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Pacific Island Communities gifted with equipment to assist with disaster preparedness

[Left – Right] Soliali'i Falepo (Am. Samoa Government), H. Gingerlei Porter (UH PITD/Pacific RANET Project), Bonnelley Pau'ulu (Am. Samoa Government), Amit Sighn (Fiji Meteorological Service), Ray Tanabe (NOAA/NWS Pacific Region), ‘Ofa Fa’anunu (Tonga Meteorological Service), Christina Higa (UH TASI), Jimmy Gomoga (Papua New Guinea Meteorological Service) and Terry Atalifo (Fiji Meteorological Service).
Chatty Beetles, Drifter Buoys and EMWIN/HRIT Systems
Source: UH PITD/Pacific RANET Project media release

Honolulu, HAWAII  — The Pacific RANET Project last week presented several equipment itmes and instruments to Pacific Island Countries to assist with ongoing disaster preparedness and planning and data collection to further improve weather forecasts. 

Since 2003, the Pacific RAdio And InterNET Systems for the Dissemination of Hydro-Meteorological Information (Pacific RANET Project) has deployed various satellite and text-based communication systems for early warning alerts throughout the Pacific Region including Chatty Beetles, Emergency Managers Weather Information Network (EMWIN)/ HRIT (High Rate Information Transmission), High Frequency (HF) Radios, Alert Watcher and InReach. 


The Pacific RANET Project deployed 3 chatty beetles in American Samoa: Homeland Security in Tafuna (1), WSO Pago Pago (1) and National Park Services in Ofu.  The chatty beetle is an early warning system for all hazards primarily tsunami. 

Three (3) drifter buoys are now on the way to Pago Pago.  The deployments of these buoys will be coordinated locally with WSO Pago Pago and Port Administration. 

“The drifter buoys (drifters) are the latest addition to our family of systems and we look forward to working with the countries not just on deployment but on data use and analysis” explains Ms. H. Gingerlei Porter of the Pacific RANET Project.  The drifters measure ocean currents, sea surface temperature (SST), and barometric pressure; these observations improve weather forecasts, ocean state estimation, satellite measurements of SST, and our understanding of how the ocean transports properties, tracers, and debris. 

For EMWIN system, NOAA/NWS launched a new weather satellite (GOES-17) in March 2018 ( set to be in operational by January 2019 and in order for Pacific Island countries at large to receive satellite imagery needed for weather forecasts and other purposes our ground stations need to be upgraded to receive these broadcasts. 

For this upgrade, training will be in Fiji, January 7-11 and we are happy to have received funding support through University Cooperation for Atmospheric Services to sponsor a representative from Homeland Security to attend.  We would also like to acknowledge the support from the American Samoa Government.    


NOAA/NWS Regional Director, Mr. Ray Tanabe presented the equipment and instruments to the World Meteorological Organization Regional-V (WMO RAV) President and Director of Tonga Meteorological Services Mr. ‘Ofa Fa’anunu on behalf of its Pacific Island member countries.  Mr. Fa’anunu expressed his appreciation to the United States for the ongoing support through RANET systems and training opportunities provided to the Pacific Region over many years.  “These systems have been the lifeline for some of our remotest communities for receiving warnings and alerts” said Mr. Fa’anunu.  Representatives from the American Samoa Government Mr. Soliali'i Falepo and Ms. Bonnelley Pau'ulu accepted the equipment on behalf of American Samoa.     

The Pacific RANET Project includes organizations and experts working in research and undertakes projects to improve rural and remote communication of meteorological information. Primary support for the program is provided by the USAID Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) within its Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance. Funding is provided through an interagency agreement with the NOAA National Weather Service (NWS) International Activities Office (IAO), University Cooperation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) in Boulder Colorado, NOAA/NWS Pacific International Training Desk at the University of Hawaii at Manoa and many others.