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Campbell Newman talks to a local resident at an evacuation centre in the Indigenous community of Hope Vale, 70 kilometres north of Cooktown, on Sunday. Photograph: Dan Peled/AAP

Campbell Newman talks to a local resident at an evacuation centre in the Indigenous community of Hope Vale, 70 kilometres north of Cooktown, on Sunday. Photograph: Dan Peled/AAP

Richard Barkham, group research director at Grosvenor Group, defined resilience as the ability of a city to avoid or bounce back from an adverse event. His group published a report this week rating the world’s most and least resilient cities. The highest scoring cities had low vulnerability to climate, environmental, resource, infrastructure and problems, as well as high adaptability resulting from government, planning, funding, technology and local institutions…


Disaster resilience in focus

Researchers in Australia and Europe will work together in a project aimed at building the nation’s resilience to natural disasters. Project Manager Fiona Madden, Research Fellow Dr Joshua Whittaker, Professor Simon Jones and Professor Sujeeva Setunge. Professor Simon Jones and Dr Karin Reinke, from the School of Mathematical and Geospatial Sciences. Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry research group, will lead a project focusing on disaster landscape attribution, thermal anomaly surveillance and hazard mapping, data scaling and validation. The researchers will collaborate with Australia’s CSIRO, German Aerospace, the Bureau of Meteorology and ITC University of Twente, Netherlands on the project. The research is supported by $2.75 million in funding grants. Researchers have secured funding for three major projects from the Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre (BNHCRC)…


Infographic: Social media’s impact on natural disasters



Real cost of natural disasters burns up NSW state budget


The NSW government has been hit with ballooning disaster response costs as major fires and floods continue to blow budget forecasts. The Disaster Relief Fund was allocated $95 million in this year’s budget, but government spending will top $348 million, after roads were wiped out by storms, and aircraft and heavy machinery were hired to fight fires which devastated the state over summer. Widespread bushfires between September and November have cost taxpayers $106 million so far; storms and floods cost $183 million in road restoration, while $56 million was spent continuing recovery efforts from the previous year…


Cyclone Ita leaves residents north of Townsville stranded by floodwaters

Residents in a sugar cane farming town north of Townsville remain stranded by floodwaters as Cyclone Ita loses intensity. The Queensland premier, Campbell Newman, is touring Ingham on Monday afternoon – a day after the Herbert river peaked near 13 metres, leaving 5,000 people cut off as the Bruce Highway was split in half. While the river is receding, roads between Cardwell and Townsville are flooded while railway transport has been suspended between Rockhampton and Cairns…


Architectural culture is ‘moving in two directions’

Young architects are becoming disillusioned with commercial work and instead turning to humanitarian projects, according to 2014 Pritzker Prize winner Shigeru Ban (+ interview). Natural disasters such as the Japanese tsunami are “really changing” the way young architects think, Ban believes, encouraging them to use their skills for humanitarian causes…


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