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Pacific Islands Emergency Communications Enhancements

Many of the Pacific Islands lack the basic means to receive and/or distribute hazards information (watches, warnings, etc.).  Compounding this fact is the lack of available meteorological and oceanographic observations to support accurate models output to produce local forecasts, warnings, and advisories.  Terrestrial and radio (VHF/HF/FM) meteorological and emergency communication networks currently in use are inadequate.

NOAA Coastal Storms Program is funding a project to facilitate the deployment of a recent breakthrough in low cost and durable two-way communication devices, the RANET Chatty Beetle, designed for hazard warning centers to disseminate hazard messages (e.g. tsunami warnings, heavy surf, tropical cyclone warnings, etc.) to remote islands.  These devices are able to wake responsible officials to transmit these messages throughout their respective islands. 

An urgent need exists to bring all agencies and organizations operating within the Pacific Islands together to develop an interoperable communications network that can support large, medium, and small bandwidth Pacific Island users, increase efficiencies, share costs, and insure critical hazards data is received from these communities, and warning messages are received.  This project supported by CSP will conduct a series of workshops, to areas for multiple agency coordination in establishing communications requirements; take advantage of emerging communications technologies.  A later focus will be to establish an interoperable meteorological and emergency communications serving the smaller the Pacific Islands, thus strengthening their resiliency.   

Edward H.  Young, Jr.
NOAA National Weather Service Pacific Region Headquarters
Derek Ching
NOAA National Weather Service Pacific Region Headquarters