SUVA, Oct. 31 (Xinhua) -- The National Disaster Awareness Week was launched in Fiji on Wednesday with eight new tsunami sirens being commissioned in the capital Suva.
"Today's National Disaster Awareness Week launch is significant as it coincides with a Tsunami drill that we will witness. The last major Tsunami recorded in Fiji occurred in 1953 caused by a 6.8 magnitude earthquake," said Meleti Bainimarama, permanent secretary of the Ministry of Rural and Maritime Development, National Disaster Management and Meteorological Services, according to a press release by the Department of Information.
The tsunami network covers Suva's highly populated tsunami risk areas.
The ministry is also planning to install tsunami sirens in other parts of the country.
Bainimarama believes that all the participants involved in the tsunami drill will benefit greatly from the exercise. Lessons learned from the drill will assist their organizations in making improvement to their disaster response plans.
"Fiji has seen an increase in the number of disasters and experienced one of the most severe cyclones known, TC Winston, that took away 44 lives and cost 1.29 billion Fijian dollars (about 0.6 billion U.S. dollars) in damages," Bainimarama said.
Bainimarama added that the Fiji Meteorological Services has projected for the 2018/19 season seven cyclones to affect the Pacific region while two is anticipated to directly affect Fiji. With the two cyclones, one is expected to reach severe tropical cyclone category 5 level.
The South Pacific island nation has a population of more than 880,000.