The Societal and Environmental Impacts of Cyclone Zoë and the Effectiveness of the Tropical Cyclone Warning Systems in Tikopia and Anuta Solomon Islands December 26–29, 2002

Loti Yates, Linda, erson-Berry


Archived Article


When the full fury of Severe Category 5 Tropical Cyclone Zoë was unleashed on Tikopia and Anuta, two of the world’s smallest and most remote islands, between December 27 and 29, 2002 there was a world-wide up-welling of concern for the combined populations of less than 1800 village dwellers. Communities on the islands had been without two-way radio communication since early November and their ability to receive short-wave radio transmissions, particularly those from national and international weather services delivering tropical cyclone warning messages, was unknown. There was a very real possibility that the people had been un-warned and unprepared for Tropical Cyclone Zoë and it was feared that loss of life and property in its wake must have been significant. However, with no viable communications and limited capacity within the Solomon Islands to mount a reconnaissance mission, there was no easy way to immediately find out. When news of the fate of the islanders began to trickle out, more than a week later, it emerged that both islands had been devastated but, miraculously, everyone had survived. This paper provides a brief overview of the environmental and societal impacts of Tropical Cyclone Zoë, the efficiency of the national and international response and relief efforts, the resilience of the Tikopians and Anutans and finally, their capacity to rebuild and restore their devastated communities.