Final Project (Fall 2016) – Disaster Management in the Pacific, by Cristina Delmundo and Arian Aragaki

Educating the public about what to do in case of a disaster is the most important thing to do to improve resilience in Hawaii.   Hawaii is particularly susceptible to  coastal hazards because the state is deeply dependent on tourism, and most of the development and infrastructure in Hawaii are concentrated on or nearby the coast where is highly susceptible to flooding, coastal erosion, sea-level  rise, and coastal disasters. It is very important to plan properly in case of needing to get help or evacuate. When a disaster goes on, you need to assume that you are on your own. Awareness, preparation and response are the key to build layers of resilience. Hawaii rural areas can become difficult to access after a disaster, your neighbors would be the ones you mostly like to be communicating with and the ones who would probably help you during a disaster. Still, in Hawaii broadcasting disaster warnings to communicate with people with disabilities such as hearing impairment and blindness can be a challenge because of lacking of a better technology to address these populations. In Hawaii, sirens are still the most reliant form of   warning system in use to warn the population about a possible disaster. However, because in the past, many times the population heard false alarms, and disasters did not occur after the sirens were heard, sometimes these alerts and the sirens are not taken seriously today. According to Ward Research Incorporated, the most common source to get information about a natural disaster was through the television. About 25% of the people in the Pacific are very prepared if some type of natural disaster were about to hit the area.  The Pacific Islands Framework for Action on Climate Change and the Pacific Disaster Risk Reduction and Disaster Management Framework for Action are currently guiding the Pacific in disaster risk management as well as support in the communities. The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency (HI-EMA) help the population of Hawaii to prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters and emergencies. Still, educating the population is the best way to deal with disaster management and emergency recovery in the Pacific.  The best way to recovery after a disaster is to have members of the communities affected by the disaster to come together and help each other, in particular, rural areas that are hard to reach for after an emergency. Therefore, the University of Hawaii at Manoa is working to improve Hazard Resilience in Coastal Communities with the SEA Grant program and to communicate innovate ways to deal with the problems of climate change (University of Hawaii, 2016).

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