‘I lost my father on Black Saturday. Bushfire survivors will need mental health support’
Endless flames, smoke, and a sky of darkness have been a sight all “too real” for Isabella Laudisio.
This summer’s bushfire crisis has been a painful reminder of tragic events. Isabella lost her father, friends, and her family-owned restaurant when a blaze ripped through the regional Victorian town of Kinglake in February 2009. “It felt like a warzone … all we could see was flames, darkness and smoke,” she tells SBS News.
“We were totally surrounded.” Isabella, 66, recalls the roaring sound of “a thousand jumbo jets” as the fire descended on a friend’s house where she had taken refuge. “By that time it had killed people, destroyed homes, done a complete wipeout,” she says. Her father Gennaro got trapped in a car as flames engulfed the vehicle. There would be no body to recover. He was one of 173 people who died, with 120 in the Kinglake area alone. The day would become known as Black Saturday and was among Australia’s all-time worst bushfire disasters…
Last decade most expensive for natural disasters: report
The last decade was the worst on record for economic losses from natural disasters, amounting to $3 trillion – over a trillion more than the previous decade, insurance broker Aon (N:AON) said on Wednesday.
The Asia-Pacific region was the worst-hit in the 2010-2019 period, accounting for 44% of the total, with earthquakes, tsunamis and tropical cyclones among the disasters, Aon said in a report.
More intense weather events, bigger populations in the path of disasters and greater supply chain disruption in a globalized economy contributed to the sharp rise in economic damage, Aon said.
“Perhaps the biggest takeaway from the last decade of natural disasters was the emergence of previously considered ‘secondary’ perils – such as wildfire, flood, and drought – becoming much more costly,” said Steve Bowen, director and meteorologist at Aon’s impact forecasting team…