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Keywords:

  • Cylones;
  • French Polynesia;
  • South Pacific;
  • Hydroclimates;
  • Damage;
  • Cost;
  • Prevention;
  • Preparedness;
  • Rehabilitation

The island groups of French Polynesia, which had not experienced any really devastating cyclones since the beginning of the century, were hard hit several times between December 1982 and April 1983. This paper reviews the cost of damage from these cyclones and shows how lowered public awareness of the hazard in a low-frequency area combined with the special economic conditions prevailing in the Territory to make the total cost much higher than it need have been. Ways and means of rehabilitation are analyzed. The development of the thermal imbalance in the Pacific, which appears to have triggered this series of natural disasters, only seemingly exceptional, is briefly discussed.