AFAP manages the Australian-Pacific Centre for Emergency and Disaster Information (APCEDI) to provide news on natural disaster events in the Asia-Pacific region and to help with rapid disaster response assessment. This was originally a communications network that was activated during a disaster to disseminate information to our Asia-Pacific NGO offices. Now APCEDI has a much wider application across the Asia-Pacific Region.

Monday, June 28, 2004


Welcome to the launch of the website for the Australian-Pacific Centre for Disaster and Emergency Information (APCEDI). APCEDI is an early warning mechanism initially designed for the Australian Foundation for the Peoples of Asia and the Pacific (AFAP) and the Foundation of the Peoples of the South Pacific International (FSPI). This mechanism was originally designed to alert the many Foundation Headquarters, Field Offices and personnel across the islands of the South Pacific of impending threats from natural disasters, namely cyclones and volcanic eruption.

The mechanism was first trialled during the eruption of Rabaul Volcano in September 1994. The Foundation’s PNG office had a number of projects and personnel in the Rabaul area. APCEDI was trialled at this time in an effort to keep these staff and the FSPI network informed of the eruption, and provide on-going support to them and overall coordination in the face this massive natural disaster that devastated Rabaul, one of the PNG’s largest cities and major ports.

Since this time, APCEDI has been used to track the numerous cyclones across the Pacific in order to keep the network’s offices and personnel informed of the situations in their countries and to act as a planning and coordination tool for disaster response. APCEDI started to reach beyond the AFAP-FSPI Network in 1997 with the tracking of Super-Cyclone Gavin, which hit Tuvalu and Fiji in March. Given the lack of information from regular news and weather services in the region, AFAP began sending APCEDI reports to the Governments of Australia, New Zealand and the United States of America as well to relevant UN and Red Cross Agencies. During Cyclone Gavin, APCEDI became a prime source of information on the storm and played a pivotal role in the rescue of Tuvalu’s main transport ship, the Nivanga II.

APCEDI reports are based on state-of-the-art meteorological and scientific data combined with direct reporting from reliable in-country sources. The APCEDI reports are written in simple, clear and non-technical language, that allows them to be a source of accessible and highly accurate information. Also APCEDI reports tend to focus on the South Pacific, which is an area largely ignored by mainstream media and under-resourced in terms of information generally. Thus, since 1997 these reports have become increasingly utilised by a wide range of government and non-Government agencies around the world for information in the Pacific region.

In 2004, AFAP in coalition with our 9 FSPI Partners in the Pacific received a Cooperation Agreement in the Emergencies Sector from AusAID. Part of the grant received under this Cooperation Agreement has been earmarked for upgrading APCEDI. As a result, this APCEDI website has been designed and will now serve as a key tool for promulgating information about Asia-Pacific disasters both in the region and worldwide.

The website uses a “blog” system that is easily updated through basic email posts. This will allow information to be both read and uploaded from anywhere that has working phone lines, permitting a high degree of flexibility. Most recent posts will be on the main page with all past postings archived in date order. Those interested in these kind of alerts can subscribe to a mailing list to receive alerts directly via e-mail. Note that the recent 2004 cyclones Heta and Ivy have been archived as an example for how this system will work.

AFAP and FSPI would like to thank AusAID for providing the funds for this website. We likewise welcome any comments for improving the website or the information it contains.

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