Disaster resilience: preparedness and recovery


Green Cross Australia is helping to build stronger communities as we confront the realities of our changing climate. We encourage communities to learn about the history of severe weather and what climate scientists project for coming decades. We encourage a culture of disaster preparedness and self relience given that, when major weather events occur, families and entire communities can be without power or clean drinking water for many days.


In addition to supporting preparedness, we offer tools and inspiring case studies that encourage people who have been impacted by natural disasters to rebuild in sustainable and resilient ways. We help people to build back green.


Reports from the Australian scientific community state that:


'Australia's land and oceans have continued to warm in response to rising CO2 emissions from the burning of fossil fuels...Droughts and heat waves are going to become more frequent and more intense...Temperatures over land and in the oceans continue to increase rapidly, sea levels are rising, and extremely hot days have become more common.'


Internationally, the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has had similar findings, reporting that natural disasters are increasing in frequency and intensity around the world and that for Australia as a whole, an increase in the number of dry days is expected, but it is also likely that rainfall will be heavier during wet periods.


Now, take this issue of more and more intense weather and overlay it with another challenge: our growing population - especially around coastal areas. When a disaster hits, our emergency services will be more stretched, more people will be vulnerable, more buildings could be destroyed, and there could be more mass destruction.


There is a tendency for people to think that an extreme weather event would never happen to them, and if it did, the Government would be there to save them. But when faced with catastrophes like Victoria's Black Saturday bushfires and Queensland's floods, the government is often overwhelmed and under resourced. As a community we need to take responsibility for our own safety. We need to be more self reliant, and develop our own response plans should the worst happen.


Community resilience is 'the capacity of groups to withstand, recover from and respond positively to crisis or adversity'. It's our ability to adapt, learn and bounce back from natural disasters, and having active networks which can communicate and work together in times of need.


In addition to our project websites in this area, we have run event hypotheticals, La Nina awareness seminars and post-disaster recovery workshops to advance the 'eco-resilience' theme. We have also written thought leadership essays in this area. More about this week is featured in the links below.

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