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Disaster management

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Can social media keep you safe from disasters? Flickr/Jim

Is social media responsible for your safety during a disaster?

Given the popularity of Facebook and Twitter, it’s not surprising so many people use social media in crises such as floods, fires and earthquakes. Facebook has introduced Safety Check, a new tool for users…
The city of Tacloban after Typhoon Haiyan, November 2013. EPA/Dennis M. Sabangan

A year after Typhoon Haiyan, poor Filipinos find a voice

On November 8 2013, Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines. One of the largest tropical storms ever to make landfall, it killed more than 10,000 people and left millions homeless. The vast recovery effort…
Five years on, the bush and people are recovering well from the Black Saturday fires. AAP Image/Joe Castro

Five years on from Black Saturday, most survivors are doing OK

Five years on from the devastating Black Saturday fires that swept through central Victoria in February 2009, research shows that people and communities are largely recovering well. In the first major…
Out of their depth: Malasian prime minister, Najib Abdul Razak, and officials face a press conference. EPA/Mak Remissa

MH370 crisis has shown up Malaysia’s democratic deficit

Malaysia has consistently been one of the fastest-growing economies in south-east Asia. Among Asian countries, its level of global economic integration has been surpassed only by Singapore and Hong Kong…
So many questions but few answers for Malaysia Airlines. EPA/AHMAD YUSNI

Clock is ticking on Malaysia Airlines in crisis management

For Malaysia Airlines, every hour counts as it deals with the loss of flight MH370 with 227 passengers and 12 crew on-board. The first 48 hours of a crisis are the most critical for an organisation as…
Too few Australian bushfire preparedness plans consider people with disabilities. Giant Gingko/Flickr

Bushfire planning leaves behind people with disabilities

When bushfires start, no one should be more worried than people with disabilities. Recent research shows people with disabilities are twice as likely to die or be injured than the general population during…
In the event of a crisis, turning to social media could mean the difference between life and death. Dustin Diaz

When bushfires sound alarms, social media can save lives

These days, social media and online apps have become a major source of disaster information and warnings. But how much can we trust them? Today, more than 82% of Australians use the internet and 76% can…
Firefighters have plenty of ideas about disaster management - so why don’t we listen? AAP/Dan Himbrechts

What firefighters say about climate change

You do not find many climate change sceptics on the end of [fire] hoses anymore… They are dealing with increasing numbers of fires, increasing rainfall events, increasing storm events. – A senior Victorian…
Getting the right information, in the right format, can be the difference between life and death. Fox News Insider

Disasters happen, but software shouldn’t be one of them

Imagine you’re a disaster manager and a large earthquake has just struck off the Australian coast. You know that part of the Australian coastline is about to be inundated by a tsunami but you need more…
The government reacted swiftly last week to help Queensland flood victims, but the focus on “replacement” may have deleterious economic consequences for regional communities. AAP

Replacing what we’ve lost may shortchange Queenslanders

With predictions for more frequent and severe natural disasters in the future, it is imperative that we look further than the replacement of our physical infrastructure when rebuilding regional communities…
Australia’s disaster management policies are in need of reform. But is a permanent disaster fund the right way to go about it? AAP

It’s time to talk about disaster recovery

Disasters are a fact of life. We need to talk about them. Floods, fires, earthquakes and other misadventures will happen in spite of our best plans. Their impact will sometimes be severe simply because…
We assume the trade-offs between fire prevention and impacts can be measured in terms of dollars, but it’s not that simple. AAP Image/Tracey Nearmy

Understanding the true costs of managing fire

Fires are an inescapable part of life in Australia; they have been occurring for millennia, and regardless of our actions, they will continue. Much of the vegetation in Australia has evolved to be tolerant…
The way disaster relief is offered to small businesses and primary producers following natural disasters is cumbersome and inefficient and needs a national approach.

We need a national approach to small business disaster relief

When the embers have cooled or the floods have passed, who’s looking after the sustainability of small business in regional Australia? This year’s extreme heat and dry weather have again ensured Australia’s…
Robert McClelland has a roadmap for a FEMA-like disaster management authority. AAP Image/Raoul Wegat

Australia can do better on managing disasters

Who comes to the rescue when there is a disaster? Who pays the bills? It is well accepted doctrine that in Australia the primary responsibility for protecting life and property lies with the states and…

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