03 May 2023, Port Vila - Ten schools on Vanuatu’s southern island of Tanna have been equipped with rainfall gauges that allow them to become part of the Vanuatu Rainfall Network (VRN) climate monitoring initiative, thanks to support from the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP)-managed project, the Climate Information Services for Resilient Development in Vanuatu Project (known locally its Bislama acronym, ‘VanKIRAP’).
In Vanuatu, like elsewhere in the Pacific Islands region, above average rainfall can cause flooding, soil erosion, crop damage and damage to infrastructure. Drought can cause crops to wither and die and water sources to dry up.
Rainfall data helps Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-hazards Department (VMGD) meteorologists and climatologists provide early warning of these two kinds of extreme hydrological events and allows VMGD to model these events to better understand the relationship between rainfall and climate change. VMGD provides these climate information-based models to sectors so that they can improve their climate resilience.
The ten schools that received rain gauge installations were Tafea College, Latan Tuhu Primary and Secondary School, Laukotai Primary School, Kona School, Lenakel Junior Secondary School, Isangel Junior Secondary School, and Imailone Primary School.
The Principal and Science Department Head of Latan Tuhu Central Primary and Secondary School, Mr. Luke Stephen Sawia, says the installation of a rainfall gauge at the school “is very useful because it helps broaden science students’ knowledge of how to read and collect rainfall data, and send it to the VMGD’s main office in Port Vila for analysis”.
The installation of the rainfall monitoring gauges followed a training workshop conducted by VMGD Climatologist Kalsuak Gorden.The workshop covered topics such as understanding rainfall patterns, the importance of Vanuatu Rainfall Network as an early warning system for remote and rural areas, how to record rain gauge data and how to maintain rainfall gauge sites to World Meteorological Organization standards.
At the launch of the VRN rain gauge at Latan Tuhu school, Principal Sawia acknowledged VMGD’s Climate Division and VanKIRAP for their initiative to install climate monitoring equipment at Tanna’s schools.
He explained that students taking part in gathering rainfall data for VRN are gaining first-hand experience of climate science that will help them make decisions about future career paths.”
The Vanuatu Klaemet Infomesen blong Redy, Adapt mo Protekt (Van-KIRAP) project is a five-year, USD 22 million project which aims to support climate resilient development in Vanuatu through the development, communication, and application of climate information services to benefit agriculture, fisheries, tourism, infrastructure, waste sectors and communities. It is funded by the Green Climate Fund and implemented by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme in partnership with the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-hazards Department, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Australian Bureau of Meteorology, and APEC Climate Center.
For more information, please contact Mr Sunny Seuseu, VanKIRAP Acting Manager, at [email protected]