Articles on Natural disasters

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Scientists need to feel confident to speak out about the dangers of coming extreme weather. Ramin Talai/EPA

Is Australia prepared for a storm like Sandy?

Last week the global landscape of mitigating and managing disasters changed forever. We heard the news of six Italian scientists charged for manslaughter and jailed for six years each for failing to predict…
The earthquake at l'Aquila was a tragedy, but blaming experts and governments doesn’t help. EPA/Grillo

Blame game the enemy of good policy when disaster strikes

The decision of an Italian Court to convict six scientists and one government official of manslaughter for the failure to predict the magnitude of a devastating earthquake in L’Aquila in central Italy…
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…
Who’s responsible for this? Better disaster law could answer that question. AAP

Climate change, catastrophic risk and disaster law

On 28 March the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its full report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation (SREX). The IPCC’s essential…
People tend to think about sentimental items they’d collect when evacuating, rather than useful ones, such as medicines. Ralph Sanderson

Be prepared – thinking of your health during natural disasters

Disasters and extreme weather events often affect populated areas and yet few people consider that they’d be required to act as a “first responder” in their community before, during or after such events…
We can’t tame the oceans, but modelling can help us better understand them. Badruddeen

Super models – using maths to mitigate natural disasters

Last year will go on record as one of significant natural disasters both in Australia and overseas. Indeed, the flooding of the Brisbane River in January is still making news as the Queensland floods inquiry…
A memorial has been unveiled in flood-devastated Grantham as residents move to higher ground.

Moving Grantham? Relocating flood-prone towns is nothing new

Today marks a year since flooding devastated south-east Queensland. Research has shown that some of the worst effects of the floods were due to poor land-use planning. Since the floods, residents of the…
How does Queensland tourism recover after a cyclone and floods earlier this year? AFP Photo/Paul Crcok

Danger in paradise: resurrecting tourism after natural disasters

This year’s natural disasters have been an omnipresent and unwelcome theme impacting on tourism to Japan, New Zealand, Queensland and Thailand. Long after the initial horror of a natural disaster, the…
2011’s Cyclone Yasi was one of the strongest. dsleeter

Australia expecting an active cyclone season, but future cyclones still hard to predict

Tropical cyclones are one of the most destructive types of weather system on the planet. The obvious human interest in tropical cyclones is in their sheer power. Historically tropical cyclones have had…
Climate change will mean more natural disasters: let’s not be cynical about planning for them. AAP

Emergency Management at the cabinet table long overdue

Much of the commentary surrounding the Prime Minister’s new-look cabinet has focused on the promotion of her loyal lieutenants, Bill Shorten and Mark Arbib, and Nicola Roxon’s elevation to the Attorney-General…
We don’t know which storms will turn into deadly tornadoes. RAGardner4

Tornado Alley 3D: an authentic storm chasing experience

Everyone loves a good storm. Rolling thunder, a spectacular light show and fat drops of rain that make the earth smell like summer. Although thunderstorms are far more belligerent than your average cloud…
Dr Bernado de Bernardinis told residents to go home and enjoy a glass of red. Now he’s in the dock. AFP PHOTO/ TIZIANA FABI

Manslaughter trial of L'Aquila earthquake scientists will cause serious aftershocks

This week, a committee of six scientists (including Dr Enzo Boschi, formerly president of Italy’s National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology) and one government official, whose role was to advise…
Mobile phone tracking could be used to better coordinate aid distribution during natural disasters. Flickr/United Nations Photo

Mobile phone tracking could revolutionise disaster aid response

Mobile phones could track human movement during disasters or disease outbreaks, directing authorities in real time to where…
A long-term threat of natural disaster is likely to increase rates of anxiety among young people. AAP

Act now on climate change to protect Australians’ mental health

In September 2010, BHP Billiton CEO Marius Kloppers proposed Australia take action on climate change before the rest of the world to maintain its international economic competitiveness. A report released…

Birds wear stress in their feathers

The feathers of wild birds can be analysed to determine the effect natural- and human-caused disasters have on wild populations…

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