Lessons in disaster relief from the world’s most cyclone-battered state


Preparing for the Era of Disasters

We are entering a new era in the security of Australia, not because of terrorism, the rise of China or even the cybersecurity threat, but because of climate change.

As the world warms 2°C beyond preindustrial levels, as now seems increasingly likely, we will enter an Era of Disasters with profound implications for how we organise ourselves to protect Australian lives, property and economic interests and our way of life. The early warning of this era is arriving almost daily in news reports from across the globe of record-breaking heatwaves, prolonged droughts, massive bushfires, torrential flooding and record-setting storms.

The impact of climate change on natural hazards and their consequences for Australian communities and for our region is the subject of a new ASPI special report, Preparing for the Era of Disasters. In the report, I contend that policymakers and communities are unprepared for the rapid pace and scale at which climate-related hazards are now beginning to appear…


Northern Australians ditch insurance as premiums soar in disaster-prone regions

Skyrocketing premiums are driving homeowners across disaster-prone Northern Australia to ditch their home insurance, the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission says.

Key points:

Residents of northern Australia are choosing not to insure their properties as premiums get more expensive

Northern Australia has been hit by several natural disasters in recent years

The ACCC has previously recommended abolishing stamp duty and investigating a national home-insurance comparison website


The second interim report from the Northern Australia Insurance Inquiry estimated the average rate of non-insurance in northern parts of the country was 20 per cent, almost double the rate elsewhere in the nation.

An estimated 40 per cent of homes in north Western Australia are uninsured, followed by 26 per cent in the Northern Territory and 17 per cent in North Queensland.

The ACCC surveyed 1,600 people and those who did not have home or contents insurance said the main reasons were because they could not afford the premium or justify the cost…


Lessons in disaster relief from the world’s most cyclone-battered state

The Indian state of Odisha undertook one of the largest human evacuations in history this year. Image: REUTERS/Ahmad Masood

The state of Odisha in India is the most cyclone-prone in the country. In the last century, out of the 1,019 cyclonic disturbances in the Indian subcontinent, 890 were along the eastern coast, and of these 260 cyclonic disturbances had their landfall along the Odisha coast. The major cyclones that have hit the state in the last two decades are the 1999 super cyclone, Phailin in 2013 and Titli in 2018.

The 1999 super cyclone claimed around 10,000 lives with winds clocking up to 220km per hour. Without technology and prior warning, the state was rendered helpless. Fast forward 20 years and it has learned from the catastrophe, showing exemplary efficiency, grit and planning in disaster management…

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