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Grantham flood survivor recalls ‘bang’ that may have been quarry wall breach

Flooding in the Queensland town of Grantham in 2011 killed 12 people. Photograph: Dean Lewins/AAP

Flooding in the Queensland town of Grantham in 2011 killed 12 people. Photograph: Dean Lewins/AAP

A survivor of the 2011 Grantham floods has detailed the crucial moment he suspects an embankment wall burst and sent a deadly torrent of water crashing through his small town in south-east Queensland. Jonathan Sippel took the stand on the second day of public hearings in the Grantham floods commission of inquiry in Gatton on Tuesday. The inquiry, headed by commissioner Walter Sofronoff QC, is looking into how 12 people died when floodwaters tore through Grantham, about 80km west of Brisbane, on 10 January 2011…


Pacific nations must prepare for more natural disasters as El Nino takes hold, experts warn

The south-west Pacific has experienced its fair share of natural disasters in the past two years and experts warn more may be on the way. The region has always been at the mercy of wild weather, but it is now also in the grip of an El Nino cycle. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said the Pacific region had nine major emergencies between November 2013 and June 2014. It said the 2014-15 cyclone season…


Beyond the Climate Refugee: Migration as Adaptation

Between 2008 and 2013, some 140 million people were displaced by weather-related disasters; meanwhile, gradual displacements, such as those caused by droughts or sea-level rise, affected the lives of countless others. These “climate refugees” have become the human face of global warming, their very movement seen as a threat to global security. State of the World 2015 contributing author Francois Gemenne exposes the dangers of misrepresenting climate-induced migration as a decision of last resort, rather than as a choice in human adaptation ( “The conception of migrants solely as victims…might actually hinder their capacity to adapt, and induce inadequate policy responses,” writes Gemenne, executive director of the Politics of the Earth…


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