[ASC-media] AMOS MEDIA: More preparation needed for natural disasters

Melissa Lyne melissa at amos.org.au
Sun Jul 12 20:04:19 PDT 2015


Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society (AMOS)

*MEDIA RELEASE *

*Monday 13 July 2015*




* More preparation needed for natural disasters*





Former Director-General of the Queensland Department of Community Safety,
Professor Jim McGowan, has called for governments to increase investment in
disaster prevention and mitigation in order to save lives and billions of
taxpayer dollars.



Between 2009–2014, the Australian Government spent $13 billion cleaning up
after severe weather events—more than 20 times the $600 million it spent
over the same period preparing for them.



Because of Queensland’s exposure to tropical cyclones, severe storms and
flooding, a large portion of that $13 billion was spent in the Sunshine
State.



Tomorrow night, Professor McGowan will be joined by the Director of
Resilience and Recovery at the Department of Infrastructure, Local
Government and Planning, Joanne Beadle; the leader of a Bushfire and
Natural Hazards CRC consortium on emergency warnings and crisis
communication, Professor Vivienne Tippett; and the Queensland Regional
Director of the Bureau of Meteorology, Rob Webb, for a public forum,
*‘Emergency
Communication for Severe Weather’*.



Presented by the Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society ahead
of their annual conference in Brisbane, the esteemed panelists will be led
by popular science journalist and ABC broadcaster Robyn Williams.



The forum will more broadly explore the communication processes before,
during and after a natural disaster: where does communicating an imminent
disaster start, and how does the information end up getting to the public?



“The biggest threat from a natural disaster is the unexpected or
unprecedented event,” Professor McGowan said, pointing to Tropical Cyclone
Yasi as an example.



“Yet the clear message from experts working in emergency management is that
both governments and individuals are often unprepared for severe weather
events, even when these are forecast well ahead of time,” he continued.



Communicating for severe weather events is crucial—and now even more so
than ever as the country is experiencing a rise in the frequency and
intensity of climate-related events such as bushfire, hailstorms and
tropical cyclones.



“Our leaders need to invest early in preventative measures to reduce the
impact and cost of these disasters,” says McGowan. This includes building
community awareness of dangerous situations; most of the deaths in the
Brisbane 2010–11 floods occurred when people entered flooded areas.



“Research has shown that $3 in recovery costs are saved for every $1
invested in preventative infrastructure.”



“It’s a no-brainer, this forward-thinking approach to severe weather events
not only saves lives but has a clear benefit for government budgets.”



Some of the other topics for the night include: what initiatives are now in
place for raising community awareness and preparedness for severe weather
events; what informs emergency decision-making; what raises a risk 'flag';
where is current research heading and what is it showing; and how are
emergency communications coordinated, including across social media
channels?



At the conclusion of the event, the audience will be given ample time to
ask questions.





SPEAKERS:



·   Adjunct Prof. Jim McGowan AM:  Griffith University (Previous
Director-General of the Queensland Department of Community Safety)

·     Ms Joanne Beadle:  Director, Resilience and Recovery at the
Department of Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning

·   Prof. Vivienne Tippett:  Leader of a Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC
consortium on emergency warnings and crisis communication

·      Mr. Rob Webb:  Queensland Regional Director, Bureau of Meteorology





DETAILS:



Who: The Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society (AMOS)

What: Public forum *Emergency Communication for Severe Weather Events*

Where: GHD Auditorium Advanced Engineering Building University of
Queensland, Brisbane

When: Tuesday 14 July 2015 from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM (AEST)

Cost: FREE. Tickets at https://amos2015-brisbane-seminar.eventbrite.com.au





CONTACT:



Melissa Lyne, Communication & Publications, AMOS

Ph: 0415 514 328, email: Melissa at amos.org.au





*The event is in partnership with the School of Geography, Planning and
Environment Management, University of Queensland; National Computational
Infrastructure; and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System
Science.*
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