Australians have endured floods, bushfires and hailstorms and more over the last two years. The government is better aligning policy to deal with disasters, but its plan is somewhat half-baked.
Those with disaster experience said they hadn't received proper warnings, which led to confusion, helplessness and panic. There was a sense that 'we always come last'.
First the fires, then the pandemic. It’s not just the damage to infrastructure, houses, environment and farmland that makes recovery difficult; the emotional and physical toll is often gruelling too.
Some flood dangers can be hard to spot initially – to planners, developers and home-buyers. Sometimes, the danger comes from underground.
Measuring the equivalent economic cost of 'lost life years' due to the pandemic allows us to map the true scale of the crisis.
We surveyed people with disability and carers after a major flood in the Northern Rivers area of New South Wales area. Some of the stories were shocking.
Many flood-affected Sydneysiders live in what amounts to a bathtub. With the next flooding season on their doorstep, they can expect more frequent, devastating floods.
In flood-ravaged Dili, COVID-19 restrictions were abandoned as the disaster unfolded. But it means an already escalating pandemic situation may spiral out of control.
Climate change is likely to mean disasters such as Cyclone Seroja will become more intense, and be seen further south in Australia more often.
Floodplains are among the most productive ecosystems on the planet – they are biodiversity hotspots. That's in large part due to periodic flooding between different parts of a river-floodplain system.
New research shows nature started its long road to recovery in 2020 – especially in NSW and Victoria. But overall conditions across large swathes of the country remain poor.
Our report draws on data from more than 1,000 participants who told us of their experiences through community meetings, repeated surveys years after the fires or in-depth interviews.
One interviewee in our study described having compiled a database of more than 150 interactions with insurers or their representatives over the two months since they were caught up in a disaster.
It's not enough to continue to build cities and towns based on business-as-usual planning principles. We need to plan and design our urban spaces around the idea that flooding is inevitable.
The expert advice is to never drive, walk, or ride through flood waters. Unfortunately, however, this is advice often not heeded. Research on psychology and floods reveals clues as to why.
Unless you've lived through it, it's hard to understand how stressful a catastrophic flood can be - both in the moment and long after the event. That's especially true for vulnerable populations.
By collaborating with Indigenous ranger groups, we can make strategic fire and land management practices economically sustainable for traditional landowners.
Bushfire Recovery Victoria has a focus on Aboriginal culture and healing – a long overdue approach in disaster recovery.
In Australia and around the world, failures in flood warnings can have devastating effects. But 'humanitarian engineering' may have the answer.
The unprecedented intensity of two summers of bushfires, first in the east and then in the west, offered harsh lessons for Australians. One is that some settlements must retreat from high-risk areas.