s recommendations.  This is followed by the final conclusions in Section 
8.   
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                     Research Report:  Economic Impact of Natural Disasters on Development in the Pacific
 
 
 
INTRODUCTION 
Pacific Island Countries (PICs) are vulnerable to a range of natural hazards, such as cyclones, volcanic eruptions, 
earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, landslides and droughts.  The small, highly dispersed land areas and populations, 
and changing nature of life in the Pacific, intensify this vulnerability.  Official statistics suggest that natural hazards 
have a considerable economic impact on development in the Pacific, justifying the term ‘natural disasters’.  
Official estimates of disaster impacts, however, do not give the whole story of how disasters affect people in the 
Pacific.  The real total impact of natural disasters, including long-term impacts on the living conditions, livelihoods, 
economic performance and environmental assets of Pacific Island Countries, is likely to be much larger.  In 
addition, due to the small populations, economies and land areas of many Pacific Island Countries, disaster-
related damages that are small relative to the damages elsewhere in the world can have a large impact relative to 
the country’s total GDP and population. 
 
As there has been relatively little research on broader disaster impacts in the Pacific, the true costs continue to be 
underestimated, creating problems in alerting policy makers and international donors to the serious economic 
consequences of natural hazards and the imperative for integrating comprehensive Disaster Risk Management 
(DRM) into national development planning.  Despite the serious negative impacts of natural disasters in the 
Pacific, there is no systematic collection of comprehensive data on these effects.  The understanding and 
documentation of these effects are vital to the development of long-term policies for reconstruction, mitigation and 
preparedness.  The lack of data also limits the scope for conducting cost-benefit analyses of DRM measures.   
 
The purpose of this report is to describe the findings of a research project examining ‘The Economic Impact of 
Natural Disasters on Development in the Pacific’, which was undertaken between October 2004 and April 2005 by 
a team from the South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC) and the University of the South Pacific 
(USP).  The work was instigated and funded by the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), in 
order to achieve a greater focus on economic strategic planning and efforts to mitigate the economic impacts of 
natural disasters in Pacific Island Countries.  The specific objectives of the project are to: 
 
1.  Assess the economic impact of natural disasters in the Pacific over the last 20 years; 
2.  Develop a framework for assessing the impact of future disasters in Pacific Island Countries; 
3.  Examine claims that greater emphasis on DRM can reduce the costs of disaster response and recovery; and 
4.  Construct a model for assessing the relative effectiveness and cost-benefit ratio of various DRM measures. 
 
As discussed during meetings with representatives of AusAID in Suva and Canberra, the lack of readily available 
data in the existing standard data collections of NDMOs and other government departments placed constraints on 
the extent of analysis of the economic impacts of natural disasters, and the costs and benefits of DRM measures 
that could be conducted within the time and resources available for this research project.  It is hoped that the 
development of the guidelines and toolkit is an important first step in improving the collection of the appropriate 
data needed to undertake meaningful economic analysis.   
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                     Research Report:  Economic Impact of Natural Disasters on Development in the Pacific
 
 
 
FRAMEWORK DEVELOPMENT 
The first phase of this research project involved development of a framework to assist decision-making on the 
efficient and effective allocation of resources for Disaster Risk Management (DRM).  The specific objectives of the 
first phase of the project were to 1) develop a framework for assessing the impact of future natural disasters in 
Pacific Island Countries; and 2) construct a model for assessing the relative effectiveness and cost-benefit ratio of 
various DRM measures.  The research team conducted an extensive literature search of economic tools being 
used elsewhere around the world to assist DRM allocation decisions, and visited Fiji, Niue, Tuvalu and Vanuatu to 
determine what tools would be appropriate and useful for decision makers in Pacific Island Countries.  Through 
the desk and field research, two tools were developed: a set of guidelines for estimating the economic impact of 
natural disasters on development in the Pacific (see Tool 1); and, a toolkit for assessing the costs and benefits of 
DRM measures in the Pacific (see Tool 2).   
 
The major challenge of this research project was to create tools for economic impact assessment and cost-benefit 
analysis that are appropriate for use by decision makers in Pacific Island Countries.  Fiji, Niue, Tuvalu and 
Vanuatu do not currently conduct systematic, comprehensive economic impact assessments or cost-benefit 
analyses of DRM measures.  The guidelines and toolkit therefore include lists of data requirements so that, in the 
short term, Pacific Island Countries can begin to gather the data required and upgrade their practices.  In the 
longer term, countries can make full use of the guidelines and toolkit.
  
 
The research team suggests that if the tools developed in this research project are to be adopted and used locally 
by decision makers in the future, they must be supported by capacity building for disaster management 
institutions (particularly NDMOs), training in economic analysis, continued integration of the CHARM process, and 
strengthened links between NDMOs, Ministries for Finance and Economic Planning and Statistics Offices.   
 
1.  Guidelines for Estimating the Economic Impact of Natural Disasters  
 
1.1.  Current Practice  
Assessments of the impacts of natural disasters in Fiji, Niue, Tuvalu and Vanuatu are often limited in scope even 
for major natural disasters such as cyclones, volcanic eruptions and earthquakes.  For small-scale disasters, 
assessments are rarely conducted.  Most of the disaster impact assessments have focused on the direct and 
visible impacts of large- and medium-scale natural disasters, in order to provide governments with an estimate of 
the cost of relief efforts to address immediate needs.  Assessments of disaster impacts typically only focus on 
quantifying immediate direct damages, such as deaths and injuries, and damage to buildings, subsistence and 
commercial crops, and economic and social infrastructure.  The indirect effects of natural disasters are generally 
not assessed in Pacific Island Countries.  Occasional reassessments are made of major natural disasters to 
estimate longer-term impacts, but this is rare.  If they are included, it is uncommon for long-term indirect impacts 
to be measured in monetary terms.  Macroeconomic effects on gross domestic product, the balance of payments, 
public finances and other macroeconomic indictors are largely ignored.  Secondary effects on income distribution 
and poverty are seldom mentioned.  Evaluations of intangible effects such as environmental, social and 
psychological impacts of natural disasters are also uncommon in the Pacific.  The understanding and 
documentation of these indirect, macroeconomic and intangible effects are vital to the development of long-term 
policies. 
 
Comprehensive historical records of damage from past natural disasters are not available in any of the countries 
visited.  The assessments are done through different departments and record keeping has not been centralised. 
The establishment of National Disaster Management Offices (NDMOs) is only a recent development, starting from 
the 1990s onwards.  Most NDMOs are poorly resourced in terms of both physical facilities and human resources. 
There seems to be little coordination between the national planning offices and NDMOs.  The strengthening of 
NDMOs and their links to national planning and statistical offices would improve the ability of countries to adopt 
appropriate tools to collect data for assessing natural disaster impacts.  This could facilitate the adoption of 
appropriate economic development policies, which will factor the impact of natural disasters into national planning 
and the development of appropriate DRM measures. 
 
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1.2.  Outline of Guidelines 
As our country visits showed that most assessments of the impacts of natural disasters focus on direct damage to 
physical assets, a priority for the guidelines was to outline the wide range of indirect, intangible and 
macroeconomic effects of natural disasters, both in the short and long term, that should be included in a disaster 
impact assessment.  The guidelines are based on a simplified and adapted version of the Handbook for 
Estimating the Socio-economic and Environmental Effects of Disasters, which was developed by the Economic 
Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (UNECLAC)
6
.  Examples from the Pacific region, in particular 
from Fiji, Niue, Tuvalu and Vanuatu, are provided throughout the guidelines.  Given the current basic standard of 
disaster impact assessments, it was considered appropriate not to go into too much detail on some of the more 
complicated aspects, such as valuation of intangible disaster impacts.  A list of references is provided for those 
readers who wish to follow up on the more complex techniques. 
 
In summary, the guidelines describe different types of common disaster impacts, including deaths and injuries, 
direct damage to physical assets, indirect losses, macroeconomic effects and intangible impacts.  Guidance is 
provided on techniques for valuation of disaster impacts, including a brief explanation of methods for valuing 
intangible impacts, which are particularly difficult to value in monetary terms.  A sectoral approach is taken, 
breaking up a disaster impact assessment into social, infrastructure and economic sectors.  Checklists are 
provided on the type of data that may be useful for the assessment of each sector, including baseline information 
and data on disaster impacts, as well as lists of recommended sources.  A similar overview is given of the 
procedure for estimating cross-sectoral disaster impacts, such as environmental, distributional, psychosocial and 
governance effects.  Finally, the guidelines explain how to bring together sectoral and cross-sectoral 
assessments into an overall impact assessment, and use the information to plan reconstruction and mitigation 
activities.
   
 
 
2. 
                                                
A Toolkit for Assessing the Costs and Benefits of DRM Measures 
 
2.1.  Current Practice  
Economic tools, such as cost-benefit analysis, are rarely used to assist resource allocation decisions for DRM in 
Fiji, Niue, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.  Use of cost-benefit analysis is constrained by the difficulty in obtaining adequate 
data on the impact of natural disasters, the lack of economic assessment skills, and the paucity of physical and 
human resources needed to conduct in-depth economic analyses.  These constraints prevent realistic 
assessments of the social and economic effects of disasters on development in Pacific Island Countries, thus 
making it difficult to conduct meaningful cost-benefit analyses of DRM measures.  As a result, decisions to 
allocate resources to DRM are frequently not based on careful consideration of the resulting costs and benefits.  
Funds are often not invested in DRM measures in order to cut costs in the short term, without a careful analysis of 
the present value of the stream of benefits in avoided disaster damages that will arise in the long term.  If and 
when resources are allocated for DRM measures, the most cost-effective options are frequently not chosen.   
 
2.2.  Outline of Toolkit  
As expected, attempts to produce detailed cost-benefit analyses of DRM measures in the Pacific have been 
constrained by the limited data available.  In light of this, the toolkit outlines the data required to conduct a cost-
benefit analysis.  This should increase awareness in Pacific Island Countries about the information that needs to 
be gathered in order to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of DRM measures. 
 
In summary, the toolkit explains standard cost-benefit analysis methodology that can be used to assess the costs 
and benefits of DRM measures consistently across the Pacific region.  A procedure for each step of cost-benefit 
analysis is outlined, including how to: identify alternative DRM measures; estimate the costs of DRM measures; 
estimate the benefits of DRM measures; discount the estimated costs and benefits; evaluate and rank DRM 
alternatives; conduct sensitivity analysis, and make policy recommendations on the basis of cost-benefit analysis.   
At the end of the toolkit a list of references is provided for additional information on more complicated aspects of 
cost-benefit analysis and alternative methods such as cost-effectiveness analysis.  
 
 
6
 Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC). 2003.  Handbook for estimating the socio-economic 
and environmental effects of disasters, Vols.  I – IV. 
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ANALYSIS 
In the second phase of the project, using the frameworks developed in phase one, the research team used data 
available in Fiji, Niue, Tuvalu and Vanuatu to assess the economic impact of a selection of natural hazards in 
particular sectors, and the impact and cost-effectiveness of a range of DRM measures.  The specific objectives of 
the second phase of the research were to 1) assess the economic impact of natural disasters in the Pacific over 
the last 20 years; and 2) examine claims that greater emphasis on DRM can reduce the costs of disaster 
response and recovery.  Research was conducted in the case study countries during visits to Port Vila, Vanuatu 
in November 2004, Tuvalu in December 2004, Niue in February 2005, Nabouciwa village, Fiji in February 2005, 
and Labasa, Fiji in March 2005.  The four selected case studies examine the impact of: 
 
Cyclone Ami and related flooding on the agriculture and education sectors in Fiji; 
• 
• 
• 
• 
3. 
Cyclone Heta on the tourism and education sectors in Niue; 
Drought on the fisheries and health sectors in Tuvalu; and 
Cyclones and earthquakes on the agriculture and tourism sectors in Vanuatu. 
 
As discussed during meetings with representatives of AusAID in Suva and Canberra, the project team faced 
difficulties in conducting comprehensive analysis due to the lack of relevant and easily available statistics in 
standard data collections.  The analysis that was possible given the limited data available is outlined in Sections 
3, 4, 5 and 6 for Fiji, Niue, Tuvalu and Vanuatu, respectively.  An inventory of documentary materials relating to 
disaster impacts in Fiji, Niue, Tuvalu and Vanuatu is listed in Appendix 2.  A list of major natural disasters in the 
Pacific region and a brief summary of reported impacts over the last ten years are provided in Appendix 3.  A list 
of cyclones and storms in the South West Pacific region over the last twenty years is provided in Appendix 4.  
 
Fiji Islands  
Research in Fiji involved meetings with stakeholders in Suva and Nadi on the island of Viti Levu, and in Labasa 
on the island of Vanua Levu to investigate the impacts of cyclones and related flooding events.  The analysis 
focused in particular on the impacts of Cyclone Ami and severe flooding in 2003 on the agriculture and education 
sectors.  A trip was also made to view a community flood mitigation project in Nabouciwa village in Nakelo, 
Tailevu, and to discuss how the project has reduced the negative impacts of flooding.  Further details of these 
meetings are given in Appendix 1. 
 
3.1.  The Fiji Economy 
Fiji is a small open economy, dependent on a few exports such as sugar, garments, gold, fish and light 
manufactures.  It is also highly dependent on the tourism industry.  In fact, the tourism industry provided the 
impetus for economic recovery after the coup of May 2000.  As a result of active campaigning by the Fiji Visitors’ 
Bureau, a quick recovery in tourist numbers was achieved after the 2000 coup in Fiji.  Fiji’s hopes for economic 
growth and development have centred on three sectors, namely sugar, garments and tourism.  However, in 
recent years, with problems escalating in the sugar and garment sectors, tourism has been hailed as the 
cornerstone of growth and development.  
 
Over the past 31 years Fiji’s GDP growth rate has been low, averaging only 2.6 percent between 1970-2001 
(Kumar and Prasad, 2002b).  In the first five years of independence (1970-1975) the average GDP growth rate 
was 9.7 percent.  Thereafter the growth rate has been below 2 percent.  Slow economic growth has been one of 
the key reasons for the lack of jobs for the additional 13,000-15,000 people entering the labour market each year 
(Government of Fiji, 2002). 
 
3.2.  Literature Review – Economic Impact of Cyclone Ami and Related Flooding 
Floods are regular occurrences in Fiji, happening almost annually.  Most major floods are associated with 
episodes of severe weather phenomena, such as tropical depressions and cyclones that are characterised by 
high intensity rainfall.  Many of the rivers and streams in Fiji are relatively small in size (<1000 km
2
) and flow from 
steep mountainous terrain.  High intensity rainfall together with the small size and steep nature of streams and 
rivers lead to swift rises and falls of water levels.  The time period between heavy rainfall and flooding events can 
be as short as three hours.  Flash floods are common, especially during the wet season from November to April.  
A list of floods in the Fiji Islands between 1990 and 2004 is provided in Appendix 5.  A list of cyclones and storms 
in the Fiji Islands between 1972 and 2004 is provided in Appendix 6.  
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Data on floods and their impacts are scarce in Fiji.  Estimates of the impacts of flooding are generally based on 
immediate direct damage to physical infrastructure.  Progress has been made in assessing the impacts of natural 
disasters, but there is still room for further improvement in the scope and depth of disaster assessments in Fiji to 
include indirect and long-term impacts.  Coordination between the NDMO and other relevant government 
departments that assess disaster impacts is still ad-hoc.  There is, however, increasing realisation that better 
coordination and a centralised system of data collection on the impact of disasters is important.   
 
The government assessment of Cyclone Ami was one of the most comprehensive assessments yet undertaken in 
Fiji.  It appears from records that this was the first time that a wide-ranging national damage assessment report 
was coordinated and produced by the Fiji NDMO.  The main aim of the assessment was to provide information for 
immediate relief purposes and provide a basis for rehabilitation and reconstruction programmes to restore basic 
infrastructure.  The assessment of the impacts of Cyclone Ami and related flooding included an analysis of 
damage to the following sectors: housing, education, health, agriculture, business, tourism, sugar, infrastructure, 
telecommunications, and power supply.  Different teams undertook the assessment of damages to each sector 
and the NDMO coordinated and compiled the final report.  For all sectors the assessment tended to focus on 
direct impacts.  Almost no estimation of long-term indirect impacts was undertaken.   
 
According to the official government assessment, Cyclone Ami was a particularly destructive cyclone, which 
caused massive flooding, resulting in significant direct damage and fourteen deaths.  The Fiji government’s 
assessment of the impact of Cyclone Ami estimates that the total cost of damage amounts to FJ$104.4 million.  
70 percent of this damage was to the public sector (FJ$73.8 million).  The dollar values of damage are based on 
estimated replacement costs.  The official damage assessment omits many of the impacts of Cyclone Ami and 
related flooding.  The total costs of the disaster may therefore be significantly greater than the official damage 
estimate.  The breakdown of the damage to each sector is shown in Table 1.  
 
Table 1: Fiji NDMO’s Assessment of Sectoral Impacts of Cyclone Ami and Related Flooding  
Sectors 
Sub-Sectors 
Costs (FJ$) 
Total Cost (FJS) 
Social 
Housing 
Health 
Agriculture 
Education 
$22,089,200 
$857,000 
$1,020,671 
$4,770,635 
 
 
 
$28,737,506 
Economic 
Taveuni Chamber of Commerce 
Labasa Chamber of Commerce 
Tourism 
Sugar Industry 
Agricultural Commercial Crops 
$113,500 
$12,110,000 
$144,000 
$13,600,000 
$39,309,948 
 
 
 
 
$65,277,448 
Infrastructure 
Roads and Bridges 
Regional Water Supply 
Rural Water Supply 
Sewerage 
Public Buildings 
$2,725,000 
$1,179,500 
$927,758 
$522,223 
$437,954 
 
 
 
$5,792,435 
Utilities 
Telecommunications 
Power Supply (FEA) 
$1,185,400 
$3,395,000 
 
$4,580,400 
TOTAL 
 
 
$104,387,789 
Source: Fiji National Disaster Management Office, 2003 
 
Computable General Equilibrium (CGE) models are now the best available tools for understanding the economy-
wide impacts of natural disasters.  The general equilibrium nature of the model ensures that all sectors are 
incorporated.  This gives a more robust picture of disaster impacts than traditional input-output models.  The Fiji 
CGE model was used to study the economy-wide impact of Cyclone Ami and produced estimates of the decline in 
different sectors of the Fijian economy (Narayan, 2003c).  All the key variables were negatively affected (see 
Appendix 7).  Both exports and imports declined, with exports declining more than imports reflecting a worsening 
balance of payments situation.  Other key variables such as private consumption, income, investment and 
savings fell, leading to a reduction in real GDP.  These macroeconomic impacts are likely to have led to declining 
levels of welfare for the people of Fiji.  
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According to Benson (1997), GDP data for the last 25 years suggest that economic growth rates in Fiji were 
affected in years where natural disasters occurred.  Benson used an auto-regressive linear model using ordinary 
least squares multiple regression analysis for the period 1982-93 to determine the impact of natural disasters on 
economic growth.  The results suggest that actual growth rates were lowered by natural disasters.  
 
On the basis of this analysis it appears that natural disasters generally, and floods in particular, are major 
exogenous shocks to the Fiji economy and this has affected GDP growth rates.  It may also be the case that 
natural disasters are more damaging when there are simultaneously other negative factors contributing to poor 
economic growth.  In Fiji’s case since 2000, the combination of seven natural disasters, six of which were cases 
of flooding, and political instability since 2000 appear to have had negative impacts on Fiji’s economic growth.   
 
3.3.  Impact on Agriculture Sector 
This section estimates the economic impact of Cyclone Ami and related flooding in 2003 on the agriculture sector 
in Fiji using the guidelines developed in phase one of this research project (see Tool 1).  As recommended in the 
guidelines, the analysis is split into an assessment of the agriculture sector without the disaster, and a disaster 
impact assessment.   
 
Limited data was available.  Most of the baseline data used in this report was gathered from the Fiji Islands 
Bureau of Statistics and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).  Data on direct impacts was gathered from 
the NDMO impact assessment and qualitative information on indirect and intangible impacts was gathered from 
interviews with stakeholders in Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, Fiji. 
   
 
3.3.1. Agriculture  Sector  Without Cyclone Ami and Related Flooding 
In 2002, the year before Cyclone Ami, there were 132,000 workers in the Fiji agricultural labour force, which 
constituted 40 percent of the total labour force.  Agricultural GDP as a share of total GDP was 16.2 percent, a 
decline from 22 percent in 1990.  The expiry of land leases and the decline of the sugar industry are obvious 
explanations for the wane of the agricultural sector.  The agriculture trade balance, in terms of the value of 
agricultural exports less the value of agricultural imports, was US$44.5 million.  
 
In 2002, sugar, the major agricultural export of Fiji, counted for 64 percent of total agricultural exports.  In that 
year the FAO records that there were 21,246 growers of sugar cane.  Before Cyclone Ami, Fiji Sugar Corporation 
forecast that the annual crop for 2003 would produce 930,600 tonnes of cane.  After sugar, other important 
agricultural products in Fiji are coconuts, taro, cassava, rice and fruit.  Annual indices of production of sugarcane, 
kava, root crops, coconuts and pulses for 1996-2003 are shown in Figure 1.  All of these crops show a fall in 
production between 2002 and 2003, possibly caused by Cyclone Ami and severe flooding.  
 
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Figure 1: Annual Indices of Agricultural Crops in Fiji, 1996-2003 
0
50
100
150
200
250
300
350
400
450
1996
1997
1998
1999
2000
2001
2002
2003
Year
C
o
m
m
odi
ty i
ndex (base: 1995 =
 100)
Sugarcane
Kava
Root crops
Coconut
Pulses
 
Source: Fiji Islands Bureau of Statistics 
 
The situation in Fiji’s agriculture sector in 2002 and its forecast development is summarised in Table 2.  
 
Table 2: Summary Statistics – Fiji’s Agriculture Sector Without Cyclone Ami  
Information 
Data Needed  
Fiji’s Agriculture Sector 
Source 
Infrastructure 
Number of agricultural 
enterprises in affected area 
Data not available 
 
Production  
Type and quantity of 
production 
See Figure 1.  FSC forecast 2003 
crop of 930,600 tonnes of 
sugarcane. 
Fiji Islands Bureau of 
Statistics.  Fiji Sugar 
Corporation 
Importance 
Contribution of agriculture 
sector to GDP and 
employment 
40% of labour force involved in 
agriculture, Agricultural GDP as a 
share of total GDP 16% (2002) 
FAO 
Ownership 
Public / private 
Data not available 
 
Location 
Rural / urban 
Mostly rural areas 
Ministry of 
Agriculture 
Employment Number 
employed 
132,000 workers in agricultural 
labour force (2002) 
FAO 
Quality of 
infrastructure 
Quality of agriculture 
infrastructure 
Data not available 
 
Furniture and 
equipment 
Furniture and agriculture 
equipment 
Data not available 
 
Costs of 
replacement 
Costs of replacement of 
infrastructure and stock 
Data not available 
 
Cost of service 
supplied 
Costs of any agriculture 
services supply 
Data not available 
 
 
3.3.2. Impact of Cyclone Ami and Related Flooding on Agriculture Sector 
The official damage assessment conducted by the Fiji government only included estimates of direct damage to 
the agriculture sector.  Our analysis attempts to expand this estimate to include other important indirect and 
intangible impacts.  The assessment is summarised in Table 3.  It is still not a comprehensive assessment, due to 
the limited data and time available for the analysis.    
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Direct Impacts:  60-80 percent of subsistence crops were damaged at a cost of FJ$921,000.  The value of this 
damage is based on market prices from weekly agricultural price surveys.  Direct damage to commercial crops 
such as dalo, yaqona, and copra cost Fiji an estimated FJ$39.3 million.  Cyclone Ami and the accompanying 
flooding in Vanua Levu caused extensive damage to sugarcane farms.  The sugar industry suffered total direct 
damage estimated at FJ$13.6 million
7
.  150,000 tonnes of sugarcane were damaged at a cost of FJ$7.6 million.  
Direct damage to Fiji Sugar Corporation’s infrastructure and equipment was valued at FJ$6 million.   
 
Indirect Impacts: According to the Fiji Sugar Corporation, actual sugar production in Vanua Levu in 2003 was 30 
percent lower than the forecast crop, a reduction of 292,230 tonnes of sugar cane.  The price paid to growers in 
2003 was FJ$38.80/tonne (Fiji Islands Bureau of Statistics).  The value of lost production in 2003 is therefore 
approximately FJ$11.2 million.  There appears to have been no impact on sugar production for 2004.  The 
operating costs of the Fiji Sugar Corporation increased in 2004 due to the cost of employing 400 extra staff to 
help with the clear up and repair work.  Using a conservative estimate of the daily wage of $8.50 for 400 workers 
for 260 days of the year, the estimated extra personnel costs amount to FJ$884,000.  The sugar industry also 
suffered from increased transport costs due to the damage to the sugar-train rail system and damage to sugar 
cane transport roads, but no monetary estimates of these indirect costs could be obtained.  The Fiji Sugar 
Corporation estimates the cost of debris clearing (excluding extra personnel costs) in the sugar sector was 
approximately FJ$114,600. 
 
Intangible Impacts:  Staff at the Fiji Sugar Corporation noted a positive impact on the community spirit of the 
work force as they laboured together in the clear-up and reconstruction process.   
 
Table 3: Assessment of Impact of Cyclone Ami on Fiji’s Agricultural Sector 
Type of Impact 
Impact 
Estimated Value 
Source 
Direct Impacts 
Damage to subsistence crops 
FJ$921,000 
NDMO 
 
Damage to commercial crops 
FJ$39,300,000 
NDMO 
 
Damage to sugar cane 
FJ$7,600,000  
NDMO 
 
Damage to sugar sector infrastructure and 
equipment 
FJ$6,000,000 NDMO 
 
Damage to non-sugar agricultural 
infrastructure and equipment 
Data not available 
 
 
Damage to agricultural and farm land 
Data not available 
 
Indirect Impacts 
Loss of income from sugar production 
FJ$11,200,000 
FSC
8
 
 
Loss of income from non-sugar agricultural 
production 
Data not available 
 
 
Increased personnel costs in sugar industry 
FJ$884,000 
FSC 
 
Increased operating costs in agricultural sector 
(excluding personnel costs) 
Data not available 
 
 
Costs (excluding personnel costs) of debris 
removal in sugar sector 
FJ$114,600 FSC 
 
Costs of debris removal in non-sugar 
agricultural sector 
Data not available 
 
Intangible Impacts 
Positive impact on community spirit 
Not valued 
FSC 
Total Impact 
Includes only impacts for which data was 
available and monetary value could be 
estimated 
FJ$66,019,600 
 
 
3.4.  Impact on Education Sector 
This section estimates the economic impact of Cyclone Ami and related flooding in 2003 on the education sector 
in Fiji using the guidelines developed in phase one of this research project (see Tool 1).  As recommended in the 
                                                 
7
 The estimates of damage to the sugar sector differed widely depending on who was making the estimate (e.g. Fiji Sugar 
Corporation and Cane Growers Council).  The need to have a uniform assessment methodology to achieve comparable 
damage estimates was noted by stakeholders in the sugar industry. 
8
 Fiji Sugar Corporation (FSC) 
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guidelines, the analysis is split into an assessment of the education sector without the disaster, and a disaster 
impact assessment.   
 
Limited data was available.  Most of the baseline data used in this report was gathered from the Fiji Islands 
Bureau of Statistics, the Ministry of Education and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).  Data on direct 
impacts was gathered from the NDMO impact assessment.  Qualitative information on indirect and intangible 
impacts was gathered from interviews with stakeholders in Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, Fiji. 
   
 
3.4.1. Education Sector Without Cyclone Ami and Related Flooding 
In 2003, there were 719 primary school, 157 secondary schools, and two universities in Fiji.  In the same year, 
there were approximately 143,000 primary school students, 68,000 secondary school students and 22,800 tertiary 
students enrolled in Fiji’s educational institutions.  The education sector employed roughly 5,000 primary school 
teachers, and 4,000 secondary school teachers.  Fiji has an excellent primary school enrolment rate over the 
period 1996-2003 of 100 percent, and total adult literacy of 93 percent.  Summary statistics on the Fiji education 
sector are summarised in Table 4.  
 
Table 4: Summary Statistics – Fiji’s Education Sector Without Cyclone Ami  
Information 
Data Needed  
Fiji’s Education Sector 
Source 
Infrastructure 
Number of educational 
buildings in affected area 
719 primary schools, 157 secondary 
schools, 2 universities 
Ministry of 
Education 
Ownership 
Public / private 
Data not available 
 
Location 
Rural / urban 
Data not available 
 
Number of 
inhabitants 
Number of students 
142,781 primary students, 68,178 
secondary students, 22,780 tertiary 
students 
Ministry of 
Education 
Employment 
Number of teachers 
5,107 primary teachers, 3,935 
secondary teachers 
Ministry of 
Education 
Coverage 
Coverage provided by 
education institutions 
Net primary school enrolment of 100% 
(1996-2003) 
UNICEF 
Type of housing  Traditional / semi-modern / 
modern 
Data not available 
 
Quality of 
buildings 
Quality of education buildings 
Data not available 
 
Furniture and 
equipment 
Furniture and educational 
equipment 
Data not available 
 
Costs of 
replacement 
Costs of replacement of 
infrastructure and equipment 
Data not available 
 
Cost of service 
supplied 
School fees, government 
subsidies, average wages 
Data not available 
 
General 
indicators 
 
Net primary school enrolment of 100% 
(1996-2003), total adult literacy rate of 
93% 
UNICEF 
 
3.4.2. Impact of Cyclone Ami and Related Flooding on Education Sector 
The official damage assessment conducted by the Fiji government only included estimates of direct damage to 
primary and secondary schools in the education sector.  Our analysis attempts to expand this estimate to include 
other important indirect and intangible impacts.  The disaster impacts are summarised in Table 5.  It is still not a 
comprehensive assessment, due to the limited data and time available for the analysis.    
 
Direct Impacts: Cyclone Ami and the related flooding caused severe direct damage to school infrastructure, such 
as buildings, equipment and materials.  The cost of this damage is estimated at FJ$4.8 million, valued at 
replacement and repair costs.
   
 
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Indirect impacts:  Five educational buildings were used as temporary shelters after Cyclone Ami and the related 
severe flooding: St. Bedes College, Koa Island Primary, Buca Government School, Rabi Islands School, and 
Druadrua Primary School.  Data was not available on the costs of repairing the damage caused while the 
buildings were being used as evacuation centres.  Many schools also lost income because families could not 
afford to pay student fees for some time (Acting Division Education Officer Northern, personal communication).  
As a result of the disaster, the school term had to be delayed by 1-2 weeks.  Many students were taught in 
crowded classroom conditions as they were packed into the few educational buildings that were not damaged by 
the cyclone and floods.   
 
 
Intangible impacts:  The delays and poor school conditions are likely to have been a major factor causing the 
dramatic fall in exam results in the Northern Division of Fiji for the school term following Cyclone Ami.   
 
Table 5: Assessment of Impact of Cyclone Ami and Related Flooding on Fiji’s Education Sector 
Type of Impact 
Impact 
Estimated Value 
Source 
Direct Impacts 
Damage to buildings, equipment and 
materials 
FJ$4,800,000 NDMO 
 
Damage to education sector government 
offices 
Data not available 
 
Indirect Impacts 
Cost of repair of educational buildings used 
as temporary shelters 
Data not available 
NDMO 
 
Loss of income in student fees 
Data not available 
Ministry of 
Education 
 
Costs of demolition and debris removal 
Data not available 
 
 
Additional education service operating 
costs 
Data not available 
 
Intangible Impacts 
Lost learning opportunities 
Not valued 
Ministry of 
Education 
Total Impact 
Includes only impacts for which data was 
available and monetary value could be 
estimated 
FJ$4,800,000 
 
 
 
3.5.  Cost-effectiveness of Community Flooding Mitigation Project  
A community flooding mitigation project in Nabouciwa was visited to assess the impact and cost-effectiveness of 
the DRM measures involved in the project.  A full cost-benefit analysis was not possible due to the limited data 
and time available for the analysis.   
 
Nabouciwa is a village in Nakelo in Tailevu in the Fiji Islands, with a population of approximately 130 people, 
living in 27 housing units.  The main source of income is gained from fishing for mud crabs and other seafood.  
Before any mitigation activities took place, Nabouciwa regularly experienced floods.  In the rainy season, the 
village would sometimes flood every day, and would always flood at high tide.  The flood level would occasionally 
be deep enough to reach thigh height.   
 
The community of Nabouciwa was told to relocate by the Fiji government because of the severe flooding problem.  
The community was reluctant to relocate and so devised an alternative comprehensive flood mitigation and 
village-planning project.  The project began in the mid-1970s and is still evolving.  This integrated project has 
reduced the risk of flooding in the village through various risk reduction measures, including:  
 
1)  Dredging the river delta; 
2)  Using sludge from the dredging to raise the level of the village; 
3)  Raising houses on stilts using local materials; 
4)  Implementing a village drainage system; and 
5)  Mobilising the community.  
 
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A breakdown of the costs of these DRM measures could not be obtained within the data and time available for 
this research project
9
.  A list was compiled during community discussions of some of the benefits that the village 
gained from the mitigation project and the resultant reduction in flooding, as detailed in Table 6. 
 
Table 6: Impacts of Flooding on Nabouciwa With and Without DRM Measures 
Type of Impact 
Without DRM measure 
With DRM measure 
Physical  
Possessions damaged 
Possessions not damaged 
 
Cost of using boat for transportation in 
the village during floods 
Boat not needed within village 
Human 
Regular outbreaks of tuberculosis with 
approximately half the village typically 
affected. 
No tuberculosis outbreaks 
 
 
Regular occurrence of skin and 
intestinal diseases 
Lower incidence of skin and intestinal 
diseases 
Economic 
Less time available for crabbing and 
fishing  
More time available for crabbing and 
fishing  
Social  
People frequently leave village to 
move to urban areas 
More people choose to remain based 
in the village, and commute to urban 
areas if required 
 
Community not developing rapidly 
Community development has 
accelerated 
Environmental 
Crop damage from flooding and 
seawater salinity 
Subsistence crops can grow in village 
 
The research team was only able to identify the impacts of the Nabouciwa flooding project within the time 
available and given the limited data that was easily accessible.  There is, however, potential for a further study to 
follow up this interesting example of a DRM measure using the methodology in the toolkit developed for this 
research project.  A further study would need to obtain data on the costs of the DRM measure, estimate the 
monetary value of the impacts of the DRM measure identified in this analysis, discount the costs and benefits, 
estimate cost-benefit analysis indicators and conduct a sensitivity analysis.  Four other villages still experience 
flooding in the nearby area (Naivacau, Buretu, Mateinoco and Dakau).  A participatory community research study 
of the impacts of flooding in these villages could help to determine the impacts of flooding in the hypothetical 
situation ‘without’ the DRM measure.  
                                                 
9
 Different elements of the project were funded by the Canada Fund (initial drainage), the Fiji Ministry of Agriculture 
(dredging), and the Australian High Commission (raising level of land).   
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4. Niue 
Research in Niue involved meetings with stakeholders to investigate the impacts of cyclones, in particular the 
impact of Cyclone Heta in 2004.  Meetings with those involved in the building of the new hospital were held to 
discuss how the relocation of the hospital is likely to reduce the negative impacts of future cyclones.  Further 
details of these meetings are given in Appendix 1. 
 
4.1.  The Niue Economy 
Niue is a small single coral island country of 259 km
2
 situated in the South Pacific Ocean at longitude 19
° South 
and latitude 169
° West.  Niue is the largest raised coral island in the world and is known for its undisturbed 
environment and dramatic coastal scenery.  At the last population census count in 2001, Niue had a population of 
1,788 people, originally of Polynesian descent.  Since 1974 Niue has been self-governing in free association with 
New Zealand.  Under the constitutional arrangement, New Zealand is responsible for defence and external affairs 
as well as providing economic and administrative assistance.  The Niue Constitution allows the Niue population 
full residency in New Zealand.  Niue’s free association with New Zealand triggered substantial emigration and 
much of the decline in population.  In contrast to its small land area, Niue has a vast Exclusive Economic Zone of 
294,000 km
2
.   
 
Niue has no systematic national accounting system and does not routinely produce GDP figures.  An estimate for 
GDP was made for 2002 at NZ$14.2 million, with GDP per capita estimated to be NZ$7,470.  New Zealand 
provides about 50 percent of Niue’s GDP through budget support programmes.  The other major sources of 
revenue for Niue are from aid, remittances, telecommunications facilities, international business registrations and 
exports of taro, honey, fish, coconuts, handicrafts and vanilla.  In 2002, exports (mostly to New Zealand) 
amounted to only about NZ$200,000, while imports were valued at NZ$4 million.  In national development plans 
the Niue government has set goals to reduce dependency on aid, and promote tourism and exports of fish and 
vanilla.  The main constraints on economic development in Niue include isolation, poor communication systems, 
limited natural resources and a shortage of skilled labour due to outward migration to New Zealand.  
 
4.2.  Literature Review – Economic Impact of Cyclone Heta 
Niue has been affected by cyclones and droughts in the past but the impact of Cyclone Heta in January 2004 is 
considered to be the most destructive in Niue’s recent history.  Niue does not have any record of assessments of 
disasters prior to Cyclone Heta in 2004.  The last assessment that officials recalled being done was in 1990 after 
Cyclone Ofa.  Apparently these records were destroyed during Cyclone Heta.   
 
The attempt by various departments to assess the damage after Cyclone Heta was impressive.  Many of the 
techniques were innovative and significant effort was made to quantify the damage at the national and sectoral 
level.  The assessment of damages from Cyclone Heta was based on the impact on three broad areas: civil 
society, the private sector and the public sector (see Table 7).  The information gathering methodology adopted in 
the Heta assessment was a national survey format in which disaster-affected businesses and households were 
required to list the cost of direct damages suffered, supported by a validation assessment conducted by the 
Department of Economic Planning and the Department of Community Affairs.  The method of valuation was 
based on replacement costs using current market values in the construction industry.  No assessment of 
macroeconomic effects was made, but these would be difficult to calculate given the lack of base statistics on 
economic indicators in Niue.   
 
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Table 7: Niue Government’s Categorisation of the Damage Caused by Cyclone Heta by Sector  
Category 
Composition 
Civil Society 
•  Villages-housing and personal property 
Private Sector   •  All business enterprises 
•  All tourism facilities 
Public Sector 
•  Agriculture 
•  Biodiversity and environment 
•  Fisheries, including marine ecosystem and infrastructure  
•  Forestry, including mahogany and indigenous forestry 
•  National heritage, including museum, and marine and forestry conservation areas 
•  National infrastructure, including utilities, fuel farm, hospital, educational facilities 
•  Public services, including all government departments 
Source: Premier’s Department.  April 2004.  Cyclone Heta Recovery Plan.  
 
The total damage inflicted by Cyclone Heta was estimated at NZ$37.7 million.  The estimation of the impacts of 
Cyclone Heta was based on the immediate need to provide the New Zealand government and other aid donors 
with a recovery plan.  In some cases, however, there was also an attempt to include indirect costs in terms of loss 
of future income, and intangible impacts, such as environmental damage.  For example, the Department of 
Environment attempted to value the loss of biodiversity and certain species such as pigeons and flying foxes, 
without guidance on economic valuation techniques. 
 
Within the category of ‘civil society’ the major concentration was on damage to housing.  The assessment found 
that out of 1002 houses on the island (432 occupied
10
), about 90 percent were damaged during Cyclone Heta. 
Damage to housing and personal property is estimated to amount to NZ$4.1 million.  Niue authorities recognized 
the social and psychological costs of the cyclone and related damage, but these impacts were not discussed in 
detail in the impact assessment. 
 
The total damage to the private sector was estimated at NZ$4.5 million.  The government allocated NZ$1 million 
to the private sector as part of its contribution to the recovery plan.  The Niue economy is dominated by public 
sector activities.  The government employs the majority of the population and provides most social services.  All 
government assets and installations suffered extensive damage from Cyclone Heta, including buildings, plant and 
machinery, communication systems, utilities supply systems, office equipment, historical records, and 
government housing.  Vital service buildings and facilities such as the hospital, Justice and Lands Department 
and the national museum and library were completely destroyed.  Total official estimated damage and losses in 
the public sector amount to NZ$25.7 million (see Table 8).  The value of the damage to the public sector was 
roughly double Niue’s estimated GDP for 2002.   
 
                                                 
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 Many houses are vacant, because families have left to live in New Zealand. 
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Table 8: Niue Government Assessment of Impact of Cyclone Heta on the Public Sector 
Sector 
Lost Amenities 
Assessed Value (NZD) 
Agriculture 
Commercial and subsistence crops  $5,500,000 
Health Services 
Maternity ward, dental facilities, 
hospital, mortuary, aged care 
facilities 
$4,000,000 
Tourism 
Sea tracks, eco-tourism sites, 
tourist accommodation and 
infrastructure 
$3,120,000 
Government Buildings 
Civil service buildings 
$2,324,000 
Community Affairs 
100% of Museum, 90% of archives, 
library services, cultural and 
historical records and artefacts 
$2,525,000 
Bulk Fuel 
Fuel supply storage for whole 
island 
$2,200,000 
Telecom Niue 
Communication services 
$1,400,000 
Niue Power Corporation  Electricity services 
$890,000 
Justice and Lands 
Services for courts, registrar of 
births, deaths and marriages, land 
title register 
$790,000 
Niue Development Bank  Buildings in industrial park 
$730,000 
Fisheries 
Fishing vessels launching site. 
Community sea tracks 
$668,000 
Broadcasting 
Corporation of Niue 
Radio and television services 
$542,000 
Other Government 
Departments 
Office and technical equipment 
(PWD, Premier’s Department, 
Education, Treasury, Police, 
Meteorological Office), water 
supply repairs 
$1,013,250 
Total damage 
 
$25,702,250 
Source: Premier’s Department.  April 2004.  Cyclone Heta Recovery Plan. 
 
4.3.  Impact on Tourism Sector 
This section estimates the economic impact of Cyclone Heta in 2004 on the tourism sector in Niue using the 
guidelines developed in phase one of this research project (see Tool 1).  As recommended in the guidelines, the 
analysis is split into an assessment of the tourism sector without the disaster, and a disaster impact assessment.   
 
Limited data was available.  Most of the baseline data used in this report was gathered from the Niue Department 
of Tourism.  Data on direct impacts was gathered from the official government disaster impact assessment.  
Qualitative information on indirect and intangible impacts was gathered from interviews with the Department of 
Tourism and the Chamber of Commerce in Niue.    
 
4.3.1. Tourism  Sector  Without Cyclone Heta 
The tourism sector is small in Niue.  However, the number of tourist visitors began to increase in 2001.  Prior to 
Cyclone Heta, the Department of Tourism predicted that Niue’s tourism sector would experience a significant 
increase in tourist visitors and tourism revenue in 2004.  This prediction did not come true, as 2004, the year of 
Cyclone Heta, saw a decline in tourists (non-resident arrivals) from the previous year.  There were 156 fewer 
tourists in 2004 than in 2003.  The total number of tourist (non-resident) arrivals in Niue between 1996 and 2004 
is shown in Figure 2.  
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Figure 2: Tourist (non-resident) Arrivals in Niue, 1996-2004 
0
500
1,000
1,500
2,000
2,500
3,000
1996
1997
1998
1999
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
Year
Number of visitors (non-residents)
 
The Department of Tourism estimates that income from tourist expenditure in 2003 was approximately NZ$1.8 
million.  Before Cyclone Heta there were seven major hotels and motels accommodating tourists in Niue: 
Namakulu Motel, the Anaiki Motel, the Coral Gardens Motel, the Matavai Resort, Hotel Niue, Peleni’s Inn, and 
Kololi’s Guest House.   
 
Table 9: Summary Statistics – Niue’s Tourism Sector Without Cyclone Heta 
Information 
Data Needed  
Niue’s Tourism Sector 
Source 
Infrastructure 
Number of tourism facilities 
in affected area 
Seven major hotels and motels 
Department of 
Tourism 
Production  
Level of tourism service 
provision 
2,706 visitors in 2003, only 2,550 
visitors in 2004 (see Figure 2) 
Niue Statistics 
Importance 
Contribution of tourism 
sector to GDP and 
employment 
Tourist expenditure in 2003 
NZ$1.8 million 
Department of 
Tourism 
Ownership 
Public / private 
All tourism facilities privately 
owned, other than Hotel Niue 
which is owned by government 
Department of 
Tourism 
Location 
Rural / urban 
Three tourist facilities in main 
urban area of Alofi South.  
Department of 
Tourism 
Employment 
Number employed 
Data not available 
 
Quality of 
infrastructure 
Quality of tourism 
infrastructure 
Data not available 
 
Furniture and 
equipment 
Furniture and agriculture 
equipment 
Data not available 
 
Costs of 
replacement 
Costs of replacement of 
infrastructure and stock 
Data not available 
 
Cost of service 
supplied 
Costs of tourism services 
Data not available 
 
 
4.3.2. Impact of Cyclone Heta on Tourism Sector 
The official damage assessment conducted by the Niue government only included estimates of direct damage to 
tourist accommodation and facilities, scenic sites and access routes.  Our analysis attempts to expand this 
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estimate to include other important indirect and intangible impacts.  The disaster impact is summarised in Table 
10.  It is still not a comprehensive assessment, due to the limited data and time available for the analysis.    
 
Direct Impacts:  Tourist accommodation and infrastructure suffered severe damage, and in some cases total 
destruction as a result of Cyclone Heta.  The cost of repairing damaged tourist accommodation and infrastructure 
was estimated at NZ$300,000.  The cost of replacing tourist accommodation and infrastructure that was totally 
destroyed was estimated at a value of NZ$2,750,000.  The value of damage to scenic sites and access roads 
was estimated at a value of NZ$289,740, based on the cost of clearing the access roads and rehabilitating scenic 
sites to a ‘visitable’ quality.  The Niue government’s Department of Tourism suffered minimal direct damage from 
Cyclone Heta.  
 
Indirect Impacts:  There was a reduction in the number of tourist visitors of 6 percent between 2003 and 2004.  
Assuming that income per visitor from tourist expenditure would be the same in 2004 as it was in 2003 (NZ$665 
per visitor), the total estimated lost income for 2004 was approximately NZ$103,769.  Data on the cost of 
demolition and debris removal and additional tourism operating costs were not available.  It was estimated, 
however, that the cyclone necessitated a product development and certification programme for new dive sites, 
with an estimated cost of NZ$200,000. 
 
Intangible Impacts:  Cyclone Heta caused environmental damage to scenic sites such as caves, coral reefs, sea 
tracks and swimming spots, with roughly 70 percent of the scenic sites or access to scenic sites suffering serious 
damage.  The value of rehabilitation of some scenic sites and clear-up of the access roads was included in the 
direct damage section, but this estimate omits some environmental impacts, such as damage to the forest in the 
Huvalu conservation area. 
 
Table 10: Assessment of Impact of Cyclone Heta on Niue’s Tourism Sector 
Type of Impact 
Impact 
Estimated Value 
Source 
Direct Impacts 
Damage to tourist accommodation and 
infrastructure (needs repairs) 
NZ$300,000 Premier’s 
Department 
 
Destruction of tourist accommodation and 
infrastructure (needs total replacement) 
NZ$2,750,000 Premier’s 
Department 
 
Damage to scenic sites and access roads 
NZ$289,740 
Premier’s 
Department 
 
Damage to tourism government offices 
No damage 
Premier’s 
Department 
Indirect Impacts 
Loss of income in tourist revenue 
NZ$103,769 
Department of 
Tourism  
 
Costs of demolition and debris removal 
Data not available 
 
 
Additional tourism operating costs 
Data not available 
 
 
Cost of development and certification 
programme for new dive sites 
NZ$200,000 Premier’s 
Department 
Intangible 
Impacts 
Damage to environment e.g. Huvalu forest 
conservation area 
Not valued 
 
Total Impact 
Includes only impacts for which data was 
available and monetary value could be 
estimated 
NZ$3,643,509 
 
 
It is important to note that the loss of particular assets due to disasters may mask the fact that these assets were 
performing poorly prior to the disaster.  For example, prior to Cyclone Heta the company that leased the 
government-owned Hotel Niue was struck off the New Zealand Companies Register as a result of bad debts, lack 
of reporting, mismanagement etc.  Care must be taken not to overestimate the loss from such assets that are 
poor performing, even without the impact of a natural disaster.  
 
4.4.  Impact on Education Sector 
This section estimates the economic impact of Heta in 2004 on the education sector in Niue using the guidelines 
developed in phase one of this research project (see Tool 1).  As recommended in the guidelines, the analysis is 
split into an assessment of the education sector without the disaster, and a disaster impact assessment.  The 
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impact on the education sector of Cyclone Heta was not considered to be as serious as that affecting other social 
sectors, such as the health sector.  
 
Limited data was available.  Most of the baseline data used in this report were gathered from the Niue 
Government’s Department of Education, Niue Statistics and the United Nations Children’s Fund.  Data on direct 
impacts were gathered from the official government disaster impact assessment and qualitative information on 
indirect and intangible impacts was gathered from interviews with stakeholders in Niue.  
 
4.4.1. Education  Sector Without Cyclone Heta 
Education is compulsory in Niue between the ages of 4 and 16.  There are three education institutions: Niue 
Primary School, Niue High School, and a branch of the University of the South Pacific.  In 2002, there were 251 
primary school students, 240 secondary school students, 17 primary school teachers and 29 secondary school 
teachers.  The teacher-pupil ratio was 1:15 in primary schools and 1:8 in secondary schools.  Between 1996 and 
2003, Niue had a net primary enrolment rate of 97 percent.  In 2000, the total adult literacy rate was 81 percent.  
 
Table 11: Summary Statistics – Niue’s Education Sector Without Cyclone Heta 
Information 
Data Needed  
Niue’s Education Sector 
Source 
Infrastructure 
Number of educational 
buildings in affected area 
One primary school, one secondary 
school and one USP post 
Niue Statistics 
Ownership 
Public / private 
Primary and secondary school funded 
and run by government 
Department of 
Education 
Location 
Rural / urban 
All three schools based around Alofi 
South (urban) area. 
Department of 
Education 
Number of 
inhabitants 
Number of students 
251 primary school students, 240 
secondary school students 
Department of 
Education 
Employment 
Number of teachers 
17 primary school teachers, 29 
secondary school teachers 
Department of 
Education 
Coverage 
Coverage provided by 
education institutions 
Net primary school enrolment of 97% 
(1996-2003) 
UNICEF 
Type of housing  Traditional / semi-modern / 
modern 
Modern buildings 
Department of 
Education 
Quality of 
buildings 
Quality of education buildings 
High quality building materials and 
structures 
Department of 
Education 
Furniture and 
equipment 
Furniture and educational 
equipment 
Data not available 
 
Costs of 
replacement 
Costs of replacement of 
infrastructure and equipment 
Data not available 
 
Cost of service 
supplied 
School fees, government 
subsidies, average wages 
Data not available 
 
General 
indicators 
 
Net primary school enrolment of 97% 
(1996-2003), total adult literacy rate 
of 81% 
UNICEF 
 
 
4.4.2. Impact of Cyclone Heta on Education Sector 
The official damage assessment conducted by the Niue government focuses on the direct impacts of Cyclone 
Heta.  Our analysis attempts to expand this estimate to include other important indirect and intangible impacts.  
The assessment is summarised in Table 12.  It is still not a comprehensive assessment, due to the limited data 
and time available for the analysis.    
 
Direct Impacts:  Niue’s education institutions suffered minor damage from Cyclone Heta due to their relatively 
sheltered locations away from the vulnerable coastal area.  There was some damage to school buildings and 
facilities, which cost an estimated NZ$100,000 to repair.  Damage to equipment and supplies were valued at 
replacement costs of NZ$200,000.  
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Indirect Impacts:  
There appear to have been few indirect impacts suffered by the education sector in Niue from 
Cyclone Heta.  The education buildings were not used as temporary shelters and there was no loss of income in 
student fees.   
 
Intangible Impacts:  The primary and secondary schools were both forced to delay the school term due to 
Cyclone Heta, but extended the term to make up for this postponement.  There appears to have been no 
significant alternation in student performance after Cyclone Heta.  Officials from the education department and 
teachers, however, did point out that children were emotionally and psychologically affected by the experience of 
Cyclone Heta.  Individual and group counselling exercises were organised by the schools.  
 
Table 12: Assessment of Impact of Cyclone Heta on Niue’s Education Sector 
Type of Impact 
Impact 
Estimated Value 
Source 
Direct Impacts 
Damage to school buildings and facilities 
NZ$100,000 
Department of 
Education 
 
Damage to equipment, supplies and 
teaching resources 
NZ$200,000 Department 
of 
Education 
 
Damage to education sector government 
offices 
No damage 
Department of 
Education 
Indirect Impacts 
Cost of repair of educational buildings used 
as temporary shelters 
Not applicable 
Department of 
Education 
 
Loss of income in student fees 
Not applicable 
Department of 
Education 
 
Costs of demolition and debris removal 
Data not available 
 
 
Additional education service operating 
costs 
Data not available 
 
Intangible Impacts 
Psychological trauma suffered by children 
and teachers (counselling provided free of 
charge) 
Not valued  
Department  of 
Education 
Total Impact 
Includes only impacts for which data was 
available and monetary value could be 
estimated 
NZ$300,000 
 
 
 
4.5. Cost-effectiveness of Relocation of Hospital 
After Cyclone Ofa hit Niue in 1990, repeated recommendations were made by various agencies (SOPAC, Niue 
Government etc.) that the Niue hospital should be relocated to a safer site away from the vulnerable coastal zone 
in Alofi South.  In particular, Forbes (1996) made clear recommendations that a coastal hazard zone should be 
identified along the foreshore of Alofi Terrace, with setback requirements for new infrastructure projects.  These 
recommendations were ignored to save money in the short-term, and instead the Niue hospital was renovated in 
its original location by the coast.  Consequently the hospital was utterly demolished during Cyclone Heta in 2004, 
with total destruction of infrastructure, equipment and records, and high indirect costs of patient referrals to New 
Zealand.  After the total destruction of the hospital in Cyclone Heta, the Niue hospital is now being rebuilt in a new 
location.  The new hospital site is in Kaimiti, an area that is on the upper terrace and safe from any potential wave 
damage similar to that which devastated the hospital during Cyclone Heta. 
 
The cost of the direct destruction caused by Cyclone Heta to the hospital building and equipment was estimated 
at NZ$4 million.  In addition to this direct damage, there have been significant indirect costs involved in referring 
patients to New Zealand for treatment during the rebuilding period.  The Niue Health Department reports that 
patients have been referred for 394 trips to New Zealand health-care facilities, with 96 family members also flying 
to New Zealand to accompany the patients.  The average cost of a return trip to New Zealand was estimated at 
NZ$1,200, so the total cost of referrals was estimated at approximately NZ$588,000.  The cost of building a 
temporary hospital extension was estimated at NZ$60,000.  Data was not available on other indirect impacts, 
such as lost income from charged health services, and additional health service operating costs.  
 
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The estimated impacts of a major cyclone similar to Cyclone Heta, with and without relocation of the hospital to a 
safer location, are estimated in Table 13.  
 
Table 13: Impacts of Cyclone Heta With and Without Hospital Relocation 
Type of 
Impact 
Without DRM measure  Approximate 
impact value 
With DRM measure 
Approximate 
impact value 
Direct   
Total destruction of 
hospital building and 
equipment from 
Cyclone Heta 
NZ$4 million 
Relocation of hospital 
inland could have saved 
two-thirds of damage
11
 
NZ$1.3 million 
Indirect 
Cost of referral of 
patients for treatment in 
New Zealand 
NZ$588,000 
No referrals needed for 
treatment in New 
Zealand 
NZ$0 
 
Cost of temporary 
hospital extension 
NZ$60,000 
No need for temporary 
hospital extension 
NZ$0 
Intangible 
Psychological trauma of 
health personnel and 
patients  
Not valued 
Reduced psychological 
trauma of health 
personnel and patients 
Not valued 
TOTAL 
 
NZ$4.648 million 
 
NZ$1.3 million 
 
The research team was only able to identify the likely impacts of Cyclone Heta with and without relocation of the 
hospital within the time available for this research project and the limited data that was easily accessible.  There 
is, however, potential for a further study to follow up this interesting example of a DRM measure using the 
methodology in the toolkit.  A further study would need to obtain more detailed data on the costs of relocating the 
hospital, including externality costs, estimate any other benefits of relocation, discount the costs and benefits, 
estimate cost-benefit analysis indicators and conduct a sensitivity analysis.   
 
 
 
 
 
                                                 
11
 Estimate of disaster management specialist working in Niue (Bonte, SOPAC). 
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5. Tuvalu 
Research in Tuvalu involved meetings with stakeholders to investigate the impacts of droughts, particularly in the 
main atoll of Funafuti.  Meetings were held with those involved with the desalination plant to collect information on 
the costs and benefits of this activity.  Further details of these meetings are given in Appendix 1. 
 
5.1.  The Tuvalu Economy 
Tuvalu is a small, low-lying and densely populated country made up of nine coral atolls with poor soil.  The 
country has very few exports.  Subsistence farming and fishing are the primary economic activities.  On average, 
fewer than 1,000 tourists visit Tuvalu annually.  Government revenues come largely from the sale of stamps and 
coins, trust income and worker remittances.  The total population is approximately 10,000 people, and roughly 
half live on the main island of Funafuti.   
 
A substantial amount of income is received annually from an international trust fund established in 1987 by 
Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom and also supported by Japan and South Korea.  This fund has 
grown from AU$17 million initially to over AU$35 million in 1999.  The US government is also a major revenue 
source for Tuvalu, which provides payments relating to a 1988 treaty on fisheries.  In an effort to reduce its 
dependence on foreign aid, the government is pursuing public sector reforms, including privatisation of some 
government functions and personnel cuts of up to 7 percent.  In 1998, Tuvalu began deriving revenue from use of 
its area code for "900" lines and in 2000, from the lease of its ".tv" Internet domain name.  Royalties from these 
new technology sources could increase substantially over the next decade.  With merchandise exports only a 
fraction of merchandise imports, continued reliance will be placed on fishing and telecommunications licence 
fees, remittances from overseas workers, official transfers, and investment income from overseas assets. 
 
Tuvalu as a small economy has difficulty compiling even basic economic data.  The only economic statistics 
available from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning were estimates of the balance of payments (1998-
2003) and GDP (1996-1998).  The National Accounts for Tuvalu were last compiled in 1999 for the years 1996 to 
1998 funded by AusAID
12
.  Following this the National Accounts were revised again in 2003 based on the 
worksheets and manuals archived in Statistics New Zealand.  Based on the revised statistics, Tuvalu’s GDP has 
been increasing over the last 7 years (see Figure 3).  GDP at factor costs dipped in 1997, possibly affected by 
damages caused by Cyclones Gavin, Hina and Keli, which caused a loss of an estimated AU$1 million.   
 
Figure 3: Annual GDP of Tuvalu, 1996-2002 
Annual GDP
0
5,000
10,000
15,000
20,000
25,000
30,000
1996
1997
1998
1999
2000
2001
2002
$A
u
s
 (
000
)
GDP at Factor Cost current prices
GDP at Market Value current prices
GDP at Factor Cost (1988 prices)
 
Source: Tuvalu National Statistics Office 
 
                                                 
12
  Ministry of Finance and Development. September 1999. Tuvalu National Accounts Report. Ministry of Finance and 
Development, Tuvalu. 
 
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5.2.  Literature Review – Economic Impact of Droughts  
There are no streams or rivers in Tuvalu, and the groundwater source is unsuitable for human consumption due 
to saltwater intrusion and human pollution.  Most water needs must be met using rainwater catchment systems 
and desalination plants.  Although Tuvalu has an annual average rainfall of 3,500 mm irregular short periods of 
drought persist and have serious consequences.  Just a short period of a few weeks without rain can lead to 
water shortages.  A particularly severe drought in 1999 led to the purchase of a desalination plant from Japan.  
Increasing water storage capacity is a priority to alleviate water shortages from future El Niño and drought events.  
 
There have been no official assessments made of the impacts of drought on Tuvalu, although there is widespread 
recognition of the damaging effects across many sectors.  Very little data exists on the economic impact of natural 
disasters generally.  To allow comprehensive economic analysis of the impacts of natural disasters in general, 
and drought in particular, better baseline data and data on economic impacts needs to be collected. 
 
The assessment reports that do exist in Tuvalu focus on the impacts of cyclones, such as damage to subsistence 
food crops and housing during Cyclone Keli in 1998.  A list of cyclones that have affected Tuvalu between 1972 
and 2004 is provided in Appendix 8.  While Tuvalu does not experience frequent cyclones, the low-lying 
(maximum height of 4.6 metres above sea-level) and narrow land area of its atolls makes the population 
particularly vulnerable to those cyclones that do hit the country.  Storm surge and high waves have the potential 
to cause massive destruction to coastal areas and shoreline erosion.  In the past, saltwater intrusion into 
vegetables gardens has caused extensive damage to the subsistence economy.   
 
Two interesting analyses of cross-sectoral disaster impacts have been undertaken in Tuvalu.  First, a consultant 
from New Zealand made an assessment of the social and psychological impacts of a man-made disaster, which 
consisted of a fire at Motufoua Secondary School in Vaitupu.  Second, an assessment of the extent of coastal 
erosion caused by Cyclone Gavin was made, including estimates of the cost of rehabilitation.  These two 
assessments demonstrate that innovative approaches are being undertaken in Pacific Island Countries to try to 
assess the environmental, social and psychological impacts of disasters, even though there is no systematic 
methodology employed for each disaster.   
 
5.3.  Impact on Fisheries Sector 
This section estimates the economic impact of droughts on the fisheries sector in Tuvalu using the guidelines 
developed in phase one of this research project (see Tool 1).  As recommended in the guidelines, the analysis is 
split into an assessment of the fisheries sector generally, and a drought impact assessment.   
 
Limited data was available.  Most of the baseline data used in this report was gathered from the Food and 
Agriculture Organisation and the Tuvalu Department of Fisheries.  Data on the impacts of drought were gathered 
from interviews with the stakeholders in the fisheries sector.
    
 
5.3.1. Fisheries  Sector Without Droughts 
Tuvalu has a very small land area of only 26 km
2
.  Its most valued natural resources are contained in its Exclusive 
Economic Zone (EEZ), which covers almost 900,000 km
2
 of the Pacific Ocean.  The country has the highest EEZ 
per capita of any developing South Pacific Island Country.  
 
Most of the fishing activity in Tuvalu is at the subsistence level.  Subsistence fisheries contributed US$1.06 million 
to GDP in 1996 in real values, accounting for 9.6 percent of GDP.  This value marginally increased to US$1.09 
million in 2002 but accounted for only 6.4 percent of GDP.  The FAO estimated that, in 1999, 94 people were 
employed in primary fisheries, 312 in secondary fisheries, and 1,118 people in subsistence fisheries.  Census 
data suggest that 74 percent of households in Tuvalu participate in reef fishing and 63 percent in ocean fishing.  
The National Fishing Corporation of Tuvalu (NAFICOT) has carried out commercial fishing using two launches 
provided to Tuvalu in 1991 using Japanese grant-aid.  The company sells its catch through a small fish retail 
outlet in Funafuti and participates in the operation of the outer island fishery centres.   
 
Tuvalu generates substantial revenue from fishing licences, which averaged US$10 million per annum between 
1999 and 2002.  These revenues are highly volatile as they depend on external factors beyond Tuvalu’s control.  
In 2003 for instance, revenues from fish licences declined very sharply to only US$1.5 million (Tuvalu National 
Budget, 2005).  The volatility of fish licence revenues poses serious budget forecasting challenges to the Tuvalu 
Government.  Tuvalu relies on the patrol boat vessel provided by the Australian Government under a defence 
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cooperation agreement and the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) for the management and enforcement of fishing 
limits within its EEZ (Draft Tuvalu National Development Plan).  Revenue from fish licences does not appear in 
Tuvalu’s GDP statistics, but is captured in its Gross National Product as factor income from abroad.   
 
Summary statistics on Tuvalu’s fisheries sector are outlined in Table 14. 
 
Table 14: Summary Statistics – Tuvalu’s Fisheries Sector Without Droughts 
Information 
Data Needed  
Tuvalu’s Fisheries Sector 
Source 
Infrastructure 
Number of fisheries 
enterprises in affected area 
National Fisheries Corporation of 
Tuvalu, plus numerous 
subsistence fisheries 
Department of 
Fisheries 
Production  
Type and quantity of 
production 
Revenue from fishing licences was 
$10 million per annum between 
1999 and 2002.  Subsistence 
fisheries contributed $1.09 million 
(2002)  
Department of 
Fisheries. FAO. 
Importance 
Contribution of fisheries 
sector to GDP and 
employment 
In 2002 subsistence fisheries 
accounted for 6.4 percent of GDP 
FAO 
Ownership 
Public / private 
Mostly private enterprise 
Department of 
Fisheries 
Location 
Rural / urban 
Both urban and rural based 
fisheries 
Department of 
Fisheries 
Employment Number 
employed 
94 people employed in primary, 
312 in secondary, and 1,118 in 
subsistence fisheries 
FAO 
Quality of 
infrastructure 
Quality of fisheries 
infrastructure 
Data not available 
 
Furniture and 
equipment 
Furniture and agriculture 
equipment 
Data not available 
 
Costs of 
replacement 
Costs of replacement of 
infrastructure and stock 
Data not available 
 
Cost of service 
supplied 
Costs of any fisheries 
services supply 
Data not available 
 
 
5.3.2. Impact of Drought on the Fisheries Sector 
There is very little official data that can be used to estimate the impacts of drought on the fisheries sector in 
Tuvalu, forcing the analysis to rely on the observations of those working in the sector.  The disaster impacts are 
summarised in Table 15.  It is not a comprehensive assessment, due to the limited data and time available for the 
analysis.    
 
Direct Impacts:  Stakeholders in Tuvalu noted no direct impacts of droughts on the fisheries sector. 
 
Indirect Impacts:  The Manager of the National Fisheries Corporation of Tuvalu (NAFICOT) observed that 
drought creates problems getting enough ice for fish storage and fish processing, thereby disrupting production 
and reducing income between February and June each year.  He also mentioned the adverse effects of the El 
Niño phenomenon on tuna catch rates, which led to a fall in the number of foreign fishing fleets and fishing 
agreements since 2002.   
 
Intangible Impacts:  Stakeholders in Tuvalu noted no intangible impacts of droughts on the fisheries sector. 
 
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Table 15: Assessment of Impact of Drought on Tuvalu’s Fisheries Sector 
Type of Impact 
Impact 
Estimated Value 
Source 
Direct Impacts 
None mentioned 
 
 
Indirect Impacts 
Loss of income from fish processing due to 
water shortages 
Data not available 
NAFICOT 
 
Loss of income from foreign fishing 
licences 
Data not available 
Department 
of Fisheries 
Intangible Impacts 
None mentioned 
 
 
Total Impact 
Includes only impacts for which data was 
available and monetary value could be 
estimated 
Not available 
 
 
5.4.  Impact on Health Sector 
This section estimates the economic impact of droughts on the health sector in Tuvalu using the guidelines 
developed in phase one of this research project (see Tool 1).  As recommended in the guidelines, the analysis is 
split into an assessment of the health sector generally, and a drought impact assessment.   
 
Limited data was available.  Most of the baseline data used in this report was gathered from the Tuvalu 
Department of Health.  Data on the impacts of drought were gathered from interviews with the stakeholders in the 
health sector.    
 
5.4.1. Health Sector Without Droughts 
There is one hospital in Tuvalu, which is run by the Tuvalu government and based in the main atoll of Funafuti.  It 
is supported by health clinics in the outer islands.  In 2002, the hospital treated approximately 8,000 outpatients 
and 600 inpatients.  The hospital employs 45 staff members, including doctors, a dentist, nurses and assistants.  
In 2002, total health expenditure as a percentage of GDP was estimated at 5.4 percent.   
 
UNICEF estimates that in 2002, 93 percent of Tuvalu’s total population was using improved drinking water 
sources and 88 percent of the total population was using adequate sanitation facilities.  Life expectancy at birth is 
60 years for men and 61.4 years for women.  The World Health Organisation estimates child mortality per 1,000 
at 72 for males and 56 for females.  The 2002 Tuvalu Health Department Annual Report points out that some 
diseases such as tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS are on the increase.  There is also a rising trend in the incidence of 
non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and hypertension.   
 
Key statistics on Tuvalu’s health sector are summarised in Table 16.  
 
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Table 16: Summary Statistics – Tuvalu’s Health Sector Without Droughts 
Information 
Data Needed  
Tuvalu’s Health Sector  
Source 
Infrastructure 
Number of health care facilities 
in affected area 
One hospital  
Department 
of Health 
Ownership 
Public / private 
Hospital run by government 
Department 
of Health 
Location 
Rural / urban 
Hospital based in Funafuti 
Department 
of Health 
Number of 
inhabitants 
Number of patients 
7,928 outpatients and 613 inpatients 
(2002)  
Department 
of Health 
Employment 
Number of staff 
7 doctors, 14 nurses, 1 dentist, 1 
laboratory technician, 2 pharmacists, 7 
assistants, one radiographer, 12 
hospital employees (2002) 
Department 
of Health 
Coverage 
Coverage provided by health 
institutions 
Data not available 
 
Type of housing  Traditional / semi-modern / 
modern 
Data not available 
 
Quality of 
buildings 
Quality of health care facilities  Data not available 
 
Furniture and 
equipment 
Furniture, and medical and 
non-medical equipment 
Data not available 
 
Costs of 
replacement 
Costs of replacement of 
infrastructure and equipment 
Data not available 
 
Cost of service 
supplied 
Cost of medical services, 
hospital room charges, 
average wages 
Data not available 
 
General 
indicators 
Morbidity rate, disease 
incidence, under-nutrition 
rates, infant and maternal 
mortality rates 
In 2002, infant mortality rate of 19.2.  In 
2003, under 5 mortality rate of 51.  In 
2002, under 5 mortality rate of 0 and 
maternal mortality rate of 0.  High 
incidence of non-communicable 
diseases such as diabetes, heart 
disease and hypertension.  5% of 
infants with low birth weight (average 
1998-2003) 
UNICEF, 
WHO, 
Tuvalu 
Department 
of Health 
 
5.4.2. Impact of Drought on Health Sector 
There is very little official data that can be used to estimate the impacts of drought on the health sector in Tuvalu, 
forcing the analysis to rely on the observations of those working in the sector.  The disaster impacts are 
summarised in Table 17.  It is not a comprehensive assessment, due to the limited data and time available for the 
analysis.    
 
Many officials working in Tuvalu’s health sector suggested that acute respiratory infections (ARIs), viral illnesses, 
skin diseases, septic sores, cholera, diarrhoea and typhoid are all exacerbated by water shortages and sanitation 
problems during droughts in Tuvalu.   
 
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Table 17: Assessment of Impact of Drought on Tuvalu’s Health Sector 
Type of Impact 
Impact 
Estimated Value 
Source 
Direct Impacts 
Damage to health care facilities, buildings 
and equipment 
Not applicable 
 
 
Costs of deaths and injuries 
Not applicable 
 
Indirect Impacts 
Cost of treating population affected by 
increased incidence of communicable 
diseases (resulting from environmental 
conditions during drought) e.g. ARIs, viral 
illnesses, skin disease, diarrhoea, septic 
sores 
Data not available 
Department 
of Health 
 
Cost of treating population affected by 
disease outbreaks caused by drought e.g. 
cholera outbreak (1991), typhoid outbreak 
(2003) 
Data not available 
Department 
of Health 
Intangible Impacts 
None mentioned 
 
 
Total Impact 
Includes only impacts for which data was 
available and monetary value could be 
estimated 
Not available 
 
 
 
5.5.  Cost-effectiveness of the Funafuti Desalination Plant 
There are no streams or rivers in Tuvalu, and the groundwater source is unsuitable for human consumption due 
to saltwater intrusion and human pollution.  Although Tuvalu has an annual average rainfall of 3,500 mm, irregular 
short periods of drought persist and have serious consequences.  Just a short period of a few weeks without rain 
can lead to water shortages.   
 
DRM measures in Tuvalu that mitigate the impacts of drought include desalination plants, maintenance and 
improvement of rainwater catchment systems, basic health, nutrition and sanitary programmes, improved 
forecasting of droughts, and education and awareness programmes.  The desalination plant was considered to be 
the DRM measure most appropriate for consideration using cost-benefit analysis. 
 
A particularly severe drought in 1999 led to the purchase of a desalination plant from Japan.  The desalination 
plant is the main source of water supply for Funafuti during droughts.  The desalination plant involved initial 
investment costs of US$90,000 and incurs high operating costs of roughly AU$30,000 per month (Tuvalu PWD).  
These costs are borne by the Tuvalu Public Works Department, which heavily subsidises production.  
Maintenance of rainwater catchment systems is not subsidised, and hence there are few incentives for private 
individuals to invest in repairing their personal guttering and water storage facilities.  There are also potential 
externality costs such as pollution from disposal of concentrated brine solution, transportation and electricity 
generation.  Other health externality costs may occur in the form of health problems if filters are not replaced 
regularly and water quality is compromised.   
 
Insufficient information was gathered to conduct a cost-benefit analysis of this DRM measure.  This rough 
assessment suggests that the choice of a desalination plant to provide water during droughts may not be the 
most cost-effective option for Tuvalu.  The breakdown of costs is given in Table 18 and has been used as an 
example in the cost-benefit analysis toolkit.   
 
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  Table 18: Costs of Desalination Plant in Tuvalu 
 
Direct Costs 
Externality costs 
Further details 
Item 
Fixed costs  Annual variable costs   
 
Desalination plant  AU$140,000   
 
Purchase, transport and set-
up costs 
Labour  
 
AU$16,882 
 
Fortnightly pay of the four 
watermen 
Labour (overtime)   
AU$32,191 
 
 
Electricity  
AU$52,903 
 
 
Pump   AU$39,060   
 
Transport  
AU$52,080 
 
Usually 
seven 
water 
deliveries per day 
Maintenance 
 
AU$120,000 
 
Maintenance of filters and 
other equipment 
Other direct costs   
AU$46, 968 
 
 
Brine pollution 
costs  
 
 
Not valued 
Pollution from disposal of 
concentrated brine solution 
Energy and 
transportation 
pollution costs  
 
 
Not valued 
Pollution from transportation 
and electricity generation 
Potential health 
costs  
 
 
Not valued 
Potential health risks if filters 
not replaced regularly and 
water quality compromised 
Total 
AU$140,000  AU$313,116 p.a. 
 
 
 
 
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6. Vanuatu 
                                                
Research in Vanuatu involved meetings with stakeholders in Efate to investigate the impacts of earthquakes and 
cyclones, in particular the effects of the 2002 earthquake and Cyclone Ivy in 2004.  Further details of these 
meetings are given in Appendix 1. 
 
6.1.  The Vanuatu Economy 
Vanuatu is a developing country with a population of just over 200,000 and a per capita GDP of US$1,276.  The 
growth rate of GDP has not kept pace with the increase in population.  Measures of poverty indicate that Vanuatu 
has been falling behind other Pacific Island Countries.  In 1997 the Vanuatu government adopted a 
comprehensive reform programme, which aimed to improve governance, investment, economic growth, and 
social reforms and alleviate poverty in rural areas.  Vanuatu’s overall economic performance has been 
constrained by a number of factors, including poor economic management and governance, weak social service 
delivery, a rapidly growing population and regulatory barriers.  The Vanuatu economy is heavily dependent on 
agriculture, tourism, fisheries and livestock and all these sectors are very sensitive to extreme weather conditions 
and natural disasters. 
 
6.2.  Literature Review - Economic Impact of Cyclone Ivy, Cyclone Uma and 2002 Earthquake 
An additional constraint on development is the adverse impact of a wide range of natural disasters, which are 
common in Vanuatu.  Vanuatu is located in a very weather-sensitive zone in the Pacific.  The South Pacific 
convergence zone and the inter-tropical zones create hot and wet conditions.  Vanuatu experiences on average 
2.6 cyclones per year and can expect a cyclone-free year once every seven years.  Vanuatu has about fifteen 
active volcanoes and regularly experiences earthquakes. 
 
The impact of natural disasters in Vanuatu appears to have been underestimated in government assessments.  
There is awareness of the possible impacts among policy makers but the lack of resources and capacity prevents 
government from undertaking comprehensive assessments of natural disaster impacts.  For those assessments 
that are conducted, different ministries provide reports of damages in their respective sectors and this information 
is collated and put together as national reports.  These assessments are for the purpose of prioritising 
government and donor funding allocations for immediate relief needs.  Since 2000, with the assistance of 
SOPAC, the Vanuatu government has established a NDMO.  This office, though under-staffed and under-
resourced, is making attempts to coordinate disaster impact assessment reports. 
 
Vanuatu is prone to earthquakes.  The largest earthquake recorded to date in Port Vila occurred at 17:22 hours 
GMT on 2 January, 2002.  The shock measured M
s
 7.3 (M
w
 7.1) on the Richter Scale and the focus was located 
by the local network in Vanuatu at 17.763°S and 167.850°E, about 45 km west of Port Vila at a depth of 18 km 
below the sea floor.  The earthquake was followed by a tsunami, which did not cause any major damage.  
Riskman (2003) provided actual and relative figures for losses of housing, public buildings and infrastructure 
associated with the Port Vila earthquake of January 2002, as detailed in Table 19.  The 2003 report on 
“Catastrophe Insurance Pilot Project’ provided a historical record of earthquake-related events in Vanuatu (see 
Appendix 9).
13
 
 
13
 Shorten, G. et al.  2003. Catastrophe Insurance Pilot Project, Port Vila, Vanuatu: Developing Risk-Management Options for 
Disasters in the Pacific Region. Report prepared for World Bank Office, Sydney and AusAID Canberra. 
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Table 19:  Estimates of Insured and Uninsured Damage from 2002 Port Vila Earthquake 
Estimated Damage 
Cost (AU$) 
Total insured commercial claims 
$6,010,735 
Total insured domestic claims 
$2,355,798 
Insured damage 
$8,366,533 
Total uninsured public buildings 
$1,000,000 
Total uninsured infrastructure 
$1,000,000 
Uninsured damage 
$2,000,000 
Total damage 
$20,733,066 
Source: Lindsay and Riskman, 2003
 
 
Disaster impact assessments in Vanuatu principally focus on the impacts of cyclones, and related flooding and 
landslides.  The most comprehensive impact assessment in Vanuatu was conducted for Cyclone Ivy, which struck 
the country in February 2004.  The total cost of Cyclone Ivy was estimated at VT 427.6 million.  Cyclone Ivy 
affected 50,000 people, and caused one fatality.  In the affected communities 90 percent of the water sources and 
water supply systems, 70 percent of roads, 60 percent of health infrastructure, 112 schools, and over 80 percent 
of food crops were damaged.  The assessment focused on emergency needs, to guide immediate assistance 
from donor agencies, rather than a comprehensive assessment including indirect damages and macroeconomic 
impacts.  Qualitative assessments of some of the indirect impacts are mentioned but no attempt is made to 
measure these effects in monetary terms.   
 
The Catastrophe Insurance Pilot Project for Vanuatu included an assessment by local insurance and reinsurance 
experts of the losses to Vanuatu due to risks caused by natural disasters, such as temporary loss of tourism 
opportunities (Lindsay and Riskman, 2003)
14
.  The estimates were based on the losses from Cyclone Uma in 
1987 and the 2002 earthquake in Port Vila.  According to this analysis, insured losses of the private sector due to 
Uma in 1987 amounted to AU$25 million.  Damage to government infrastructure was estimated at AU$25 million.  
Cyclone Uma had a flow-on effect on other government sectors, and particularly affected government finances.  
The fiscal deficit increased from Vt 635 million (AU$8.5 M) in 1986 to Vt 797 million (AU$10.6 million) in 1987.  In 
2000 the Vanuatu Reserve Bank reported that the trade balance deficit widened to Vt 279 million (AU$3.7 
million), due to the high number of imports to accommodate the reconstruction following Uma.  Real economic 
growth in the 1987/88 period stagnated around 0.6-0.7 percent as shown in Figure 4, possibly as a result of 
Cyclone Uma.   
 
Figure 4: Real GDP Growth in Vanuatu, 1980-1999
 
 
Source: Lindsay and Riskman, 2003 
 
                                                 
14
 Lindsay, K. & Riskman. Preliminary Report and Vanuatu Government Risk Management System. Riskman International 
Pty Ltd, Port Vila, Vanuatu. 
 
 
 
 
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6.3.  Impact of Cyclone Ivy on the Agriculture Sector 
This section estimates the economic impact of Cyclone Ivy on the agriculture sector in Vanuatu using the 
guidelines developed in phase one of this research project (see Tool 1).  As recommended in the guidelines, the 
analysis is split into an assessment of the agriculture sector without the disaster, and a disaster impact 
assessment.   
 
Limited data was available.  Most of the baseline data used in this report was gathered from the Vanuatu 
Department of Agriculture and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).  Data on direct impacts was 
gathered from NDMO impact assessments and qualitative information on indirect and intangible impacts was 
gathered from interviews with stakeholders in Port Vila, Vanuatu.    
 
6.3.1. Agriculture  Sector Without Cyclone Ivy 
Agriculture is the mainstay of Vanuatu’s economy and engages about 80 percent of the population.  Subsistence 
agriculture continues to be the major component of agricultural activities.  Copra is the leading cash crop 
accounting for about one third of the country’s exports, followed by timber, beef and cocoa.  Exports of kava and 
forest products have continued to increase over the last five years.  The Vanuatu government has made the 
agricultural sector a priority for economic and social development, with emphasis on improving the productivity of 
small-hold farmers in the production of traditional crops.  The Vanuatu government aims to improve access to 
land, credit and other incentives.   
 
The last agricultural census was conducted in Vanuatu in 1991.  The limited data available on Vanuatu’s 
agricultural sector is summarised in Table 20.  
 
Table 20: Summary Statistics of Vanuatu’s Agriculture Sector Without Cyclone Ivy 
Information 
Data Needed for 
Agriculture Sector 
Data for Vanuatu’s Agriculture 
Sector 
Source 
Infrastructure 
Number of agricultural 
enterprises in affected area 
Data not available 
 
Production  
Type and quantity of 
production 
Exports of cocoa, coffee, copra, 
timber, beef.  Large subsistence 
sector. 
Department of 
Agriculture 
Importance 
Contribution of agriculture 
sector to GDP and 
employment 
Agriculture, fisheries and forestry 
accounted for 23% of GDP (1999). 
Large subsistence sector. 
Asian Development 
Bank 
Ownership 
Public / private 
Data not available 
 
Location 
Rural / urban 
Mostly rural 
Department of 
Agriculture 
Employment 
Number employed 
Data not available 
 
Quality of 
infrastructure 
Quality of agriculture 
infrastructure 
Data not available 
 
Furniture and 
equipment 
Furniture and agriculture 
equipment 
Data not available 
 
Costs of 
replacement 
Costs of replacement of 
infrastructure and stock 
Data not available 
 
Cost of service 
supplied 
Costs of any agriculture 
services supply 
Data not available 
 
 
6.3.2. Impact of Cyclone Ivy on the Agriculture Sector 
Earthquakes, cyclones and floods cause extensive damage to agricultural infrastructure and crops.  Natural 
disasters affect current and future production capacity.  The data was generally insufficient to estimate the 
monetary value of direct and indirect impacts of Cyclone Ivy.  Instead the general categories of impact noted by 
stakeholders in the agricultural sector are outlined in Table 21. 
 
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Table 21: Assessment of Impact of Cyclone Ivy on Vanuatu’s Agriculture Sector 
Type of Impact 
Impact 
Direct Impacts 
Damage to subsistence crops 
 
Damage to commercial crops 
 Damage 
to 
livestock 
 
Damage to agricultural infrastructure and equipment 
 
Damage to rural training centres 
 
Damage to agricultural and farm land 
Indirect Impacts 
Loss of income from agricultural production 
 
Increased operating costs in agricultural sector  
 
Costs of debris removal in agricultural sector 
 
6.4.  Impact of Cyclone Ivy on the Tourism Sector 
The economic impact of Cyclone Ivy on the tourism sector in Vanuatu could not be systematically assessed due 
to the limited data available.  Instead, this section simply provides baseline data on the tourism sector gathered 
from the Vanuatu Department of Tourism.   
 
6.4.1. Tourism  Sector  Without Cyclone Ivy 
Tourism has been identified by the Government of Vanuatu as an important sector and one that has potential to 
be a major foreign exchange earner, and generate employment and income for local communities.  In 2000, 
tourism accounted for about 40 percent of GDP and generated about Vt 8.3billion in revenue.  It is estimated that 
the government collected more than Vt 977 million in direct taxes from the tourism sector in 2000.  Tourism 
generates about 75 percent of all foreign exchange earned by Vanuatu.  An estimated 6,200 people are 
employed in the tourism industry, mostly in the capital Port Vila.  In the December quarter of 2003, tourist arrivals 
totalled 14,326 showing an increase of 10.5 percent over the same quarter of 2002.  Cruise ship arrivals 
increased by 13.2 percent compared with the December quarter of 2002.  Australia continues to be the major 
source of tourists to the country, accounting for 59 percent of tourist visitors in 2003. 
 
6.4.2. Impact of Cyclone Ivy on the Tourism Sector 
The impacts of Cyclone Ivy on the tourism sector could not be systematically assessed due to the limited data 
available. 
 
6.5.  Cost-effectiveness of DRM Measures 
The team struggled to find examples of DRM measures in Vanuatu that could be easily used as examples for the 
cost-benefit analysis toolkit.  A Canadian International Development Assistance project for ‘Capacity Building for 
the Development of Adaptation Measures in Pacific Island Countries’ (CBDAMPIC) is relocating three pilot 
communities to adapt to climate change, including vulnerability to extreme weather events, such as cyclones.  
The research team was not able to collect the information needed for a cost-benefit analysis of these DRM 
projects. 
 
 
 
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RESULTS 
 
7. Recommendations  
 
Capacity Building 
1.  NDMOs require strengthened capacity generally, in terms of physical, financial and human resources.  
2.  More specifically, capacity building and training is needed in economic analysis appropriate to disaster impact 
assessments and cost-benefit analyses within NDMOs and other relevant government departments.   
 
Integrated Comprehensive Hazard and Risk Management 
3.  NDMOs need to develop closer links with Ministries of Finance and Economic Planning, Statistics Offices, and 
other relevant government departments, in order to achieve comprehensive and coordinated disaster impact 
assessments.   
4.  The Comprehensive Hazard and Risk Management (CHARM) process needs to develop further, in particular to 
incorporate economic considerations with DRM into national development planning strategies
.
 
 
Improved Data Collection 
5.  Pacific Island Countries need to expand the scope of the current practice of initial damage assessments, and 
start collecting data on long-term indirect impacts of natural disasters, and intangible effects, such as 
environmental and psychosocial consequences.   
6.  National focal points (NDMOs and national statistics offices may be the most appropriate) should gather and 
maintain historical records of past natural disaster impacts and relevant base line data.   
7.  Pacific Island Countries need to identify options for improving capacity in data collection appropriate to each 
individual country, such as tapping into sources of traditional knowledge on disaster impacts, establishing 
points of contact for community data collection and building up record holdings on DRM measures.  
8.  Additional in-depth case studies of post-disaster economic impact assessments and cost-benefit analyses of 
DRM Measures should be undertaken in the Pacific region to complement this study.  Primary data collection 
from affected stakeholders and community-based participatory research will be necessary to conduct thorough 
analyses, which were not possible within the scope of this research project.  
9.  Where feasible, development and use of Computable General Equilibrium (CGE) models in bigger Pacific 
Island Countries such as Fiji, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Samoa would help to study the economy-
wide impacts of natural disasters. 
 
Dissemination and Further Development of Guidelines and Toolkit 
10.  Dissemination of the Guidelines and Toolkit developed in this research project should take place, as planned, 
at the 12
th
 Pacific Regional Disaster Management meeting in Papua New Guinea in June 2005.  
11.  The Guidelines and Toolkit should be amended with contributions from users as they gain experience from 
applying the methodology around the Pacific region.  
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8. 
                                                
Conclusions 
The research team sees the principal value of this project in the development of the framework, which can be 
used to improve data on the impact of natural disasters, and assess the relative effectiveness of DRM measures, 
thereby making the allocation of resources for DRM more valuable and efficient.  The guidelines for estimating the 
economic impact of natural disasters, and the accompanying toolkit for assessing the costs and benefits of DRM 
measures have been developed in conjunction with stakeholder meetings to ensure that the economic tools 
developed are appropriate to the needs of decision makers in Pacific Island Countries.  Further development and 
amendment of the tools will be necessary, as users gain experience applying the methodology around the Pacific 
region and provide their own contributions and feedback.  Members of the research team will begin the process of 
dissemination with a presentation of the research findings at the 12
th
 Pacific Regional Disaster Management 
meeting in Papua New Guinea in June 2005. 
 
The team faced difficulties in conducting analyses of the economic impacts of natural disasters on development in 
the Pacific and the cost-effectiveness of DRM measures due to the lack of comprehensive and readily available 
appropriate historical data.  The limited analysis that could be undertaken with the incomplete data available 
suggests that natural disasters have had adverse economic impacts on development in the Pacific over the last 
twenty years.  The case studies of Fiji, Niue, Tuvalu and Vanuatu have shown that natural disasters have caused 
extensive direct damage to physical assets, significant indirect effects on production and income, and serious 
intangible impacts, such as environmental damage and psychological trauma.   
 
Due to the lack of easily available data, a complete cost-benefit analysis of a DRM measure could not be 
conducted for any of the case study countries.  The limited analysis that was undertaken suggests that greater 
emphasis on hazard and risk management can reduce the costs of disaster response and recovery.  However, 
decisions to allocate resources to DRM are frequently not based on careful consideration of the resulting costs 
and benefits.  Funds are often not invested in DRM measures in order to cut costs in the short term, without a 
careful analysis of the present value of the stream of benefits in avoided disaster damages that will arise in the 
long term.  If and when resources are allocated for DRM measures, the most cost-effective options are frequently 
not chosen.   
 
Despite the serious negative impacts of natural disasters in the Pacific, there is no systematic collection of 
comprehensive data on these effects.  Historical records of the impact of past natural disasters are scarce in Fiji, 
Niue, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.  After a large-scale natural disaster, PICs typically respond by assessing immediate 
short-term impacts, focusing on deaths and injuries, and direct damage to assets and infrastructure.  These 
immediate damage assessments are conducted to provide governments and aid donors with estimates of the 
amount of funds required to address immediate needs.  Long-term indirect losses in the flows of goods and 
services, macroeconomic effects, and non-market impacts such as environmental damage and psychosocial 
effects are frequently omitted from disaster impact assessments in the Pacific.   
 
The lack of data on disaster impacts is partly caused by: weak and under-resourced National Disaster 
Management Offices (NDMOs); little coordination between national planning offices, statistics offices and 
NDMOs; and, limited integration of Comprehensive Hazard and Risk Management (CHARM)
15
 into national 
development planning.  These problems lead to uncoordinated and unmethodical data collection.  Assessments 
are done through different departments and record keeping is seldom centralised.  The establishment of NDMOs 
and integration of the CHARM process are relatively recent developments, and there is still significant room for 
development and improvement.   
 
There is awareness among disaster managers in the region of the need for more accurate, comprehensive, 
systematic and consistent information on disaster impacts, in order to increase support for DRM among policy 
makers, senior government officials and international donors.  This would also help governments to develop 
appropriate national and sectoral policies, particularly for reconstruction, mitigation and preparedness.   
 
One of the factors holding back the Pacific region has been the lack of standard tools available to assist Pacific 
Island Country decision makers.  However, if the tools developed in this research project are to be utilised by 
 
15
 In Fiji and Vanuatu, DRM is being mainstreamed into national development planning processes through the 
Comprehensive Hazard and Risk Management (CHARM) process.
  
 
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decision makers in the future, they must be supported by: capacity building for disaster management institutions 
(particularly NDMOs); training in economic analysis; continued integration of the CHARM process; and 
strengthened links between NDMOs, Ministries for Finance and Economic Planning and Statistics Offices.  The 
creation of NDMOs in most Pacific Island Countries is a welcome development and has the potential of becoming 
an important institution in the assessment of the impacts of natural disasters on development.  However, many 
NDMOs face serious constraints in terms of physical, financial and human resources.  If NDMOs are to play a 
critical role in improving the data on economic impacts of natural disasters they will require strengthened capacity 
and high-level political support.  The standard methodology developed in this research project will help to provide 
guidance on economic analysis, but some of the more complicated aspects of disaster impact assessments and 
cost-benefit analysis are beyond the current capacities and resources of Pacific Island Countries without a 
programme of capacity building and training.   
 
The scope of post-disaster impact assessments needs to expand to include long-term indirect effects on 
development and intangible impacts, such as environmental and psychosocial consequences.  There was 
awareness in the countries visited of the wide range of impacts of natural disasters, but few countries have 
included these effects in comprehensive assessments because of the lack of capacity in economic analysis.  As 
the standard of data improves over time, a system of regional and national focal points should keep historical 
records of the impacts of past natural disasters and relevant base line data.  NDMOs and national statistical 
offices may be the most appropriate places to store data nationally.  Pacific Island Countries need to identify 
options for improving capacity in data collection appropriate to each individual country, such as tapping into 
sources of traditional knowledge on disaster impacts, establishing points of contact for community data collection 
and building up record holdings on DRM measures. 
 
Given the limited analysis that was possible within this research project, additional in-depth case studies of post-
disaster economic impacts and the costs and benefits of DRM measures should be undertaken in the Pacific 
region using the guidelines and toolkit developed here.  The tools can then be amended with contributions from 
users as they gain experience from applying the methodology.  The research team sees this project as the first 
step on a long journey needed to improve decision-making on the efficient and effective allocation of resources 
for DRM. 
 
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Narayan, P.K. 1999. Industrial development in Fiji: the case of the garment industry, Unpublished M.A. Thesis. 
The Centre for Development Studies and the Department of Economics, School of Social and Economic 
Development, University of the South Pacific: Suva, Fiji Islands 
Narayan, P.K., 2000. Fiji’s tourism industry: A SWOT analysis’, The Journal of Tourism Studies.11(2): 3-15. 
Narayan, P.K. 2003a. Fiji’s tourism exports: An ARDL approach to cointegration. Tourism Economics
Forthcoming.  
Narayan, P.K. 2003b. Determinants of tourist expenditure in Fiji: A cointegration approach, Pacific Tourism 
Review. Forthcoming. 
Narayan, P.K. 2003c. Macroeconomic impact of natural disasters on a small island economy: evidence from a 
CGE Model. Applied Economics Letters.  10 (11): 721-723. 
Narayan, P.K. 2002. A tourism demand model for Fiji, 1970-2000. Pacific Economic Bulletin. 17(2).  
Another USP Solution                                                                    46 
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                     Research Report:  Economic Impact of Natural Disasters on Development in the Pacific
 
 
 
Narayan, P.K., (2001) Fiji’s garment industry: An economic analysis. Journal of Economic and Social Policy. 6 (1): 
35-55. 
Narayan, P.K., and Narayan, S. 2003. The J-Curve effect: Evidence from Fiji, Discussion Paper Series No.1/3
Department of Economics, Monash University, Melbourne. 
Nelesone, T., Durrheim, D., Speare, R. 2003. Tuvalu outbreak manual. Ministry of Health, Funafuti, Tuvalu. 
Nelson, R. June 2002. Capacity building for the development of adaptation measures in Pacific Island Countries. 
CBDAMPIC Project, Vanuatu. 
New Zealand Meteorological Service. 1986. The climate and weather of Niue. New Zealand Meteorological 
Service: Wellington, New Zealand. 
Niue Department of Tourism. January-June 2004. Niue Tourism Report. Department of Tourism, Niue. 
Niue Meteorological Service. June 2000. Niue Island Initial National Communication: United Nations Framework 
Convention on Climate Change. Niue Climate Change Project, Niue Meteorological Service, Niue. 
Niue Premier’s Department. April 2004. Cyclone Heta Recovery Plan. Economic Planning, Development and 
Statistics, Premier’s Department, Niue.  
Niue Premier’s Department. 2004. National Impact Assessment Report of Cyclone Heta, Second Draft. Economic 
Planning, Development and Statistics, Premier’s Department, Niue. 
Niue Private Sector Task Force Group.  January 2004. Private sector post cyclone reconstruction proposal. 
Private Sector Task Force, Niue. 
NZAid, Government of Niue and UNDP. 2004. Donors Round Table, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Wellington, New 
Zealand. 
OAS. 1991. Chapter 2: Natural hazard risk reduction in project formulation and evaluation, Part E: Principles of 
Economic Analysis. In Primer on Natural Hazard Management in Integrated Regional Development Planning
Organization of American States: Washington, DC. 
Parker, D. J., Green, C. H., Thompson, P.M. 1987. Urban flood protection benefits: A project appraisal guide. 
Aldershot: Gower Technical.  
Penning-Rowsell, E.C., Chatterton, J.B. 1977. The benefits of flood alleviation: A manual of assessment 
techniques. Saxon House Press: Farnborough.  
Penning-Rowsell, E.C. et al. 1992. The economics of coastal management: A manual of benefit assessment 
techniques. Belhaven Press: London and Florida.  
Pereira, J. 1995. Costs and benefits of disaster mitigation in the construction industry. Caribbean Disaster 
Mitigation Project. Organization of American States: Washington DC. 
Pulehetoa, S. January 2004. Tropical Cyclone Heta: Niue Meteorological Service Report. Niue Meteorological 
Service, Niue.  
Queensland Government, Department of Emergency Services and Emergency Management Australia. 2002. 
Disaster loss assessment guidelines. Queensland Government, Department of Emergency Services and 
Emergency Management Australia. 
Shorten, G.G, et al. 2003. Catastrophe insurance pilot project, Port Vila, Vanuatu: Developing risk-management 
options for disasters in the Pacific Region. World Bank, AusAID, South Pacific Applied Geoscience 
Commission. 
Smith, D. August 2000. Report on the methodology used in development of Comprehensive National Disaster 
Management Programmes for Tuvalu and Vanuatu. South Pacific Disaster Reduction Programme: Suva, Fiji 
Islands. 
Smyth, A. et al. 2004. Probabilistic benefit-cost analysis for earthquake damage mitigation: Evaluating measures 
for apartment houses in Turkey. Earthquake Spectra. 20 (1): 171-203, February 2004.  Earthquake 
Engineering Research Institute: Oakland, CA. 
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                     Research Report:  Economic Impact of Natural Disasters on Development in the Pacific
 
 
 
Another USP Solution                                                                    48 
SOPAC. 2004. Implementing the Yokohama Strategy and Plan of Action: Pacific Islands Regional Progress 
Report (1994-2004). SOPAC Technical Report 379. South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission: Suva, Fiji 
Islands.  
SOPAC. 2004. Draft review of the Niue disaster management arrangements: Preliminary report prepared for the 
Niue National Government. South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission: Suva, Fiji Islands. 
SOPAC. 2002. Regional Comprehensive Hazard and Risk Management Guidelines. South Pacific Applied 
Geoscience Commission: Suva, Fiji Islands. 
SPDRP. 1998. Guidelines for community vulnerability analysis: An approach for Pacific Island Countries. South 
Pacific Disaster Reduction Programme: Suva, Fiji Islands. 
Tafea Disaster Committee. March 2004. Cyclone Ivy Disaster Report, Second Draft. Tafea Disaster Committee, 
Tanna, Vanuatu. 
Taylor, A. May 2000. The social and psychological impacts of the fatal fire at Motufoua Secondary School on 9 
March 2000. Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.  
Tuvalu Government. Extent of land/coastal erosion and damage to seawalls caused by Cyclones Gavin and Heta 
and the estimate cost for rehabilitation. Unpublished report. 
Tuvalu Government. January 1998. Reassessment report on the situation on Niulakita Island after Cyclone Keli 
on 13 January, 1998. Damage Assessment Team, National Disaster Committee, Tuvalu.  
Tuvalu Government. June 1997. Report on the extent of damage of Tropical Cyclone Keli. Damage Assessment 
Team, National Disaster Committee, Tuvalu.  
Tuvalu Government. 1999. Tuvalu national accounts. Unpublished report. 
Tuvalu Ministry of Health. 2002. Annual Report 2002. Ministry of Health, Funafuti, Tuvalu. 
Tuvalu National Disaster Committee. 1997. Tuvalu National Disaster Plan. National Disaster Committee, Prime 
Minister’s Department, Funafuti, Tuvalu. 
Vanuatu Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. April 2004. Food crop damage verification mission. 
Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Port Vila, Vanuatu. 
Vanuatu NDMO. June 2004. Draft Cyclone Ivy Disaster Report. National Disaster Management Office, Port Vila, 
Vanuatu. 
Vanuatu NDMO. June 2004. Disaster relief response operation Ivy Final Report. National Disaster Management 
Office, Port Vila, Vanuatu. 
Vanuatu NDMO. 2004. National Disaster Management Office Corporate Plan 2004-2006. National Disaster 
Management Office, Port Vila, Vanuatu. 
Vanuatu NDMO. December 2002. Storm disaster relief response operation, Tanna Island: Final Report. National 
Disaster Management Office, Port Vila, Vanuatu. 
Vanuatu PWD. April 2004. Cyclone Ivy 2004: Infrastructure assessment report. Public Works Department, Port 
Vila, Vanuatu. 
Venton, C. C., Venton, P. 2004. Disaster preparedness programmes in India: A cost-benefit analysis. 
Humanitarian Practice Network, Number 14. Overseas Development Institute: London.  
Vermeiren, J., Stichter, S., Wason, A. 1998. Costs and benefits of hazard mitigation for building and infrastructure 
development: A case study in small island developing states. Caribbean Disaster Mitigation Project, 
Organization of American States: Washington DC.  
 
 
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APPENDIX 1 
Details of Meetings during Country Visits to Fiji, Niue, Tuvalu and Vanuatu 
 
 
 
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                     Appendix 1:  Meetings  
 
 
 
2                                    
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                     Appendix 1:  Meetings  
 
Details of Meetings during Country Visits to Fiji, Niue, Tuvalu and Vanuatu 
 
 
Fiji 
Biman Prasad, Atu Kaloumaira and Emily McKenzie held meetings with the following people in Suva: 
 
Name 
Position 
Department / Organisation 
Mr. Tui Fagalele 
Principal Research Officer  National Disaster Management Office 
Mr. Sakiusa Tubuna 
Acting Chief Economist 
Department of Agriculture 
Ms. Nilima Lal 
Manager 
Economic Statistics Division, Bureau of Statistics  
Mr. Vula Vakacegu 
Deputy Chief Executive 
Officer 
Public Works Department 
Dr. Lesi Korovavala 
Acting Chief Executive 
Officer 
Ministry of Home Affairs, Immigration and 
National Disaster Management 
Mr. Joeli Rokovada 
Director  
National Disaster Management Office 
Ms. Asenaca Bainivualiku 
Research Officer  
Department of Education 
Ms. Manisha Prakash 
Statistics Officer 
Department of Education 
  
Atu Kaloumaira and Emily McKenzie visited Labasa on the island of Vanua Levu during 15-16 March 2005.    
Meetings were held with the following people during the visit: 
 
Name 
Position 
Department / Organisation 
Mr. Pita Betevua 
Acting Divisional Education Officer (Northern) 
Department of Education 
Mr. Ken McIntosh 
Manager 
Fiji Sugar Corporation 
Ms. Sharma Nand 
Labasa Town Clerk 
Labasa Town Council 
Mr. Tomasi Ledua 
Water Supply Supervisor 
Public Works Department 
Mr. Hemant Charan 
Hydrology Officer 
Public Works Department 
Mr. A.Q. Yucogo 
Hydraulics Officer Public 
Works 
Department 
Mr. Rama Panikar 
Water Supply Officer Public 
Works 
Department 
Dr. Ami Chandra 
Director Health Services (Northern) 
Department of Health 
Mr. Kalisito Biaukula 
Principal Agricultural Officer (Northern) 
Department of Agriculture 
Mr. Rajendra Raj 
Senior Officer for Land Use (Northern) 
Department of Agriculture 
 
Emily McKenzie visited Nabouciwa village in Nakelo, Tailevu, on 7 February 2005 to view a comprehensive 
flood mitigation and village planning project.  Meetings were held with the village community in Nabouciwa, 
Lagisoa Delana one of the community leaders who was involved with the flooding mitigation project, and 
Eliki Malodali a Provincial Government Officer in Nausori.  
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                     Appendix 1:  Meetings  
 
Niue 
Biman Prasad, Atu Kaloumaira and Emily McKenzie visited Niue during 21-25 February 2005. Meetings 
were held with the following people during the visit (including meetings in Nadi, Fiji and Samoa during the 
travel to and from Niue): 
 
Name 
Position 
Department / Organisation 
Mr. Rajendra Prasad 
Director  
Fiji Meteorological Service 
Mr. William Paterson 
Lead Highway Engineer 
World Bank 
Ms. Sisilia Talagi 
Secretary to Government 
Prime Minister’s Office 
Mr. Deve Talagi 
Director 
Department of Works 
Mr. Crossley Tatui 
Head 
Department of External Affairs 
Ms. Ida Talagi-Hekesi 
Director 
Department of Tourism 
Mr. Sionetasi Pulehetoa 
Manager 
Niue Meteorological Service 
Mr. Brandon Pasisi 
Director 
Department of Agriculture, Forestry 
and Fisheries 
Mr. Sauni Tongatule 
Director 
Department of Environment 
Mr. Sunloy Liuvaie 
Economist 
Department of Economic Planning, 
Development and Statistics 
Ms. Maria Tongatule 
Acting Chief of Police 
Police Department 
Mr. Robert Tongiamana 
Police Chief / National Disaster 
Management Officer 
Police Department 
Ms. Tiva Toeono 
Director 
Department of Education 
Dr. Asu Pulu 
Acting Director 
Department of Health 
Mr. Pita Vakaafi 
Environmental Health Officer 
Department of Health 
Ms. Ketiligi Feveti 
Principal Nurse Officer 
Department of Health 
Mr. Bob Talagi 
Manager Health Services  
Department of Health 
Mr. David Poihega  
Climate Change Project 
Coordinator 
Department of Finance 
Ms. Sonya Talagi 
Member 
Chamber of Commerce 
Mr. Steve Jefferson 
Member 
Chamber of Commerce 
Mr. Terry Coe 
Member  
Chamber of Commerce 
Dr. Giovanni Deodato 
WHO Representative 
World Health Organization 
Mr. Taito Nakalevu 
Climate Change Adaptation 
Officer 
South Pacific Regional Environment 
Programme 
 
 
  
 
 
4                                    
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                     Appendix 1:  Meetings  
 
Tuvalu 
Emily McKenzie visited Tuvalu 25 November – 7 December 2004.  Meetings were held with the following 
people during the visit: 
 
Name 
Position 
Department / Organisation 
Mr. Sumeo Silu 
Disaster Coordinator 
National Disaster Management Office  
Dr. Tekaai Nelesone 
Director 
Department of Health 
Ms. Lillian Falealuga 
Secretary General 
Tuvalu Red Cross 
Mr. Tomu Hauma 
Training Officer 
Tuvalu Association of NGOs (TANGO) 
Mr. Itaia Lausaveve 
Director 
Department of Agriculture 
Mr. Mataio Tekinene 
Director 
Department of Environment 
Mr. Pusinelli Laafai 
Acting Secretary 
Department of Works and Energy 
Ms. Valisi A. Tovia 
Curriculum Officer (Acting 
Director) 
Department of Education 
Ms. Temukisa Hauma 
Head Teacher 
Nauti Primary School 
Mr. Ampelosa Tehulu 
Deputy Director Public 
Works 
Department 
Mr. Kelesoma Saloa 
Coordinator 
International Waters Programme 
Mr. Panapasi Nelesone  Secretary to Government 
Office of the Prime Minister 
Mr. Niko Apinelu 
Research Officer 
Fisheries Department 
Mr. Taukiei Kitara 
Project Officer 
TANGO 
Ms. Hilia Vavae 
Director  
Meteorological Department 
Ms. Hellani Tumua 
Administrative Officer 
AusAID 
Mr. Malie Lototele 
Director  
Economic Research and Policy Division, 
Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning 
Mr. Kilisimasi Setoga 
Health Statistician 
Department of Health 
Mr. Tupulaga Poulasi 
Fisheries Officer 
Department of Fisheries 
Mr. Satalaka Petaia 
Manager 
National Fisheries Corporation of Tuvalu  
Mr. Tuilava S. Uofa 
Fisheries Information Officer 
Department of Fisheries 
Mr. Levi Telii 
Asset Manager (Acting Deputy 
Director) 
Public Works Department 
5                                    
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                     Appendix 1:  Meetings  
 
6                                    
Vanuatu 
Biman Prasad, Atu Kaloumaira and Emily McKenzie visited Vanuatu 4 – 11 November 2004. Meetings were 
held with the following people during the visit: 
 
Name 
Position 
Department / Organisation 
Mr. Steven Tahi 
Director General 
Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources 
Mr. Sylvain Kalsakau 
 
Reserve Bank of Vanuatu 
Mr. Pedro Loughman 
Acting Director 
Agriculture Department 
Mr. Job Esau 
Director 
National Disaster Management Office 
Mr. Holi Simon 
Secretary General 
Vanuatu Red Cross 
Mr. Chris Ioan 
 
Department of Geology, Mines and Water Resources 
Mr. Erickson Sammy 
Hydrologist 
Department of Geology, Mines and Water Resources 
Mr. Tony Tevi 
Water Resources 
Planner 
Department of Geology, Mines and Water Resources 
 
 
Department of Finance and Economic Planning 
Mr. Kalparam Gershom  Engineer 
Department of Rural Water Supply 
Mr. Alick Daniel 
 
Department of Rural Water Supply 
Mr. James Selwyn 
Planning Officer 
Department of Planning 
Mr. Johnson 
Director  
Public Works Department 
Mr. Willie Watson 
 
Public Works Department 
Mr. Dennis Alvos 
 
Public Works Department 
Mr. Kensy Josef 
 
Public Works Department 
Mr. Jimmy Mangawai 
 
IFIRA Wharf & Stevedoring 1994 Ltd 
Mr. James Selwyn 
 
Physical Planning Office 
Mr. Jerry Sampson 
 
Physical Planning Office 
Mr. Koran Wilfred 
 
Ministry of Trade, Industries, Foreign Affairs and Tourism 
Mr. Avio Niki Roberts 
Senior Planner 
Ministry of Trade, Industries, Foreign Affairs and Tourism 
Mr. Anthony Brown 
 
Law student – ex-director of National Disaster 
Management Office in the Cook Islands 
 
 
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APPENDIX 2 
Inventory of Relevant Documents in Fiji, Niue, Tuvalu and Vanuatu 
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                                                                                                      Appendix 2: Inventory of Relevant Documents 
 
 
2                            
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                                                                                                      Appendix 2: Inventory of Relevant Documents 
 
 
Inventory of Relevant Documentary Materials 
Fiji  
Asre, G. 2003. Drainage Rehabilitation and Upgrading of Existing Drainage: Report prepared on damage caused 
by Cyclone Ami. Labasa Town Council, Fiji Islands.  
Biaukula, K. 2003. MASLR Report: Northern Division TC Ami Situational Updates on Crop, Livestock and 
Infrastructures Damage. Department of Agriculture, Labasa, Fiji Islands. 
Bureau of Statistics. September 2004. Key Statistics. Bureau of Statistics, Suva, Fiji Islands. 
Department of Health. 2003. Cyclone Ami Progress Report. Department of Health, Labasa, Fiji Islands. 
Department of Regional Development and Multi-Ethnic Affairs. March 1997. Cyclone Gavin Damage Report. 
Cabinet Memorandum.  Department of Fijian Affairs, Regional Development and Multi-Ethnic Affairs, Suva, 
Fiji Islands. 
Department of Regional Development. January 1993. Tropical Cyclone Kina and Severe Flooding: Final Report. 
Department of Regional Development, Suva, Fiji Islands.  
Department of Regional Development. December 1992. Tropical Cyclone Joni. Department of Regional 
Development, Suva, Fiji Islands.  
Ministry of Health. July 1999. Disaster Management Plan. Ministry of Health, Suva, Fiji Islands. 
National Disaster Management Council. January 1995. Fiji National Disaster Management Plan. National Disaster 
Management Council, Suva, Fiji Islands. 
Natural Disaster Management Act 1998. 
NDMO. 2004. Interim Report on Flood (TD10F) 2004. National Disaster Management Office, Ministry of Home 
Affairs, Immigration and National Disaster Management, Suva, Fiji Islands.  
NDMO. June 2003. Report on Kadavu Flashflood Survey Verification. National Disaster Management Office, 
Ministry of Regional Development, Suva, Fiji Islands. 
NDMO. April 2003. Report on Tropical Cyclone Ami. National Disaster Management Office, Ministry of Regional 
Development, Suva, Fiji Islands.  
NDMO. January 2003. Tropical Cyclone Ami: Aerial Surveillance Photos. National Disaster Management Office, 
Ministry of Regional Development, Suva, Fiji Islands. 
NDMO. 2003. Tropical Cyclone Ami: Cabinet Paper Appendices.  National Disaster Management Office, Ministry 
of Regional Development, Suva, Fiji Islands. 
PWD. 2003. Public Works Department Report on Expenditure on Cyclone Ami. Public Works Department, 
Labasa, Fiji Islands.  
 
 
Niue  
Department of Tourism. January-June 2004. Niue Tourism Report. Department of Tourism, Niue.  
Forbes, D. 1996. Coastal Geology and Hazards of Niue. SOPAC Technical Report 233. South Pacific Applied 
Geoscience Commission. 
New Zealand Meteorological Service. 1986. The climate and weather of Niue. New Zealand Meteorological 
Service, Wellington, New Zealand. 
Niue Meteorological Service. June 2000. Niue Island Initial National Communication: United Nations Framework 
Convention on Climate Change. Niue Climate Change Project, Niue Meteorological Service, Niue. 
Niue Private Sector Task Force Group.  January 2004. Private Sector Post Cyclone Reconstruction Proposal. 
Private Sector Task Force, Niue. 
Premier’s Department. April 2004. Cyclone Heta Recovery Plan. Economic Planning, Development and Statistics, 
Premier’s Department, Government of Niue.  
Premier’s Department. 2004. National Impact Assessment Report of Cyclone Heta, Second Draft. Economic 
Planning, Development and Statistics, Premier’s Department, Government of Niue. 
Pulehetoa, S. January 2004. Tropical Cyclone Heta: Niue Meteorological Service Report. Niue Meteorological 
Service, Niue.  
SOPAC. 2004. Draft Review of the Niue Disaster Management Arrangements: Preliminary Report prepared for 
the Niue National Government. South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission.  
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                                                                                                      Appendix 2: Inventory of Relevant Documents 
 
4                            
 
Tuvalu  
Ministry of Health. 2002. Annual Report 2002. Ministry of Health, Government of Tuvalu, Funafuti, Tuvalu. 
National Disaster Committee. 1997. Tuvalu National Disaster Plan. National Disaster Committee, Prime Minister’s 
Department, Funafuti, Tuvalu. 
Nelesone, T., Durrheim, D., Speare, R. 2003. Tuvalu Outbreak Manual. Ministry of Health, Government of Tuvalu, 
Funafuti, Tuvalu. 
Smith, D. August 2000. Report on the Methodology used in development Comprehensive National Disaster 
Management Programmes for Tuvalu and Vanuatu. South Pacific Disaster Reduction Programme. 
Taylor, A. May 2000. The social and psychological impacts of the fatal fire at Motufoua Secondary School on 9 
March 2000. Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.  
Tuvalu Government. Extent of land/coastal erosion and damage to seawalls caused by Cyclones Gavin and Heta 
and the estimate cost for rehabilitation.  
Tuvalu Government. January 1998. Reassessment Report on the situation on Niulakita Island after Cyclone Keli 
on 13 January, 1998. Damage Assessment Team, National Disaster Committee, Tuvalu.  
Tuvalu Government. June 1997. Report on the extent of damage of Tropical Cyclone Keli. Damage Assessment 
Team, National Disaster Committee, Tuvalu.  
Tuvalu Government. 1999. Tuvalu National Accounts.  
 
 
Vanuatu  
Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. April 2004. Food Crop Damage Verification Mission. 
Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Port Vila, Vanuatu. 
National Disaster Management Office. June 2004. Draft Cyclone Ivy Disaster Report. National Disaster 
Management Office, Port Vila, Vanuatu. 
National Disaster Management Office. June 2004. Disaster Relief Response Operation Ivy Final Report. National 
Disaster Management Office, Port Vila, Vanuatu. 
National Disaster Management Office. 2004. National Disaster Management Office Corporate Plan 2004-2006. 
National Disaster Management Office, Port Vila, Vanuatu. 
National Disaster Management Office. December 2002. Storm Disaster Relief Response Operation, Tanna 
Island: Final Report. National Disaster Management Office, Port Vila, Vanuatu. 
Nelson, R. June 2002. Capacity Building for the development of Adaptation Measures in Pacific Island Countries. 
CBDAMPIC Project, Vanuatu. 
PWD. April 2004. Cyclone Ivy 2004: Infrastructure Assessment Report. Public Works Department, Port Vila, 
Vanuatu.  
Tafea Disaster Committee. March 2004. Cyclone Ivy Disaster Report, Second Draft. Tafea Disaster Committee, 
Tanna, Vanuatu.  
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Appendix 3 
Natural Disasters in the Pacific Island Region, 1994 – 2004 
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                                                                                                                                    Appendix 3:  Disasters in the Pacific Region 
 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2 
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                                                                                                                                    Appendix 3:  Disasters in the Pacific Region 
 
Natural Disasters in the Pacific Island Region, 1994 – 2004 
 
Year 
Location 
Disaster Type 
Population 
Affected 
Lives lost 
Estimated cost 
Notes 
1994 
Papua New Guinea: 
Rabaul 
Volcano 
50,000 
 
Buried much of Rabaul Town 
Fiji
Tropical 
Cyclone
Thomas 
Minor 
damage
 
Niue 
Drought 
1,200 
 
NZ$ 2 million 
Major crop losses 
1995   
 
   
 
Fiji
Tropical 
Cyclone
Gavin 
3,500
25
US$ 
18.3 
million
 
 
Vanuatu 
Volcanic eruption 
 
 
 
Environmental damage 
1996 
Papua New Guinea: 
Manam I Madang 
Volcano 3,000   
17
 
Fiji 
Tropical 
Cyclone
June 
Minor 
damage
 
Papua New Guinea  Landslide 
 
38 
 
 
 
Palau 
Bridge collapse 
 
 
US$ 7.2 million 
Affected transport between major islands 
Niue
Bushfires 
100
NZ$ 
50,000
Forestry 
damage 
Vanuatu
Tropical 
Cyclone
Beti 
 
 
Vt 3 million 
Damaged shelters and food gardens 
1997  
Papua New Guinea: 
Milne Bay 
Tropical Cyclone 
Justine 
15,000 
 
Housing and crop damage on atoll islands mainly 
 
Papua New Guinea: 
Nationwide 
El Nino Drought 
3,158,961 
380 
US$ 80 million + 
 
 
Solomon Islands 
El Nino Drought 
 
 
 
 
 
Fiji 
El Nino Drought 
400,000 
 
US$ 60 million 
Agriculture in 75% of the country affected.  Impact on food 
and water supplies, schools etc. 
Fiji
Tropical 
Cyclone
Gavin 
14,000 
US$ 26 million 
Building and crop damage 
Tonga
Tropical 
Cyclone
Hina 
 
 
T$ 18.2 million 
Building and crop damage 
Tonga
Tropical 
Cyclone
Ron 
500 
 
T$ 1.1 million 
Housing and building damage on Niuafo’ou Island 
Guam
Typhoon
   
 
  
 
 
 
 
  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
   
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                3 
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                                                                                                                                    Appendix 3:  Disasters in the Pacific Region 
 
Year 
Location 
Disaster Type 
Population 
Affected 
Lives lost 
Estimated cost 
Notes 
 
Federated States of 
Micronesia 
Typhoon  
   
 
1998 
Papua New Guinea: 
Ramu R, Madang 
Floods 
 
 
 
 
38,000
28
 
Papua New Guinea: 
Sepik R. East Sepik 
Floods 
 
 
 
 
23,000
0
 
Papua New Guinea: 
Aitape, Sandaun 
Tsunami 
   
 
 
12,427
2,227
Samoa 
Tropical 
Cyclone
Tui 
1,143 
SAT 2,506,602 
6 houses damaged, power and communications disrupted, 
Food crops destroyed 
Samoa
Drought 
and
bushfire 
 
 
SAT 402,722 
Forests and agricultural crops destroyed 
Tonga
Tropical 
Cyclone
Cora 
77,000 
 
T$ 19.6 million 
Housing and agricultural sector damage 
Niue
Tropical 
Cyclone
Dovi 
100 
 
NZ$ 1 million 
Structural damage to wharf only 
Vanuatu
Tropical 
Cyclone
Katrina 
 
 
Vt 800 million 
Housing and schools, agriculture, water supply and health 
facilities 
 
Federated States of 
Micronesia 
El Niño Drought 
103,000 
 
 
Water supplies and agriculture affected 
 
Marshall Islands 
El Niño Drought 
 
 
 
 
Tuvalu 
Drought 
10,000
AU$ 
1.5 
million
1999 
Papua New Guinea: 
Mid Fly, Western 
Floods 
 
 
 
10,000
 
Fiji 
Tropical 
Cyclone
Dani 
2,000 
12 
US$ 2 million 
Housing, business, agriculture damage – mainly by flooding 
Vanuatu
Tropical 
Cyclone
Ela 
28,600 
Vt 700 million 
Housing, agriculture, schools and health facilities damage 
Vanuatu
Earthquake &
Tsunami 
5,000 
10 
 
Housing and crop damage from earthquake, tsunami and 
landslides 
2000 
Papua New Guinea: 
Pangia, S 
Highlands 
Thunderstorms 
400+ 
 
Houses and gardens destroyed 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
   
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                4 
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                                                                                                                                    Appendix 3:  Disasters in the Pacific Region 
 
Year 
Location 
Disaster Type 
Population 
Affected 
Lives lost 
Estimated cost 
Notes 
 
Papua New Guinea: 
Laloki, Central 
Floods 
 
  
 
1,000
Food 
gardens 
destroyed
 
Papua New Guinea: 
Bougainville & 
Buka, N Solomons 
Tsunami & Flood 
1,600 
 
 
Houses and food gardens destroyed 
 
Papua New Guinea: 
E New Britain 
Earthquake 
100,000 
 
Kina 14 million 
Infrastructure and property damage 
 
Papua New Guinea: 
W New Britain 
Volcanic Ash Fall 
3,750 
 
 
House and crop destruction 
 
Papua New Guinea: 
S Highlands 
Floods 
 
  
 
16,000
Destruction 
of 
infrastructure
 
Papua New Guinea: 
Bereina, Central 
Floods 
 
  
 
500+
 
Papua New Guinea: 
Morobe 
Landslide   
   
 
5
2
 
Papua New Guinea: 
Long I, Madang 
Flood 
 
  
 
1,900
Fiji 
Coup 
and
subsequent mutiny  
Tonga
Tropical 
Cyclone
Mona 
65,000 
 
T$ 4.2 million  
Agriculture damage 
Vanuatu
Tropical 
Cyclone
Iris 
 
 
 
Housing and agriculture damage 
Fiji
Floods
5,000
4
Minor 
damage
2001 
Papua New Guinea: 
Mumeng, Morobe  
Floods 
 
  
 
400
Infrastructure 
destroyed
 
Papua New Guinea: 
Madang Town 
Explosion 
(Contaminated 
kerosene) 
60+     
 
5
Vanuatu
Tropical 
Cyclone
Paula 
 
 
Housing and agriculture damage 
Fiji
Tropical 
Cyclone
Paula Storm Surge 
7,000
1
Housing 
damage
 
   
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
   
 
   
 
 
 
 
 
   
       
 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                5 
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                                                                                                                                    Appendix 3:  Disasters in the Pacific Region 
 
Year 
Location 
Disaster Type 
Population 
Affected 
Lives lost 
Estimated cost 
Notes 
 
 
 
Tonga
Tropical 
Cyclone
Paula 
20,000 
 
T$ 700,000 
Tourist resort damage 
 
Vanuatu 
Volcanic eruption 
1,700 + 
 
 
Water supply contamination, respiratory problems, crop 
damage 
Samoa
Floods
5,000 
directly,
28,000 
indirectly 
 
SAT 11 million 
Houses and commercial buildings damaged.  Lifelines (roads, 
bridges, water supply, hydro power stations) damaged and 
supplies interrupted. 
Palau
Tropical 
Cyclone
Utor 
11,000 
 
US$ 4 million 
Homes destroyed, communications, transportation and 
utilities systems disrupted 
Tonga
Tropical 
Cyclone
Waka 
68,000 
 
T$ 104 million 
470 houses destroyed.  Food supplies, power system health 
and sanitation damage 
 
Tuvalu 
Boarding school fire  36 
18 
AU$ 500,000 
Affected almost every family in the country 
Guam
Earthquake 
 
 
2002 
Papua New Guinea: 
Wewak, East Sepik 
Earthquake 
   
 
 
5,000
4
Building 
damage
 
Papua New Guinea: 
Mt Pago, W New 
Britain 
Volcano 
13,000 
 
 
Lifelines disrupted, major bridge destroyed by mudflow, 
homes affected by flooding.  Major evacuations affected 
agriculture. 
 
Papua New Guinea: 
Ramu R, Madang 
Floods     
 
Houses 
affected
 
Papua New Guinea: 
Wantuat, Morobe 
Earthquake & 
Landslide 
138    
 
36
Village 
destroyed
 
Papua New Guinea: 
Milne Bay 
Mild El Nino drought  35,000 
 
 
Reduced food security 
 
Vanuatu 
Hailstorm 
3,000 
 
Vt 800 million 
500 houses destroyed.  Agricultural, infrastructure and water 
supply damage 
 
Federated States of 
Micronesia 
Tropical Cyclone 
Mitag 
8,000 
 
 
Damage to housing and agriculture 
Guam 
Tropical 
Cyclone
Pongsona 
 
Federated States of 
Micronesia 
Tropical Cyclone 
Chata’an 
1,000 
47 
 
Damage to housing and crops.  Many landslides 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                6 
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                                                                                                                                    Appendix 3:  Disasters in the Pacific Region 
 
Year 
Location 
Disaster Type 
Population 
Affected 
Lives lost 
Estimated cost 
Notes 
 
 
 
Guam
Tropical 
Cyclone
Chata’an 
1,600 
 
US$ 60 million 
Damage to housing, agriculture and utilities 
 
Vanuatu 
Earthquake 
1,100 
 
 
Housing, schools and churches damaged 
 
Tuvalu 
Tidal surge 
50 
 
AU$ 20,000 
Flooded all low lying areas 
2003 
Papua New Guinea: 
Sepik R, E Sepik 
Floods 
 
 
4,365
 
 
Tuvalu 
Tropical 
Cyclone
Ami 
27
AU$ 6,000
Coastal 
damage
Solomon 
Islands:
Rennell & Bellona 
Tropical Cyclone 
Beni 
2,010 
 
 
Housing and agriculture damage 
Fiji 
Tropical 
Cyclone
Ami 
60,000 
15 
FJ$104.4 million 
Housing, infrastructure and agriculture damage 
 
New Caledonia 
Tropical Cyclone 
Erica 
1,000 + 
 
 
Housing and agriculture damage 
Solomon 
Islands:
Tikopia and Anuta 
Tropical Cyclone 
Zoe 
1,678 
 
 
Housing, schools, clinics and agriculture damaged. Water 
supplies affected 
Tonga 
Tropical 
Cyclone
Eseta 
15,000 
 
T$ 1.9 million 
Housing, harbour facilities and resort damage 
 
Papua New Guinea: 
S. Highlands 
Landslide 
 
13 
 
Housing and crop damage 
 
Papua New Guinea: 
Bukawa, Morobe 
Floods 
 
  
 
1,197
 
Papua New Guinea: 
Madang Town 
Internally displaced  13,000 
 
 
 
 
Federated States of 
Micronesia 
Tropical Cyclone 
Lupit 
2,000 
 
 
Damage to housing, water supplies and crops 
American 
Samoa
Floods 
and
landslides 
2004 
Papua New Guinea: 
Simbu 
Landslides 
 
 
 
Highlands Highway – the main transport link – disrupted.  
Cash crop movement stopped 
 
   
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
   
 
 
 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                7 
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                                                                                                                                    Appendix 3:  Disasters in the Pacific Region 
 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                8 
Year 
Location 
Disaster Type 
Population 
Affected 
Lives lost 
Estimated cost 
Notes 
 
Papua New Guinea: 
Pamu R. Madang 
Markham R, 
Morobe 
Floods 
 
 
 
Major bridges destroyed or damaged.  Cash economy 
disrupted. 
 
 
 
 
 
   
Tuvalu
Fire
16
AU$ 
6,000
 
American Samoa 
Tropical Cyclone 
Heta 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Samoa
Tropical 
Cyclone
Heta 
Total 
 
SAT 90 million (US$ 
35 million) 
50+ houses destroyed, Wind damage to houses, crops, 
utilities, and coastal ecosystems.  Wave damage to roads, 
culverts and seawalls as well as depositing debris across 
roads and in coastal villages. 
 
 
 
Niue
Tropical 
Cyclone
Heta 
1,300 
NZ$37.7 million 
Whole country affected.  Damage to housing, hospital, 
commercial buildings, crops, utilities, and transport systems. 
 
Wallis & Futuna 
Tropical Cyclone 
Heta 
 
 
 
Damage to power supplies and agriculture 
 
New Zealand 
Floods 
 
 
NZ$ 180 million 
Housing, transport systems, utilities and agriculture affected 
 
 
Tonga 
Tropical 
Cyclone
Heta 
1200 
 
T$ 950,000 
Housing and agriculture sector damage 
   
Fiji
Storms 
and 
Floods 
36,500 
23 
FJ$ 3 million 
 
 
Vanuatu 
Tropical Cyclone Ivy  54,000 
VT 427.6 million 
Housing, agriculture, schools, health facilities and water 
supply system damage 
 
Federated States of 
Micronesia 
Tropical Cyclone 
Sudal 
12,000 
 
 
Damage to housing, public and commercial buildings, crops, 
utilities  
 
background image
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Appendix 4 
Tropical Cyclones in the South West Pacific, 1980-2001 
background image
 
                                                                                                     Appendix 4: Cyclones in SW Pacific 
 
 
                                                                                                                                        
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                                                                                                     Appendix 4: Cyclones in SW Pacific 
 
Tropical Cyclones in the South West Pacific, 1980-2001 
 
Season 
Dates 
Name 
Max. Intensity 
Areas Affected 
1979-1980 10-13 
Dec 
Ofa 
Storm 
Wallis, 
Niue 
 
2-5 Jan 
Peni 
Hurricane 
Southwest Viti Levu, Fiji 
 
3-5 Feb 
Rae 
Storm 
No land area 
 
12-15 Feb 
Ruth 
Gale 
No land area 
 22-28 
Feb 
Simon 
Hurricane 
Queensland 
 23-25 
Mar 
Sina 
Storm Fiji 
 26-29 
Mar 
Tia 
Storm Futuna 
 1-6 
April 
Wally 
Gale  Fiji 
1980-1981 
11-15 Jan 
Arthur 
Hurricane 
Western Viti Levu 
 
31 Jan - 3 Feb 
Betsy 
Gale 
Niue, Tonga 
 
8-14 Feb 
Cliff 
Hurricane 
Vanuatu, New Caledonia 
 
21-23 Feb 
Daman 
Storm 
Southern Cooks 
 20-23 
Mar 
Fran 
Storm Southern 
Cooks 
1981-1982 
19-27 Dec 
Gyan 
Hurricane 
West of Vanuatu 
 
25-31 Jan 
Hettie 
Hurricane 
South West Viti Levu, Fiji 
 
28 Feb - 3 Mar 
Isaac 
Hurricane 
Tonga 
1982-1983 
31 Oct – 7 Nov  
Joti 
Storm 
Vanuatu 
 
9-14 Nov 
Kina 
Gale 
No land areas 
 
10-16 Dec 
Lisa 
Storm 
South-eastern Cook Islands 
 
23-29 Jan 
Mark 
Hurricane  
Fiji 
 
26-28 Feb 
Prema 
Gale 
Northern Cooks 
 
24 Feb – 2 Mar 
Oscar 
Hurricane 
Fiji 
 
7-15 Mar 
Rewa 
Hurricane 
Tahiti and Society Islands 
 22-28 
Mar 
Nisha 
Hurricane 
Tahiti 
 24-28 
Mar 
Sarah 
Hurricane 
Fiji 
 
29 Mar – 3 Apr 
Tomasi 
Hurricane 
Niue 
 8-14 
Apr 
Veena 
Hurricane 
Tahiti 
1983-1984 28-31 
Dec 
Atu 
Gale 
 
Vanuatu 
 
14-22 Jan 
Grace 
Hurricane 
No land areas 
 
2-6 Feb 
Beti 
Storm 
New Caledonia, Loyalty Is. 
 
4-10 Feb 
Harvey 
Storm 
New Caledonia 
 16-20 
Mar 
Cyril 
Gale  Fiji 
1984-1985 26-28 
Dec 
Unnamed Gale 
Tuvalu 
 11-14 
Jan 
Drena 
Storm Tonga 
 14-21 
Jan 
Eric 
Hurricane 
Fiji 
 
14-19 Jan 
Nigel 
Hurricane 
Vanuatu, Fiji 
 
26-30 Jan 
Freda 
Hurricane 
Southern Cooks 
 3-8 
Mar 
Gavin 
Storm Fiji 
 10-18 
Mar 
Hina 
Hurricane 
Solomons, 
Fiji 
1985-1986 
5-14 Feb 
Ima 
Hurricane 
Southern Cooks 
 5-8 
Feb 
June 
Hurricane 
Tahiti 
 
8-12 Feb 
Keli 
Storm  
Vanuatu, Fiji, Tonga 
 
3-9 Feb 
Lusi 
Gale  
Vanuatu 
 
6-9 Mar 
Alfred 
Storm 
Vanuatu, Loyalty Islands 
 10-14 
Apr 
Martin 
Storm Fiji 
 15-22 
May 
Namu 
Hurricane 
Solomons 
 
1986-1987 21-25 
Nov 
Osea 
Hurricane 
Fiji 
 14-18 
Dec 
Patsy 
Storm Vanuatu 
 
22 Dec – 1 Jan 
Raja 
Hurricane 
Fiji, Futuna 
 
26 Dec – 5 Jan 
Sally 
Hurricane 
Cook Islands 
                                                                                                                                        
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                                                                                                     Appendix 4: Cyclones in SW Pacific 
 
 
15-21 Jan 
Tusi 
Hurricane 
Samoa, Southern Cooks 
 4-11 
Feb 
Uma 
Hurricane 
Vanuatu 
 6-11 
Feb 
Veli 
Gale  Vanuatu 
 
1-7 Mar 
Wini 
Hurricane 
No land areas 
 
8-12 Mar 
Yali 
Hurricane 
No land areas 
 22-26 
Apr 
Zuman 
Storm Manua 
Group 
1987-1988 
7-14 Jan 
Anne 
Hurricane 
Vanuatu, New Caledonia 
 
25 Feb – 4 Mar 
Bola 
Hurricane 
Vanuatu, Fiji 
 
28 Feb – 3 Mar 
Cilla 
Hurricane 
Rurutu, Tubai 
 8-16 
Apr 
Dovi 
Storm Vanuatu 
1988-1989 16-25 
Dec 
Eseta 
Gale 
Fiji 
 
31 Dec - 5 Jan 
Delilah 
Hurricane 
New Caledonia, Vanuatu 
 2-7 
Jan 
Fili 
Storm Niue 
 6-9 
Jan 
Gina 
Gale  Samoa 
 
8-19 Feb 
Harry 
Hurricane 
New Caledonia 
 
23 Feb – 2 Mar 
Ivy 
Hurricane 
Vanuatu, New Caledonia 
 
23-28 Feb 
Judy 
Hurricane 
Southern Cooks 
 
29 Mar – 3 Apr 
Kerry 
Storm 
Fiji, Tonga 
 
6-12 Apr 
Lili 
Hurricane 
New Caledonia 
 4-9 
May 
Meena 
Gale  Queensland 
 
6-8 May 
Ernie 
Gale 
No land areas 
1989-1990 18-20 
Dec 
Felicity  Storm 
Queensland 
Peninsula 
 
31 Jan – 3 Feb 
Nancy 
Hurricane 
Australia 
 
30 Jan – 7 Feb 
Ofa 
Hurricane 
Tuvalu, Wallis, Tokelau, Samoa, 
Tonga. Niue 
 
12-19 Feb 
Peni 
Hurricane 
Cook Islands 
 
3-8 Mar 
Hilda 
Storm 
No land areas 
 16-25 
Mar 
Rae 
Storm Rotuma, 
Fiji 
1990-1991 24-30 
Nov 
Sina 
Hurricane 
Fiji, 
Tonga 
 
7-13 May 
Lisa 
Storm 
Marginally Vanuatu 
1991-1992 14-21 
Nov 
Tia 
Hurricane 
Solomons, 
Vanuatu 
 
4-13 Dec 
Val 
Hurricane 
Tokelau, Samoa 
 
5-13 Dec 
Wasa 
Hurricane 
Northern Cooks, French Polynesia 
 14-17 
Dec 
Arthur 
Storm French 
Polynesia 
 
5-13 Jan 
Betsy 
Hurricane 
Vanuatu, New Caledonia 
 
5-9 Feb 
Cliff 
Storm 
French Polynesia 
 14-17 
Feb 
Daman 
Hurricane 
Vanuatu 
 
25 Feb – 5 Mar 
Esau 
Hurricane 
Vanuatu, New Caledonia 
 
4-15 Mar 
Fran 
Hurricane 
Wallis, Futuna, Fiji 
 
16-18 Mar 
Gene 
Storm 
Vanuatu, New Caledonia, French 
Polynesia 
 25-29 
Mar 
Hettie 
Gale  Cook 
Islands 
 
28 Apr – 2 May 
Innis 
Storm 
Southern Solomons, Vanuatu 
 
 
1992-1993 
6-13 Dec 
Joni 
Hurricane 
Tuvalu, Fiji 
 
26 Dec – 5 Jan 
Kina 
Hurricane 
Fiji, Tonga 
 
23 Dec – 5 Jan 
Nina 
Hurricane 
Australia, Solmons, Tuvalu, Wallis, 
Tonga 
 
31 Jan – 5 Feb 
Lin 
Hurricane 
Samoa 
 
4-14 Feb 
Oliver 
Hurricane 
Coral Sea 
 
5-9 Feb 
Mick 
Gale 
Tonga, Southern Fiji 
 
12-16 Feb 
Nisha 
Storm 
Southern Cooks, French Polynesia 
 15-18 
Feb 
Oli 
Gale  Fiji 
                                                                                                                                        
background image
 
                                                                                                     Appendix 4: Cyclones in SW Pacific 
 
 
24 Feb – 9 Mar 
Polly 
Hurricane 
Western New Caledonia, Eastern 
Australia 
 
25 Mar –1 Apr 
Prema 
Hurricane 
Vanuatu, New Caledonia 
 
11-21 Mar 
Roger 
Storm 
Solomons, New Caledonia 
1993-1994 
28 Dec - 20 Jan 
Rewa 
Hurricane 
Solomons, Vanuatu, New 
Caledonia 
 
20-30 Jan 
Sarah 
Hurricane 
Vanuatu, New Caledonia 
 
23-28 Feb 
Theodore 
Hurricane 
New Caledonia, Loyalty Is. 
 
20-28 Mar 
Tomas 
Hurricane 
Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Fiji 
 
24-29 Mar 
Usha 
Storm 
Solomons, New Caledonia 
1994-1995 13-18 
Nov 
Vania 
Storm 
Vanuatu 
 
1-3 Jan 
William 
Storm 
South Cook Islands 
 
3-8 Mar 
Violet 
Hurricane 
No land areas 
 
17-21 Apr 
Agnes 
Hurricane 
No land areas 
1995-1996 
16-18 Jan 
Yasi 
Gale 
No land areas 
 
28-31 Jan 
Celeste 
Storm 
No land areas 
 16-18 
Feb 
Dennis 
Gale  Queensland 
 7-13 
Mar 
Ethel 
Storm Queensland 
 
9-10 Mar 
Zaka 
Gale 
No land areas 
 
10-13 Mar 
Atu 
Gale 
No land areas 
 
20-28 Mar 
Beti 
Hurricane 
Vanuatu, New Caledonia 
1996-1997 
22-26 Nov 
Cyrill 
Gale 
No land areas 
 20-30 
Dec 
Fergus 
Hurricane 
Solomons, 
Vanuatu 
 
1-9 Jan 
Drena 
Hurricane 
New Caledonia 
 13-16 
Jan 
Evan 
Hurricane 
Samoa 
 
20 Jan –1 Feb 
Freda 
Storm 
Fiji 
 9-12 
Feb 
Gillian 
Gale  Queensland 
 
16-22 Feb 
Harold 
Storm 
No land areas 
 23-24 
Feb 
Ita 
Gale  Queensland 
 
2-12 Mar 
Gavin 
Hurricane 
Tuvalu, Fiji 
 4-22 
Mar 
Justin 
Hurricane 
Queensland 
 
12-17 Mar 
Hina 
Hurricane 
Tonga, Fiji, Futuna 
 17-19 
Apr 
Ian 
Gale  Fiji 
 3-5 
May 
June 
Storm Fiji 
 
10-15 Jun 
Keli 
Hurricane 
Tuvalu, Wallis, Northern Tonga 
1997-1998 6-12 
Oct 
Lusi 
Storm 
Fiji 
 
31 Oct – 5 Nov 
Martin 
Hurricane 
Northern Cooks, French Polynesia 
 18-21 
Nov 
Nute 
Storm Solomons 
 
 
24-28 Nov 
Osea 
Hurricane 
Northern Cooks, French Polynesia 
 
6-11 Dec 
Pam 
Hurricane 
Cook Islands 
 
1-8 Jan 
Roon 
Hurricane 
Samoa, Wallis, Tonga 
 
3-8 Jan 
Susan 
Hurricane 
Vanuatu, Fiji 
 
1 Jan - mid Feb 
Katrina 
Hurricane 
Australia 
 24-27 
Jan 
Tui 
Gale  Samoa 
 
31 Jan – 2 Feb 
Urusila 
Storm 
French Polynesia 
 
1-4 Feb 
Veli 
Storm 
French Polynesia 
 
30 Jan – 5 Feb 
Wes 
Gale 
Northern Cooks 
 17-25 
Mar 
Yali 
Hurricane 
Vanuatu 
 
 
28 Mar – 5 Apr 
Zuman 
Hurricane 
Vanuatu 
 19-27 
Apr 
Alan 
Gale  French 
Polynesia 
 
28 Apr –1 May 
Bart 
Gale 
French Polynesia 
1998-1999 
24-27 Dec 
Cora 
Hurricane 
Wallis, Futuna, Tonga 
 
15-23 Jan 
Dani 
Hurricane 
Vanuatu  
                                                                                                                                        
background image
 
                                                                                                     Appendix 4: Cyclones in SW Pacific 
 
                                                                                                                                        
 
20-23 Jan 
Olinda 
Storm 
No land areas 
 
21-25 Jan 
Pete 
Storm 
No land areas 
 
9-13 Feb 
Ella 
Gale 
Solomons, New Caledonia 
 
17-21 Feb 
Frank 
Hurricane 
New Caledonia 
 
26-27 Feb 
Gita 
Gale 
No land areas 
 11-19 
Mar 
Hali 
Hurricane 
Southern 
Cooks 
1999-2000 7-10 
Jan 
Iris 
Hurricane 
Vanuatu 
 
23-28 Jan 
Jo 
Hurricane 
No landa areas 
 
23-29 Feb 
Kim 
Hurricane 
French Polynesia 
 
5-9 Mar 
Leo 
Storm 
No land areas 
 7-13 
Mar 
Mona 
Hurricane 
Tonga 
 
15-16 Apr 
Neil 
Gale  
No land areas 
2000-2001 
20-22 Feb 
Oma 
Storm 
Southern Cooks 
 
26 Feb – 4 Mar 
Paula 
Hurricane 
Vanuatu, Fiji 
 
1-5 Mar 
Rita 
Storm 
Tuamotu Archipelago 
 5-11 
Apr 
Sose 
Storm Vanuatu 
 
background image
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
APPENDIX 5 
Floods in the Fiji Islands, 1990-2004 
background image
                                                                                                                          Appendix 5:  Floods in Fiji Islands 
 
 
 
                                                                                                                                                                                  2                             
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                                                                                                                          Appendix 5:  Floods in Fiji Islands 
 
Floods in the Fiji Islands, 1990-2004 
Date of Flood Peak 
Cyclone Intensity and Location 
Flood Description and Areas Affected 
1990, 16-30 March  
Storm Rae (16-25). Most of the 
Fiji Group affected.  Torrential 
rain fell over most parts of the 
country.  
Hurricane Sina (24-30) affected 
Southern Viti Levu and Lau. 
 
•  Shallow flooding in Vitogo Parade, Lautoka on the 
16
 
(Blong, 1994).  
•  Maximum flood level of 4.33m a.m.s.l in Nausori 
town on 22 March (PWD, 2000).  
•  Ba River flood peak recorded as 2.42m below the 
1931 peak Rarawai Mill probably flooded on the 23 
March (Yeo, 1998).   
•  Maximum flood level of 5.49m in Ba 5.93m in Nadi 
town and 3.03m in Sigatoka (all a.m.s.l and 
recorded on the 29 March).  
•  Three lives lost due to drowning in flooded rivers, 
minor damage to crops and vegetation (FMS, 
1996a).   
•  Closure of roads and bridges all over the country 
(FMS, 1997a). 
1990, 9 June 
Low-pressure system developed 
and moved over Fiji (4-5
th
). On 
the 9
th
 a second trough moved 
over the Group on the far south. 
•  Flood peak for the Ba River at Toge recorded at 
2100hrs on the 9
th
. Highest discharge rate for the 
year at Toge (PWD, 2000).  
1990 Nov 24-30 
Hurricane Sina.  Southern Fiji. 
•  Flood damages amounted to approximately (1998) 
FJ$33 million for the country (World Bank, 2000).  
 
 
 
1991 Jan 10 
Shallow low pressure passing 
southwards to the west of Viti 
Levu on the 9
th
•  Ba River flood peak recorded as 4.22m below the 
1931 peak 
F
 (Yeo, 1998).  Rarawai Mill closed due 
to flooding and the Ba Bridge was closed to all 
traffic.   
•  Flooding also noted on the King's Road at Tailevu   
•  Roads closed in Labasa (FMS, 1991). 
1991 Feb 21 
Area of low pressure drifted over 
the group from the far west. 
•  Flood peak for the Ba River at Toge recorded at 
1600hrs. Highest discharge rate for the year at 
Toge (PWD, 2000). 
1992 Dec 10-11 
Joni. (hurricane)  Yasawas, 
Mamanucas, Southwestern Viti 
Levu and Kadavu. 
•  Ba River flood peak recorded as 3.61m below the 
1931 peak 
F
 on the 10
th
 (Yeo, 1998). Flood peak 
for the Ba River at Toge recorded at 0500hrs on 
the 11
th
 
•  Maximum flood level of 3.66m a.m.s.l in Nausori 
town 
I
 on the 11
th
 (PWD, 2000). Flooding of rivers 
in Viti Levu, especially the Rewa Delta;  
•  Significant loss of livestock due to flooding (FMS, 
1997a). Flood damages amounted to 
approximately (1998) F$2 Million for the country 
(World Bank, 2000). 
 
 
 
1993 Jan 3 
Kina. (hurricane)  Yasawas, 
Northern and Eastern Viti Levu, 
Southern Vanua Levu, Lomaiviti 
and Southern Lau. 
•  Ba River flood peak recorded as 0.21m below the 
1931 peak 
F
 Rarawai Mill and entire Ba town on 
flat flooded. One drowning case was reported in 
the Ba area (Yeo, 1998). Maximum flood in Ba 
town was 6.68m a.m.s.l 
E
 
•  Maximum flood level of 4.82m a.m.s.l recorded in 
Sigatoka town which is the highest on PWD 
records 
H
  
•  Maximum flood level of 6.00m a.m.s.l in Nausori 
                                                                                                                                                                                  3                             
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                                                                                                                          Appendix 5:  Floods in Fiji Islands 
 
town 
(PWD, 2000) also highest according to 
PWD's records.  
•  Prolonged heavy rain with a combination of factors 
including high tide and heavy seas blocked mouths 
of major rivers resulting in extensive flooding 
(FMS, 1996a).  
•  Destruction of the Ba and Sigatoka Bridges; 
almost complete loss of crop in the Sigatoka, 
Navua and Nausori areas; major loss of livestock 
(FMS, 1997a).   
•  The heaviest rainfall was centred over eastern Viti 
Levu.  High runoff into the Wainimala river.  The 
Vunidawa Bridge (Wainimala) was overtopped by 
some 16m.   
•  The Kina flood in the Rewa watershed was large 
by world standards.  Peak discharge at Nausori 
was estimated at 18,000m
3
/s with just over 
15,000m
3
/s flowing under the Rewa Bridge, and 
the remainder as sheet flow over the flood plain.  
The Wainimala branch of Rewa system 
contributed over half of this with 9,000m
3
/s at its 
peak.   
•  The peak flow at Nausori may be a world record 
for a catchment of this size (2900km
2
) (Raj, 1995).  
•  Approximately $13.7 Million damage in Ba of that 
$4 Million in the Ba Commercial district and $9.7 
Million at the Rarawai Mill (Yeo, 2000a).   
•  Overall flood damage for the country amounted to 
approximately (1998) F$188 Million (World Bank, 
2000).  
1993 Feb 17 
Oli. (gale) Yasawas, Mamanucas, 
Southern Viti Levu, Kadavu and 
Ono-I-Lau.  
•  Navatu flats in the Ba area flooded. (Yeo, 1998).   
•  Some damages to bridges in the Ba and Sigatoka 
areas (FMS, 1997a). 
1993 Feb 26-27 
Active trough of low-pressure 
linked to Tropical Cyclone Polly. 
•  Ba River flood peak recorded as 1.97m below the 
1931 peak 
J
 Rarawai Mill probably flooded, Shops 
near the Ba market flooded on the 26
th
 (Yeo, 
1998).  Maximum flood in Ba town was 6.13m 
a.m.s.l 
E
 Maximum flood level of 7.06m a.m.s.l 
recorded in Nadi town, which is the second highest 
flood on record for Nadi town 
G
 on the 27
th
 (PWD, 
2000). 
•  Three lives lost; Significant damage to crops, 
property and disruption to transportation. 
 
 
 
1994 Jun 4-5 
Weak trough of low-pressure on 
2
nd
. An active trough followed 
with widespread rain on the 3
rd
 
and 4
th
•  Ba River flood peak recorded as 5.03m below the 
1931 peak 
C
 (Yeo, 1998). 
1994 Nov 13-14 
Tropical Cyclone Vania traversed 
to the west of Fiji. 
•  Severe flooding in Tailevu.  The whole valley was 
flooded causing intensive damage to vegetable 
farms.  
•  Over 100 hectares of crops and several horses 
and cattle worth over $250,000 perished during the 
flooding (FMS, 1995).  
 
 
 
 
                                                                                                                                                                                  4                             
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                                                                                                                          Appendix 5:  Floods in Fiji Islands 
 
 
1995 Jan 28-30 
Presence of troughs caused 
moderate to heavy rainfall.  
•  Floods in Naitasiri and Rakiraki.  Hundreds of 
people stranded in Naitasiri after a river 
overflowed.  Shops in Tailevu and parts of the 
Kings Road flooded (FMS, 1996b).   
•  On the 30
th
 the Ba River flood peak was recorded 
as 5.03m below the 1931 peak 
C
 (Yeo, 1998). 
Flood peak for the Ba River at Toge recorded at 
1200hrs on the 30
th
 (PWD, 2000). 
1995 Mar 16-19 
Presence of troughs caused 
moderate to heavy rainfall. 
•  Flooding in Labasa. 
•  Floods in Nadi damaging over 250 tonnes of cane 
(FMS, 1996b). 
 
 
 
1996 Feb 22 
Shallow depression moved just 
Northwest of Yasawa-i-Rara on 
the 22
nB
•  Flooding in low-lying areas around the country.  
Schools closed in Ra and parts of the Kings Road 
were inaccessible.   
•  The Naqali Bridge collapsed.  
•  A couple of bridges in the southwest tip of Vanua 
Levu were under water (FMS 1997b). 
 
 
 
1997 Jan/Feb 19-2 
Tropical Cyclones Evan and 
Freda and several other low 
pressure systems dominate Fiji's 
weather. 
•  Flood peak for the Ba River at Toge recorded at 
0800hrs on the 27
th
 (PWD, 2000). On the 1
st
 the 
Ba River flood peak was recorded as 3.57m below 
the 1931 peak 
J
 (Yeo, 1998).   
•  Traffic disruption and schools closed in the 
Western Division.   
•  Several low bridges and roads under water with an 
Irish crossing in Nadi washed away.   
•  Crushing at the Labasa and Lautoka Mills 
temporarily suspended (FMS 1998). 
1997 Feb 18-19 
Tropical Depression  
•  Severe flooding in low-lying areas and Labasa 
(FMS 1998). 
1997 Mar 8 
Gavin. (hurricane)  Yasawas, 
Mamanuca, Western Viti Levu. 
•  Ba River flood peak recorded as 0.51m below the 
1931 peak 
D, 1993
 Rarawai Mill flooded and entire 
Ba town on flats flooded.  Storm surge at Ba coast.  
One drowning recorded in the Ba area (Yeo, 
1998).  Approximately $6.0 Million damage in Ba, 
of that $2-3 Million in the Ba Commercial district 
and $3-4 Million at the Rarawai Mill (Yeo, 2000a). 
Maximum flood in Ba was 6.259m a.m.s.l 
E
  
•  Maximum flood level of 6.66m a.m.s.l recorded in 
Nadi town 
G
  
•  Maximum flood level of 3.44m a.m.s.l recorded in 
Sigatoka town 
H
 (PWD, 2000).   
•  Overall flood damages for the country amounted 
to approximately (1998)F$35 Million (World Bank, 
2000).  
•  Severe flooding in Labasa (FMS, 1997a).   
•  During the cyclone, the Wainimala and Wainibuka 
tributaries produced the most runoff in the Rewa 
system because of the high rainfalls in the 
highlands and on the northern coast.   
•  Below the confluence of the tributaries the main 
Rewa River was able to contain the maximum 
4.52m rise in water level (Terry & Raj, 1999). 
1997 April 26 
Trough of low-pressure near 
•  Flash flooding and landslides in Eastern and 
                                                                                                                                                                                  5                             
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                                                                                                                          Appendix 5:  Floods in Fiji Islands 
 
Vanua Levu. 
South-eastern parts of Viti Levu led to the 
temporary closure of parts of the Kings and 
Queens Road (FMS 1998). 
1997 May 3-5 
June. (storm)  Significant rainfall 
over most parts of the Fiji Group. 
•  During the cyclone, rainfalls were record breaking 
at Matei airport, causing localised flooding on the 
northern coast and consequent damage to 
infrastructure and property.  Local hydrologists 
reported that stream levels for the island were 
some of the highest in living memory (Terry & Raj, 
1999).   
•  Flood damages for the country amounted to 
approximately (1998) F$1 Million (World Bank, 
2000)   
 
 
 
1998 Jan 21 
Cora. (hurricane) All parts of the 
Group received heavy rainfall.  
•  Flood peak for the Ba River at Toge recorded at 
1700hrs (PWD, 2000). 
 
 
 
1999 Jan 19 
Frequent succession of westward 
moving troughs, traversing the 
country and bringing heavy rain in 
January.  On this occasion one of 
the easterly waves merged with 
the SPCZ during its southward 
migration onto Fiji, with eddies 
embedded in it, enhancing 
associated deep convective 
activity that converged over Fiji. 
•  Code named 'Manumanu' or 'The Beast'.   
•  Damage estimated in Ba town of approximately 
$15 Million, of that $7.5 Million was in the Ba 
Commercial district and $7-8 Million at the Mill 
(including $2 Million for rehabilitation bank 
protection works) (Yeo, 2000a). 
•  Damage in Nadi town estimated at $12 Million to 
the business sector and $2 Million to private 
vehicles (Yeo, 2000a). 
•  Government estimated agricultural, infrastructural 
and utilities losses at about $10 Million (Yeo, 
2000a). 
•  In another report Yeo (1999) reports losses of 
$25+ Million due to damages in the commercial 
and industrial sectors of Ba and Nadi towns.  
•  In Ba, the 1999 event was the third large flood in a 
space of six years.  
•  The three floods have left a direct damage bill of at 
least $27 Million.  The maximum flood level in Ba 
town was 6.80m a.m.s.l 
E
   
•  Maximum flood level of 7.25m a.m.s.l recorded in 
Nadi town (highest on record) 
G
  
•  Maximum flood level of 3.40m a.ms.l recorded in 
Sigatoka town 
H
 (PWD, 2000).   
•  Seven lives lost; $F8 Million allocated by the 
Government in relief funding.   
•  Severe flooding in Labasa (FMS Reports). 
1999 Jan 28-29 
Westward moving troughs, 
traversing the country. 
•  Flash flood; Nadi worst hit;  
•  Two children drown (FMS Reports). 
1999 Feb 12 
Westward moving troughs, 
traversing the country. 
•  Two brothers drown in a flooded drain in Lautoka 
(FMS, 2000a). 
1999 Apr 19-22 
Slow moving and deep low-
pressure system in the Tasman 
Sea. 
•  Flooding in low-lying areas, people and livestock 
forced to move to higher ground in the South-
eastern and Western parts of Viti Levu, this event 
coincided with 4m high sea swells and the local 
high tide (FMS, 2000a).   
1999 Sept 22-23 
SPCZ lingered to the north of 
Vanua Levu while a sub-tropical 
high-pressure system remained 
•  Flash flooding caused the closure of roads in the 
Central Division and parts of Nausori were under 
water (FMS, 2000a). 
                                                                                                                                                                                  6                             
background image
                                                                                                                          Appendix 5:  Floods in Fiji Islands 
 
                                                                                                                                                                                  7                             
south of the Group. 
1999 Dec 6-10 
Trough of low pressure prominent 
in December 
•  Flooding caused damage to infrastructure in 
Vanua Levu.   
•  Three people were reported missing in the Central 
Division, while another drowned while crossing a 
river in Rakiraki (FMS, 2000a). 
 
 
 
2000 Jan 17-24 
Two troughs drifted over Vanua 
Levu and Rotuma. Intensified into 
a Tropical Depression on 22
nd
.  
•  Two bridges washed away in the interior of Ba on 
the 17
th
 and a bridge collapsed on the 24
th
 (FMS, 
2000b). 
2000 Feb 16-18 
A weak low-pressure system  
•  Reports of flash floods on the 16
th
 with a man 
swept away in Lautoka on the 18
th
 (FMS, 2000c) 
2000 Mar 17 
Trough of low pressure extended 
over the Group from the 
Northwest, from the 15
th
 to 18
th
•  A man drowned in a flash flood in Nadi.  Flooding 
in other areas of the Western Division (FMS, 
2000d) 
2000 Apr 15-16 
Series of low-pressure systems 
developed along a trough near 
Fiji between the 3
rd
 and 16
th
. One 
of these formed into a Tropical 
Depression over the Northern 
Lau Group on the 13
th
 then  
further developed into Tropical 
Cyclone Neil on the 16
th  
Areas 
affected by the cyclone were 
mostly Kadavu and the Southern 
Lau Group. 
•  In the Macuata Province on the 15
th
, Major flood - 
Wainikoro, Bucaisau and Qawa Rivers.  Labasa 
Mill flooded.  Moderate flood - Wailevu.  Minor 
flood - Labasa River.  This flood event was clearly 
a rare event on the Lagalaga, Wainikoro, Bucaisau 
and Qawa Rivers.  Records are insufficient to 
determine whether the flood was higher than the 
1950 flood on the Wainikoro and Bucaisau Rivers.  
Though probably the highest in 50 years at the 
Labasa Mill, it was not a record there.  The 
estimated financial losses associated with flooding 
of the Macuata Province in April 2000 approached 
~F$2.85 million  (Yeo, 2001) 
•  Flooding in the Macuata Province and Northern 
Division caused damage to infrastructure and 
agriculture (FMS 2000e).
 
2000 May 2-3 
A low-pressure system developed 
along a trough over the Lomaiviti 
Group. 
•  Reports of flooding in the northern and western 
areas of Viti Levu in the first week of the month 
resulting in damages to infrastructure (FMS, 
2000f). 
2000 May 24-25 
Active trough of low pressure 
moved over the Group from the 
west. 
•  Flash flooding in Rakiraki with reports of water 
approximately 2m above the road level (FMS, 
2000f). 
2000 Jun 16-18 
SPCZ north of the Fiji Group 
moved southwards and was over 
the Group on the 16
th
•  Flash floods in Rakiraki led to a drowning incident 
(FMS 2000g).   
2000 Dec 12 
Tropical Depression passed over 
the Group from the Northwest. 
•  Flooding in the Western and Eastern Divisions.  
•  Two people drown in Rakiraki (FMS 2000h). 
2003 Tropical 
cyclone 
•  Flooding in the whole of Northern Division, 19 
people died 
2004 Heavy 
rainfall 
•  Flooding and landslide in the Western and Central 
Division 
•  10 people died 
 
 
 
 
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APPENDIX 6 
Cyclones and Storms in the Fiji Islands, 1972-2004 
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                                                                                                 Appendix 6:  Cyclones and Storms in Fiji Islands
 
 
 
 
                                                                                                                                                                                  2                             
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                                                                                                 Appendix 6:  Cyclones and Storms in Fiji Islands
 
 
 
                                                                                                                                                                                  3                             
 
Cyclones and Storms in the Fiji Islands, 1972-2004 
 
 
Year  Type of 
Disaster 
Description of 
Damage 
No of 
deaths 
Population 
Affected 
Number of 
houses lost 
Total Estimated 
Damage 
(FJ$ million) 
1972 Hurricane  Severe 
damage 
to 
central Viti Levu, 
Rotuma and Eastern 
Kadavu 
20 120,000 
4,200  $28m 
1973   3 Storms 
Moderate damage to 
parts of Vanua Levu 
and outer islands 
80 35,000 48 
$5.8m 
1975  2 Hurricanes   Mostly damages to 
outer islands 
NA 20,000 38 
$2.5m 
1977 Hurricane  Kadavu 
and 
Lau 
group 
NA 8,000  15 
$0.87m 
1978 2 
Hurricanes 
and 1 Storm 
Damage mostly 
confined to small 
islands 
NA 3,000  13 
$0.35m 
1979  1 Hurricane 
Kadavu and smaller 
islands 
53 12,000 46 
$3.8m 
1980  3 Storms 
Parts of Vanua Levu 
and Viti Levu 
22 17,000 124 
$6.9m 
1981 Hurricane  Vanua 
Levu 
and 
Navua 
5 27,000 
76 
$7.8m 
1982  Hurricane 
Damage to Viti Levu 
15,000 
38 
$0.79m 
1985  2 Hurricanes  Severe damage to 
areas in Viti Levu 
26 156,000 
6,000  $80m 
1986  2 Hurricanes  Damage to both 
Northern and 
Western Viti Levu 
1 8,600 NA 
$28m 
1990  2 Hurricanes  Damage to houses 
and crops in Viti Levu 
  
600  $72m 
1992  2 Hurricanes  Confined to Viti Levu 
 
 
 
$1.6m 
1993 Hurricane  Severe 
damage 
to 
infrastructure 
23 28,000 5,540  $200m 
1995 Hurricane  Widespread 
damage 
throughout Fiji 
25 3,500   
$36m 
1997  Drought 
Impact throughout Fiji   
40,000 
 
$120m 
1999 Hurricane  Flooding 
12 
2,000 
 
$4m 
2000 Rain 
Flooding 
 
 
 
2001 Hurricane  Storm 
surges 
 
 
$1.6m 
2003  Hurricane 
Flooding - Northern 
Division 
19  
262 
$44m 
2004 Rain 
Flash 
flood 
in 
Western and Central 
Viti Levu 
10  
 
$23m 
Total   
 
304 
495,100 
17,000 
$667m 
 
  
 
 
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APPENDIX 7 
CGE Model Assessment of Economy-wide Impact of Cyclone 
Ami in Fiji
  
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                                                                          Appendix 7:  Fiji CGE Model of Cyclone Heta Impact
 
 
 
                                                                                                                                                                   2                                     
 
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                                                                          Appendix 7:  Fiji CGE Model of Cyclone Heta Impact
 
 
 
                                                                                                                                                                   3                                     
 
CGE Model Assessment of Economy-wide Impact of Cyclone Ami in Fiji 
 
Variables 
 Percentage Change  
Private Savings 
-1.7580 
Private Consumption 
-1.7682 
Balance of payment surplus 
$101.9 (thousands of dollars) 
Total government consumption 
-1.7906 
Total government investment expenditure 
-0.6021 
Imports -0.9422 
Exports -1.0434 
Consumer price index 
-0.9514 
Investment price index 
-0.5745 
Private disposable income  
-1.7581 
VAT revenue 
-1.6056 
Income tax revenue 
-2.8122 
Company tax revenue 
-0.8766 
Production tax revenue 
-2.3473 
Excise tax revenue 
-1.6689 
Tariff revenue 
-0.7123 
Real GDP 
-0.5470 
Real GDP Deflator 
-0.0370 
Real Consumption 
-0.8140 
Real National Welfare 
-0.7050 
Labour Market 
 
Net after tax rural wage rate for unskilled labour 
-1.6273 
Net urban wage rate for unskilled labour 
-0.9555 
Wage rate for informal sector labour 
-5.5727 
Aggregate demand for informal unskilled labour 
3.2637 
Source: Narayan (2003) 
 
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APPENDIX 8 
Cyclones in Tuvalu, 1972-2003 
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                                                                                                              Appendix 8:  Cyclones in Tuvalu
 
 
 
                                                                                                                                                                   2                                     
 
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                                                                                                              Appendix 8:  Cyclones in Tuvalu
 
 
 
                                                                                                                                                                   3                                     
 
 
Cyclones Affecting Tuvalu, 1972-2003 
 
Year 
Date 
Tropical Cyclone 
Wind speed (knots) 
1972 21 
November 
Bebe 
70-100 
1990 30 
January 
Ofa 64 
1993 1 
January Nina 
55 
1997 5 
March  Gavin 
75 
1997 12 
March Hina 
50 
1997 10 
July  Keli 90 
2003 12 
January 
Ami 55 
Source: Office of the Prime Minister of Tuvalu
 
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APPENDIX 9 
Earthquakes in Vanuatu, 1880-1999 
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                                                                                                   Appendix 9:  Earthquakes in Vanuatu 
 
 
 
                                                                                                                                                                   2                                     
 
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                                                                                                   Appendix 9:  Earthquakes in Vanuatu 
                                                                                                                                                                   3                                     
 
Earthquakes in Vanuatu 
 
1880:
 The event of 1880 generated a seiche in the Port Vila Harbour that inundated extensive areas of 
the harbour islands and stranded large number of fish in the vegetated areas well above sea level. 
 
1927: Eyewitness accounts from Port Vila suggest that the largest tsunami experienced there was as a 
result of the 24
th
 January 1927 event of Ms 7.1 located on South Malekula.  The tsunami entered the 
harbour and apparently caused seiching and flooding of the shoreline up to several metres above the 
normal tide levels.  Its origin and magnitude are uncertain. 
 
1950: An event with a magnitude near 7 occurred about 100 km southwest of Efate. 
 
Between 1961 and 1978, a series of large earthquakes (Ms > 5.5) recorded in the vicinity of Efate 
ranged up to magnitude 6.0 with an isolated example of Ms 6.5. 
 
1961: A small tsunami was recorded in Port Vila harbour after the 23
rd
 July 1961 (Ms 6.0) event 100 km 
south of Port Vila. 
 
1965: On 12
th 
August 1965, an Ms 6.3 earthquake in the north of the group was felt with intensity MM7 
in Efate. 
 
1974: The 30
th
 June 1974 a Ms 5.7 earthquake occurred about 25 km south of Port Vila, resulting in 
cracks in newly constructed multi-storey buildings and rock-falls from cliffs in the city. 
 
The ORSTOM-Cornell network began operating in 1978.  According to Prevot & Chatelain (1984), only 
four earthquakes of large magnitude had been recorded in the archipelago since the inception of the 
network.  The largest one was the Mere Lava event near Santo in 1980. 
 
1979: Three events occurred to the west of Efate.  The first on the 17
th
 August (Ms 6.1) occurred 35 km 
off Efate.  It was followed nine days later by a second shock (Ms 6.0), some 20 km to the north of the 
first one. 
 
1980: The largest, 12
th
 May 1980 (Ms 6.1), was the Mere Lava event near Santo that caused relatively 
major damage but no casualties. 
 
1981: The earthquake of 15
th
 July 1981 (Ms 7.0) occurred approximately 85 km northwest of Efate and 
was reported to have caused damage in Port Vila.  This earthquake is notable for having occurred in an 
area that had not experienced any large earthquakes in the preceding 75 years.  According to Prevot & 
Chatelain each of the earthquakes was preceded by swarms around the zone where the aftershocks 
occurred, in areas of characteristically low seismicity, and even to the rear of the arc, east of Efate.  The 
swarms occurred up to eight hours before the main shock, and the aftershock zone expanded quickly 
over the following days to cover areas 5 to 10 times greater than normal earthquakes of such 
magnitude.  Thus, even though an earthquake of 7
th
 July 1981 was centred some distance offshore of 
Efate, the region of aftershocks spread onto the island itself. 
 
1999: The 26
th
 November, Mw 7.5 earthquake occurred between the northern tip of Ambrym Island and 
the south of Pentecost.  It was the largest known earthquake to be recorded in that area.  Located at a 
depth of 18 km, it induced a maximum uplift of over 1.2m at the easternmost tip of the island near 
Pamal and Ulei.  This earthquake caused felt intensities of MM6 to 7 on the Mercalli scale, and was the 
origin of a tsunami, which struck Baie Martelli in South Pentecost, which caused much damage, ten 
deaths, and several injuries in both Pentecost and Ambrym islands. 
 
Source: Shorten et al., 2003.  

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