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5th Australasian Natural Hazards Management Conference

Keynote Presentations

 

KEYNOTE  PRESENTATIONS 29 July 2011

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5th Australasian Natural Hazards Management Conference

Keynote Presentations

FORWARD The 5th Australasian Natural Hazards Management Conference was hosted at Gold Coast, Australia, 18-21 July 2011, by Gold Coast City Council.

Since the previous (4th) Australasian Natural Hazards Management Conference, there have been a number of major natural disasters that have impacted communities within Australia, New Zealand and Pacific region. Some of these included: 

Earthquakes in Christchurch

Floods in Queensland, Victoria, New South Wales and Viet Nam

Tsunami impacting Sumatra, Indonesia

Severe Tropical Cyclone Yasi impacting North Queensland

Volcanic Eruptions in Indonesia and Philippines

As with the previous conference, the 5th Australasian Natural Hazards Management Conference was a forum to discuss the integration of hazard information into effective risk management of natural hazards. Adopting a theme that focused on major events and major impacts of natural hazards, this year’s conference provided a unique opportunity for participants to consider, examine and review best practice disaster research and management. The conference was attended by approximately 210 participants, who were emergency managers, policy makers, researchers, planners, risk assessors, asset and utility managers, scientists, and/or students. Participants came from Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan, Japan, Iran, Thailand, India and the United Kingdom. The main conference program (19-20 July 2011) was organized into six thematic sessions, with each session providing reports and/or analyses of research and/or emergency management practice. The sessions were: o

The role of research in emergency management, which highlighted the diversity and importance of emergency management research

o

Understanding and reducing risk

o

Preparedness

o

Response during crisis

o

Communicating disaster information to others

o

Social impacts of disasters and recovery

A copy of the conference program is included in the conference proceedings document.

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5th Australasian Natural Hazards Management Conference

Keynote Presentations

During the main conference, four keynote speakers provided important focal points for the conference and attendees. The 2011 keynote speakers were: 

Deputy Commissioner Ian Stewart, APM, Queensland Police Service, who provided a personal reflection on the 2011 Queensland Floods and Cyclone disasters, and the challenges that faced/face the Queensland community before, during and after these events.

Commissioner Murray Kear, AFSM, New South Wales State Emergency Service, who provided an overview of his agency’s role in supporting the New South Wales community during storm, flood and tsunami events, and the importance to the NSW SES of hazard/risk research

Assistant National Commander Dan Coward, AFNZIM MOSH, New Zealand Fire Service, who is Director, Strategic Redevelopment Christchurch, and Inspector Derek Erasmus, Area Commander Canterbury Central, New Zealand Police Service, who provided a candid insight to the Christchurch earthquake disaster and the long-term recovery challenge facing this community

Mr Greg Goebel, Executive Director Queensland, Australian Red Cross, who provided an account of the impact to Queensland’s social, environmental (built and natural) and economic capital, and the effect this has had on the people of this State.

Through their presentations, keynote speakers presented four contemporary and important emergency management case studies, which provided context to the conference and reinforced the importance of research and learning from practice. This document is a summary of the presentations made by the keynote speakers at the conference. It includes copies of their presentations. It is important to note that the works reproduced are not the property or views of the Conference organisers or Gold Coast City Council. While the Conference provided a forum for participants to meet, the papers remain the intellectual property of the presenters and/or the agencies they represent. All conference participants were grateful for the input and focus that the keynote speakers gave to the conference and for assisting in recognising the importance of the work undertaken by emergency managers, researchers and policy makers with respect to the conference theme – Major Events, Major Impacts.

Peter McNamee BSc, DipEd, MEdSt, GCertAppMngt, AdvDipPubSafety(Emerg Mgt) Executive Coordinator Disaster Management Engineering Services Gold Coast City Council PO Box 5042 Gold Coast Mail Centre Qld 9729 http://www.goldcoastcity.com.au

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5th Australasian Natural Hazards Management Conference

Keynote Presentations

Contents    1.

Stewart, I., “Reflections on Queensland Flood Disasters”.................................................................... 4

2.

Kear, M., “Research and Practice: The importance of agency hazard research programs”............... 39

3.

Coward, D. & Erasmus, D., “Reflections on Christchurch Earthquake Disasters” .............................. 51

4.

Goebel, G., “Recovering from Crisis” .................................................................................................. 55

 

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5th Australasian Natural Hazards Management Conference

Keynote Presentations

1. Stewart, I., “Reflections on Queensland Flood Disasters� Deputy Commissioner Ian Stewart APM Queensland Police Service Deputy Commissioner Ian Stewart is a career Police Officer with over 36 years service. He currently undertakes the role of Deputy Commissioner (Regional Operations) and is responsible for the strategic management and direction of regional police operations throughout Queensland. Deputy Commissioner Stewart was appointed the inaugural State Disaster Coordinator and was responsible for coordination and overview of state wide disaster response operations during the unprecedented flooding and cyclone events throughout Queensland, December 2010 to February 2011. Deputy Commissioner Stewart holds Master of Public Policy and Administration and Bachelor of Business qualifications. Deputy Commissioner Stewart is the recipient of the Australian Fulbright Professional Scholarship and the Australian Police Medal.

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Disaster Management during the 2010 – 2011 floods and cyclones in Queensland

Presented by Deputy Commissioner Ian Stewart Queensland Police Service

Note: The presentation for this conference will contain some of the following information however a full paper is provided to give participants an overview of the disaster events and the management of them.


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Background In recent years across Australia a number of significant disasters have occurred. Major disasters included Cyclone Larry in North Queensland in 2006, the Victorian Black Saturday Bushfires in February 2009 and The Gap Storms in November 2008. As a result of these disasters the Queensland Government commissioned an independent review of disaster management. This report titled Report on a Review of Disaster Management Legislation and Policy in Queensland 1 documented 22 recommendations for change. Of significance was the recommendation to increase the operational role for the Queensland Police Service (QPS) whereby they establish command and control of disaster events. This was formerly the role of Emergency Management Queensland (EMQ). In particular, the legislation created the power for the State to appoint a State Disaster Coordinator to coordinate disaster response operations. The relevant legislative changes to transfer this role came into effect from 1 November 2010 with the enactment of the amendments to the Disaster Management Act 2003 (the DM Act). Unfortunately, natural disasters impacted Queensland within weeks of that enactment date, with localised flooding occurring from mid November 2010. On Christmas Day 2010, Tropical Cyclone Tasha, a Category 1 cyclone crossed the Queensland coast between Cairns and Innisfail. Whilst Cyclone Tasha was a relatively weak cyclone it contained widespread heavy rainfall. This caused major flooding and inundation in nearly 75 per cent of Queensland through January 2011. The flooding disaster was then compounded by two tropical cyclones. Tropical Cyclone Anthony, a Category 2 cyclone, crossed the coast over Bowen on 31 January 2010. Tropical Cyclone Yasi, a Category 5 cyclone, crossed the Queensland coast at Mission Beach on 2 February 2011. Tropical Cyclone Yasi caused substantial damage from Townsville to Cairns. Within a short space of time the performance of the QPS during disasters was dramatically tested. During this time, 21 of the 23 Queensland Disaster Districts were formally declared Disaster Zones. I was appointed the State Disaster Coordinator for two periods during the peak of the weather events from December 2010 to February 2011. Impact on Queensland

1

Houses affected by flood waters – over 27,000 (above and below floorboards)

Housed damaged by Tropical Cyclone Yasi – 2,800 (750 uninhabitable / 194 fully destroyed)

Jim O’Sullivan, AC, APM and The Consultancy Bureau Pty Ltd. Report on a Review of Disaster Management Legislation and Policy in Queensland (August 2009). Retrieved from http://www.emergency.qld.gov.au/publications/pdf/Consultants%20DM%20Report%20FINAL.pdf on 7 February 2011.


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Businesses affected by flood waters – 3,500

People evacuated – 15,500

Number of deaths – 36

Length of road network damaged – 9,170km

Bridges and culverts damaged – 89

Rail network impacted – 29%

1.74 million hectares of parks and forests impacted by Tropical Cyclone Yasi

75% of Australia’s banana crop affected by Tropical Cyclone Yasi

Over 500,000 customers lost electrical supply

Over 16,000 people assisted in community support outreach activities

Recovery call centre calls received and website hits: –

State Emergency Service Line

53,091

Community Recovery Line

43,966

Premier’s Disaster Relief Line

63,731

Flood Website

2,083,527

Total reserved (estimated) insured value for Tropical Cyclone Yasi and the summer floods - $3.60 billion.

122,100 total insurance claims: –

8,086 motor vehicle claims (91% finalised)

2.8% of residential property claims are still to be determined

6.5% of residential property claims in Queensland have been denied (mainly on policy exclusions)

1.2% of the total number of claims in Queensland are in dispute


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insurers are maintaining in excess of 95% Queensland content for trades and supplies 2

General overview of legislation and associated State Government policy The Queensland State Disaster Management Plan (the Plan) identifies that disaster management legislation in Queensland is based on five main principles which support and build on the four guiding principles outlined in the DM Act. The five main principles of the Plan include: 

a comprehensive approach to disaster management in the context of a balance between the reduction of risks and the enhancement of community resilience whilst ensuring effective response and recovery capabilities;

the all hazards approach assumes that the functions and activities applicable to one hazard are most likely applicable to a range of hazards and consequently a disaster management plan captures the functions and activities applicable to all hazards;

an all agencies approach recognises no single agency can prepare for, and deal with, the disruption to community life and infrastructure that can result from a disaster;

local level capability is recognised as the front line of disaster management; and

a prepared resilient community that includes: awareness and preparedness of communities involved at whole of community and individual levels, with a shared responsibility before, during and after disasters take place. 3

Other significant changes to the DM Act included enhanced accountability for disaster management, changes to the appointment of executive officers to State and District level Disaster Management Groups, flexibility in declaring the area of any disaster, and the appointment of both permanent and temporary District Disaster management positions. Disaster Management Structures For disaster management purposes, Queensland is divided geographically into disaster districts. Each disaster district covers one or more of Queensland’s 73 local governments.

2

Insurance Council of Australia retrieved from http://www.aprs.com.au/australian-water-managementnews/the-2011-queensland-floods-the-personal-impact on 22 June 2011 3 Queensland Government (2011). State Disaster Management Plan. Retrieved from www.disaster.qld.gov.au on 20 June 2011


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The structure of disaster management within Queensland is based on a tiered approach which generally escalates from the Local Disaster Management Group (LDMG), to the District Disaster Management Group (DDMG), then to the State Disaster Management Group (SDMG) which captures a whole of State approach. The fourth and final tier is the Australian Government level where the Attorney General’s Department coordinates support to large scale crisis events primarily through the provision of Commonwealth assets. This


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structure is designed to coordinate resources, provide support to disaster management groups at all levels, provide communications between all levels and agencies involved, and clearly identify chains of command and accountability. At the local level it is usual that the Mayor of the local council is the LDMG Chair, although the DM Act also recognises the role of Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of councils throughout the State. LDMGs may appoint the CEO as the Local Disaster Coordinator. The LDMGs are recognised as the front line of disaster management arrangements for Queensland as they are best placed to decide what resources are required, when they are required, and how best to apply the available resources to minimise risk and impact to relevant communities. DDMGs provide a whole-of-Government planning and coordination capacity to support the LDMGs. Generally, DDMGs plan and respond to requests from LDMGs. Ultimately, DDMGs are responsible to the SDMG for all aspects of the State Government’s capabilities in disaster management for their particular district. Finally, the SDMG is the peak disaster management policy and decision making body within Queensland and it provides strategic direction and advice to government. The SDMG is accountable to the Minister for Police, Corrective Services and Emergency Services as the Minister responsible for administering the DM Act. The SDMG is chaired by the Director-General of the Department of Premier and Cabinet and is comprised of the Chief Executives of the State Government participating departments and agencies. Other people may be seconded to that group as advisors to assist the SDMG in its role. As previously indicated, at an appropriate time, the Chair of the SDMG may appoint a State Disaster Coordinator (SDC). The role of the SDC when appointed is: 

to coordinate disaster response operations on behalf of the SDMG;

report regularly to SDMG about disaster response operations;

ensure as far as reasonably practical that any strategic decision of the SDMG about disaster response operations are implemented; and

provide strategic advice on disaster response operations to District Disaster Coordinators (DDCs) as necessary.4

The SDMG is supported in its role by the State Disaster Coordination Group which coordinates the delivery of the SDMG legislative responsibilities for the purpose of facilitating disaster management preparedness and response 4

Queensland Government (2011). State www.disaster.qld.gov.au on 20 June 2011

Disaster

Management

Plan.

Retrieved

from


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outcomes to Queensland communities. Other support groups include the State Disaster Mitigation Committee and the State Recovery Group. The State Disaster Coordination Centre, located at EMQ’s Kedron Park facility, supports the SDMG and provides a venue for the State Disaster Coordination Group in terms of its role and also allows the State Disaster Coordination Group to manage the decisions and operations of the SDMG. The State Disaster Coordination Centre also provides for regular reporting arrangements and information management regarding any disaster currently being managed. At the Federal level, the Federal Attorney–General’s Department is responsible for coordinating the Australian Government assistance to the States and Territories under the Australian Government Crisis Management Framework and the Australian Crisis Coordination Centre, co-ordinates the whole-of-Government response to major emergencies. I was appointed the SDC in Queensland from 23 December 2010 until 21 January 2011. This period covered the rain and flooding events. During this time there were a series of eighteen (18) extraordinary SDMG meetings. On 28 January 2011, the Bureau of Meteorology advised that a severe tropical cyclone was likely to affect the coast of Queensland. I was again appointed to the role of SDC, to take effect from 2:30pm on 28 January 2011. The SDMG met in an extraordinary meeting later that same afternoon and subsequently there were sixteen (16) further meetings of the SDMG up until 10 February 2011 to deal with the impact of Tropical Cyclone Yasi which crossed the coast on the night of 2 February 2011 at about 11pm. My role as SDC was terminated on 11 February 2011 at 5pm. Leadership In terms of dealing with potentially catastrophic events it is arguable that individuals and individual communities need to take responsibility for first response activities. The role of local leaders is particularly important in those circumstances, due to the often limited capacity of emergency services to respond. During the 2010/11 natural disasters in Queensland, there were examples of local leaders emerging in many communities around the State, while other places struggled. Leadership within the Queensland Police Service and within the disaster management framework was equally as important. During the disaster events strong leadership traits and qualities proved crucial to the success of the operation. Collaborative leaders demonstrated the following attributes –


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Visible and Available the faster you become visible and available following a crisis the easier it becomes to dispel rumours and stories people desire answers quickly from people in charge help calm panic and concern Political Implications and Partnerships work in partnership networks remind politicians of messages sought to be delivered

Ability to be Resourceful requires decisiveness, creativity and innovation determination never take no for an answer attitude networks are extremely important knowing where the resources are and how to get them every time you meet someone create a mental database – “call this person when we need such’n such”

Communication

Self Control and Resilience

provide careful explanations and information as quickly as possible to avoid confusion

confidence in own ability but constantly seek feedback from those you trust

inform people of steps they need to take, consequences and future activities

learn to deal with own reactions

create calm through providing information and focus community / Police Service on tasks at hand create a sense of order and encourage tolerance be armed with important information – if you don’t know answers make sure you get them for inquirer understand / consider the needs of your audience (i.e. – staff/politicians / community) public forums can assist to provide information on a regular and frequent basis

Praise give praise to those who make contributions praise becomes a powerful weapon in creating and maintaining order and success eg volunteers – looting etc

regardless of how much planning you do, appreciate that you will still experience the unexpected and may have to adjust your plans support other leaders who cant rise to the events Being Prepared to Lead prepare to lead and take action develop plans be ready to execute plans develop networks – inside and outside organisation

every word, action etc made in a time of crisis is more highly scrutinised than usual – care, control, composure, sincerity are important admit mistakes that you make make sure your own life is in order try to stay off line from regular job Right People – Right Jobs build on strengths make sure you know the capabilities of others team building make sure of the resilience of your own staff manage own staff – welfare / time off etc Positive Vision

Preparedness must have comprehensive emergency plans and business continuity plans enables better responses

Expect the Unexpected

be calm and clear about what you want people to know

robust planning – ‘train hard, fight easy’ networks

articulated e.g. – Mayor Giuliani stated he borrowed his basic message from Winston Churchill’s “Finest Hour” speech keep reminding people of the tremendous and unprecedented opportunity that current circumstances create

Perspective create the big picture by taking all available information and putting it into perspective predictions of the future events optimistic – leaders have to believe that whatever crisis confronts them that together they will get through it

Raise the Bar challenge people in community and Service to strive harder to achieve the almost seemingly impossible help people stay focussed remind what is your organisations mission to achieve and how it serves the needs of others


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Examples of Leadership in Action QPS support to the State Disaster Coordination Centre Following being appointed SDC on 24 December 2010, I began operations at the State Disaster Coordination Centre (SDCC) at EMQ’s facilities at Kedron Park. To support operations being undertaken at the SDCC, a number of experienced police officers from Operations Support Command were identified to assist myself in the SDC role and the chair of the State Disaster Coordination Group, providing advice and assistance in terms of coordination with other agencies and operating in a consultative manner as required under the DM Act. Initially, the role of police was to support the State Disaster Coordination Group. However, as the events spread through Queensland a larger contingent of QPS members were deployed within the SDCC. Members were embedded into specific cells including secretariat, logistical/planning and intelligence. Officers maintained a presence within the intelligence cell on a 24 hour basis. This enhanced the ability to communicate readily with DDCs and DDMG Executive Officers which facilitated the efficient and timely gathering of intelligence. The effectiveness of this was largely due to the ability of police members in the SDCC to use established communication networks to liaise directly with key senior police officers in the field. Officers deployed in the planning and logistic area of SDCC were generally experienced in search and rescue and their knowledge of helicopter deployments and other search assets were invaluable. A commissioned officer was initially present until midnight each shift, with the commissioned officer being present on a 24 hour basis during the more critical periods of the weather events. The commissioned officer’s presence provided a direct physical representative of the QPS who liaised with EMQ staff to provide QPS advice. Throughout these events, the QPS continually assessed the needs of the SDCC and were able to respond by increasing support at any stage. Senior Police Executives of the rank of Assistant Commissioner and Chief Superintendent were also present at the SDCC for extended periods of time. As the weather events continued to have significant impact throughout the State, deployments of QPS staff at the SDCC were coordinated with appropriate rotation of staff to ensure consistency and to manage fatigue. The scale of the flood emergency placed heavy demands on QPS personnel deployed to the SDCC and a need for a cadre of appropriately experienced officers who could be called upon at short notice to provide relief and support was identified. Subsequently, approximately 100 police at the ranks of Inspector, Senior Sergeant and Sergeant from across South-East Queensland performed roles in the Centre, as the need arose. Rostering practices allowed for the ‘shadowing’ of officers not experienced in disaster management to work with the more experienced police working in the SDCC to ensure that consistency is maintained.


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Parallel Command Structures Under the disaster management structure, a chain of command exists which is different to normal QPS organisational structures. During the 2010/2011 flood events these two structures operated in parallel providing flexibility which in turn allowed resources to be efficiently deployed and or redeployed. The QPS has adopted an Incident Command System (ICS) and an Incident Command Structure that can be applied to any type of incident. The ICS is a command, control and coordination model. It is a process for the effective management of all personnel and resources based on five interlocking functional roles: (i) command; (ii) operations; (iii) planning; (iv) intelligence; and (v) administration and logistics. 5 The system is utilised in policing responses on a day to day basis utilising the recognised QPS command and report structures. The QPS Incident Command System operated parallel to the recognised disaster management structure of SDMG, DDMG and LDMG.

5

Queensland Police Service Operational Procedures Manual section 1.13.


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The flexibility of the organisation’s structure was demonstrated in Southern, Northern and Far Northern Regions where the current QPS structure was altered to ensure core policing business and disaster management were coordinated. The structure adopted at the Southern Region to deal with the disasters at Toowoomba and Lockyer Valley is depicted below.

Another example of the QPS ability to structurally adapt with efficiency and flexibility in response to disaster events was the establishment of the Police Operations Centre (POC) in Brisbane. The POC The POC is a command centre that exercises control and coordination for police when reacting to a crisis. The POC has its origins in the established national security arrangements and is generally activated in circumstances of a cross jurisdictional or multi-agency response to a crisis. Although the POC concept was originally intended for directing a multi-agency response in the traditional security paradigm, it has also proved itself as being adaptable as a multi-agency and agency specific coordination centre in supporting the flood crisis response. The adaptability of the POC in this new role was evident in the manner in which it provided leadership in: 

prioritising QPS resources in support of regional police operations;

the high level of cooperation with other response agencies; and

jointly facilitating support to the police regions and the affected communities.

The introduction of the POC in supporting the QPS response was due to the unprecedented scale of the events and the need to manage resources across the agency from a location close to the central QPS administrative functions, systems and capabilities. Whole of community evacuations During the weather events, a number of communities were required to be fully evacuated. The manner in which these evacuations were conducted demonstrates leadership and collaboration of the community and emergency responders. This is exemplified with the township of Condamine which was fully evacuated on two occasions. The first evacuation occurred on 30 December 2011, with the residents returning on 6 January 2011 but having to evacuate again on 14 January 2011. This was the first time in modern Queensland history that an entire community required evacuation. The risks inherent to these operations were extreme but


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warranted. Some of the key factors considered during the decisions to evacuate included: 

the safety of the community and operational staff;

the risk to the community posed by the flooding/cyclone;

security of the community prior to and post evacuation;

logistics of evacuations and air operations; and

pets.

Driving reassessment of risk In the role of SDC, I closely monitored the flooding throughout Queensland and responses of the local disaster groups. This was done through the daily teleconference, Situation Reports and through observations during visits to affected areas. Challenges encountered included: 

multiple areas of concurrent operations;

complacency of some decision makers based primarily on past experience;

non-official ‘expert advice’ provided to some decision makers;

failure of some decision makers to adequately assess risk; and

lack of data due to the record levels of flooding/cyclonic events.

A legislated function of the SDC is to provide strategic advice on disaster response operations to District Disaster Coordinators as necessary. (See section 21C(d) of the DM Act.) It is notable that the legislation enables the SDC to provide advice but not provide any lawful direction. In discharging my functions as SDC, I was required to capture a strategic outlook of the risks and in doing so, ensure the local disaster groups were taking into consideration the worst possible outcome. This was done through a number of mechanisms, including requesting the establishment of key trigger points for action, requesting hourly Situation Reports during the peak of the flooding, and development of evacuation plans. In particular, the evacuation plans were critical and they emphasised the enormity of the operation required to be undertaken should a full evacuation be required. In essence, I was seeking to have the local groups prepare for the unexpected and adjust their plans accordingly.


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Evacuation Centres / Places of Safety The QPS played key roles in the management of evacuation centres and places of safety. A lesson learnt from the recent weather events is that evacuation centres (and places of safety) need to be a safe and secure environment capable of handling large numbers of people. Some centres (for example shopping centres and halls) were not rated sufficiently to shelter people from the impending cyclone due to their construction. However the alternative was to not to provide any shelter and this was untenable. A further lesson occurred in Far Northern Region during Tropical Cyclone Yasi. Here some agencies withdrew staff and services leaving some evacuation centres to be staffed and managed by QPS resources in conjunction with natural leaders who emerged from the groups sheltering. Police officers were deployed to all evacuation centres albeit that some smaller ones (for example Bundaberg) officers only conducted spot checks during patrol duties. The policing presence at evacuation centres had a positive effect in providing confidence to the public through a sense of safety, security and order. What Worked Well The engagement between all key decision makers and representatives of departments involved in the final preparation and response phase was of a particularly high standard and certainly was based on the many relationships that have been developed over a period of time. In this regard, the consistency of representatives attending normal meetings at all levels and the commitment of all of those involved to their various roles in dealing with disaster management is something that should not be underestimated. No doubt this contributed to the success of the outcomes during these tragic events. The willingness of these individuals and agencies to work together seamlessly in a focused way was a critical factor. In part, I would argue that the recency of the disaster management review and the consultation that occurred across the State, in relation to the outcomes of that review and subsequent legislative change, were also critical in highlighting for all those involved, the important roles that they and their agencies play in the overall response to disasters. The timeliness of the interaction and preparation leading up to the 2010/2011 storm season in Queensland was fundamental to the heightened awareness of the roles and responsibility of all of those involved. Similarly, the experience of many of the decision makers involved in all tiers of disaster management was critical to the successful response phase to these events. This was in part due to the qualities and the longevity that many of these persons have in their particular roles and positions within their respective agencies whether at a local government level or in fact a State


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government or support agency role. Another factor which contributed to the success of the response phase was the co-location of all of the key players involved in the support functions of the SDMG at EMQ’s Kedron Park facility. A further issue which impacted on the success of the operation was the focus that was given by responding officials to the unfolding weather events. These events were in many ways unprecedented in their scale and potential destructive power. The fact that two thirds of Queensland was involved in major flooding events was an extraordinary circumstance and this in fact added to the motivation of all those involved in the response, to act seamlessly to ensure that the risk to all communities impacted was minimised. Defence Aid to the Civil Authority The Defence Aid to the Civil Authority (DACA) arrangements proved to be very successful in meeting the demands caused by the flooding events which could not be serviced by the resources at local and even at State level. The types of assets which were identified for use initially in the flood events and ultimately supplied by the military were predominately aviation assets. These included heavy lift helicopters such as the Sea King and the Black Hawk helicopters and heavy lift aircraft including C130 that were initially deployed with their support teams. There was also the ability for the military to provide other general assets. The initial request for military aid to Queensland went through the formal recognised channels as required in the State Disaster Plan, but as the urgency grew, the military established a taskforce to directly support the flood response effort. This taskforce, initially based at Enoggera, was instrumental in increasing the timeliness of response to requests for support. Subsequently, the embedded taskforce structure was replicated in North Queensland during the response to Tropical Cyclone Yasi. The creation of the taskforce mirrored arrangements utilised in the recent Victorian bushfire crisis and proved to be very successful in expediting requests for support. The below table outlines the work completed by the military with regards air assets. •

Total aircraft hours for OP

ARMY & NAVY

385.1

S70-A Black Hawk CH-47 Chinook

25.0

B206 Kiowa

167.3

SK-50 Sea King

115.4

38.7

S70-B Sea Hawk A-109 Augusta

44.4

Fuel used

AIR FORCE

Total stores carried for OP

• •

100,715 lbs 45,684 kgs

Total PAX carried for OP

• •

905 civilian 27 civilian casualties 342 ADF

419,000 lbs / 190,055 kgs


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C-130 Hercules

83.0

51.9

C-17 Globe Master B-350 King Air

131.9

Fuel used

• • •

1,517,660 lbs 688,410 kgs

• 187 civilian • 400 ADF 1,347,953 lbs / 611,431 kgs

The DACA arrangements also saw the deployment of large numbers of selfsufficient military personnel into the Lockyer Valley, Brisbane and North Queensland disaster zones. In Brisbane, military personnel were engaged during the response phases providing capability to resupply isolated communities. Following the peak of flooding events, the tireless efforts of military personnel were invaluable during the clean-up phase, enabling local governments to return communities to a level of normality in the quickest possible time. In North Queensland, military personnel were deployed in a similar role. In the aftermath of events of 10 January 2011 in the Lockyer Valley, the QPS launched an unprecedented search and rescue operation. Unfortunately, this operation’s focus had very little hope of rescue; rather it was the grim task of locating the bodies of victims washed away in the dreadful deluge. The level of ADF support in this performing this task cannot be understated. Military personnel were tasked to conduct painstaking searches through mountains of debris, being the remnants of the communities that were washed away. This task was completed to the highest standard, with literally no stone unturned. The ADF teams conducted physical searches of the area from Spring Bluff down to the commencement of the Brisbane River on three occasions. Paradoxically, in the days following the flooding rains, these tasks were conducted during searing summer temperatures nearing 40 degrees. ADF Aviation was also involved with the search and rescue operation, transporting personnel through the search areas. Although focusing on the ADF contribution, it should be mentioned that this harrowing task was performed in conjunction with other agencies including the Australian Federal Police, SES, and numerous police. Social Media The Queensland floods were the first time that QPS Media and Public Affairs made use of its social media channels to provide information on a large scale directly to the people of Queensland and also interstate and internationally. This was done in addition to more traditional relationships with mainstream media. The QPS Facebook page quickly became one of the major sources of up to date information for both mainstream media and the public, with “likes” jumping from approximately 7000 at the beginning of December to 165,000 in the 24 hours after the Toowoomba and Lockyer Valley weather events. The twin cyclones caused another spike in use of the QPS social media accounts. Surprisingly between the floods and cyclones, the QPS only lost about 4000


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“likes” on Facebook. In subsequent interviews with external stakeholders, many emergency responders have indicated the QPS Facebook was an invaluable source of information that assisted them in their duties.

FIGURE DEMONSTRATING GROWTH OF QPS FACEBOOK “LIKES” FROM MAY 2010 TO FEBRUARY 2011

At the height of the flooding crisis, the QPS Facebook page received more than 39 million story views in a 24 hour period, the equivalent of 450 views per second and updates were being provided by QPS on the Facebook page and Twitter every 10 minutes. In the same time period, police media answered about 900 calls in the 24 hour media room. QPS used the Facebook page to provide the latest updates from around the State, and livestream all (with the exception of one) press conferences on the event. These conferences were viewed lived by up to 35,000 people per conference and then again thousands of times on the QPS YouTube channel. The QPS also conducted regular digital recordings on regional updates from District police to provide people with local information. Misinformation circulating on Twitter was quickly addressed and corrected by the #Mythbuster tweets which helped reduce community uncertainty and fear, and ensured these untruths did not make it into the mainstream media, or, if they did, they were quickly removed. Basic services provided by Police Media during this time were:


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• acting as a centralised clearing house for disaster-related information through Facebook and Twitter as soon as it became available, including details on behalf of other departments and authorities; • live video streaming of the Brisbane-based disaster-related media conferences on the QPS Facebook page with the video subsequently posted on the QPS YouTube channel; • live Tweeting key points as they were made in briefings and in these media conferences; • uploading dot point summaries of the media conferences to the QPS Facebook page shortly after their conclusion; • uploading at least daily audio updates to Facebook from local disaster district coordinators around the State; •

‘mythbusting’ of misinformation and rumours in the media and community;

• Tweeting most QPS Facebook posts generally using the #qldfloods, #TCYasi or #mythbusters hashtags; • providing 24/7 moderation of the QPS social media accounts, responding to inquiries from the public, where possible; • coordinating Auslan sign language interpreters to assist with most media conferences; and • coordinating the translation of media conference summaries into other languages for affected tourists and relatives based internationally. Why did it work? • Police Media had high-level organisational support, including from the Commissioner and Deputy Commissioners; • social media had a champion in the Executive Director of the Media and Public Affairs Branch who championed its benefits from within the QPS Senior Executive and set the direction for the media and public affairs team;


- 18 -

• Police Media was fortunate enough to have the benefit of a sevenmonth trial in which the team was able to become comfortable with its use and imbed it as part of its daily processes prior to a disaster occurring; and • through circumstances Police Media was able to quickly prove the worth of social media during two major disasters. Traditional Media It is recognised that about 35 percent of the community do not access social media therefore the use of social media was only one part of the QPS media strategy. However, it was obvious throughout the weather events that TV and radio news outlets closely monitored and immediately broadcasting the information available on the social networks. For example, it was noted that ABC news bars were being updated within 5 minutes after updates were provided. One ABC radio presenter has described the QPS’s use of Twitter as “radio gold”. Notwithstanding the successes of the social media, a clear and deliberate strategy was developed in utilising conventional media. This plan was use the right people to deliver a clear and consistent message. The Chair of the State Disaster Coordination Group, was a key spokesperson in the early part of the weather events. As the events escalated, the media conferences were delivered by myself as SDC, the Assistant Director-General of EMQ, the Commissioner of Police, the Minister of Police, Corrective Services and Emergency Services, the Premier and Deputy Premier. The messages were delivered in a timely manner. At the height of the flooding events, the tempo of the conferences was increased and often occurred on a two hourly cycle. Most importantly, there was one consistent message being delivered and that message was personal safety. This underlying theme was delivered continuously through a variety of messages including warnings not to drive through flood waters, reminding people to listen to local radio station for severe storm advice and warnings, how to prepare for flooding, and what to do if required to evacuate. It is acknowledged that other agencies and authorities were also regularly providing media releases including Mayors and other emergency management leaders. Operation Safeguard – multi-jurisdictional policing property safety and anti-looting taskforce


- 19 -

The floods forced thousands of emergency evacuations from towns and cities. Looting offences in flood affected areas created community outcry. The inundation of over 14,000 premises in Brisbane and Ipswich was expected to be more devastating than the 1974 floods. QPS personnel were already stretched across Queensland. To combat the perceived or actual rise in crime, Operation Safeguard was formed in partnership with police from NSW (NSWPOL), Victoria (VICPOL) and South Australia (SAPOL) to provide high visibility policing, protect property and prevent crime in the flood affected areas of Brisbane and Ipswich. In total 454 personnel were involved with Operation Safeguard, including 363 operational police officers from NSWPOL, VICPOL; SAPOL and QPS. A further 41 officers assisted in the planning cell, station support and intelligence cell. A total of 363 officers performed 13,072 hours of high visibility patrols and community engagement in 50 sectors of flood-affected communities over the 20 day operation. Two temporary police stations were established, with vehicles, equipment and resources sourced to support 40 officers per shift covering three shifts per day. The Operation commenced on 18 January and continued through to 6 February 2011, providing 24-hours policing presence and resulting in 81 arrests (225 charges) including fraudulent soliciting of donations for flood victims, assault police, enter and commit offences, traffic offences and possession of dangerous drugs. The success of Operation Safeguard far exceeded expectations. The seamless transition of interstate officers enhanced community confidence, prevented crime, protected property and fostered interstate policing cooperation. The scale of Operation Safeguard is unprecedented in QPS history and demonstrated the Service’s capacity to co-ordinate a large scale multijurisdictional policing disaster response and is an outstanding example of interstate partnership policing strategies. It is important to note that Operation Safeguard was a deliberate strategy implemented to deal with and control the power of perception and reality. Facing the looming threat of a natural disaster, emotions such as fear, helplessness, uncertainty, and insecurity began to grip the Queensland community. This community sentiment had the real potential to be exacerbated by reports of looting or other offences which would give a feeling of lawlessness or chaos. While the reality was that there were very few looting offences occurring, tangible action needed to be taken to reinforce community confidence that the QPS was maintaining law and order.


- 20 -

Operation Safeguard provided a powerful tool for the QPS and State Government to manage the public’s perception through the marketing of the operation, and in affected areas by provided a highly visible and saturated policing presence. The QPS acknowledges and thanks all jurisdictions involved in Operation Safeguard. What can be improved? Community resilience is a key factor in responding to disasters. Building this resilience should be a task conducted by all agencies. It should also focus on not just the whole community but each individual, household, business and Government agencies. Council of Australian Governments (COAG) released the National Disaster Resilience Statement on 7 December 2009. This outlines important activities for Governments at all level to strengthen community resilience. This includes – 

developing and implementing effective, risk-based land management and planning arrangement and other mitigation activities;

having effective arrangements in place to inform people about how to assess risks and reduce their exposure and vulnerability to hazards;

having clear and effective education systems so people understand what options are available and what the best course of action is in in responding to a hazard as it approaches;

supporting individuals and communities to prepare for extreme events;

ensuring the most effective, well-coordinated response from our emergency services and volunteers when disaster hits; and

working in a swift, compassionate and pragmatic way to help communities recover from devastation and to learn, innovate and adapt in the aftermath of disastrous events. 6

Importantly, agencies must educate individuals to ensure everyone can prevent, prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters. This can be done through the direction, resources and guidelines issued from agencies and other organisations.

6

Australian Government. Council of Australian Governments meeting 2009. retrieved from http://www.coag.gov.au/coag_meeting_outcomes/2009-12-07/index.cfm on 15 June 2011


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Transition to Recovery Under the State Disaster Management Plan, the broader recovery phase is considered to be “…the coordinated process of supporting affected communities in the reconstruction of the physical infrastructure, restoration of the economy and of the environment, and support for the emotional, social, and physical wellbeing of those affected. Recovery is undertaken as a component of disaster operations. Therefore, disaster recovery operations means the phase of disaster operations that relates to recovering from a disaster.”7 Throughout the State, as the threat from the weather events passed, the DDCs consulted with DDMG and LDMG membership to determine the appropriate time to transition from the response phase to recovery phase. In most cases, the DDC had a degree of involvement with recovery phase. The QPS also faced its own recovery challenges to ensure its ongoing ability to provide policing services to the community. This was demonstrated when priority action was taken to restore services at the Centenary North Residential Police Beat in the Mt Ommaney Division, which was inundated by flood waters. On 5 January 2011, Major General Mick Slater was appointed to lead the Queensland Flood Recovery Taskforce. The QPS resource commitment to the recovery efforts in the State has continued with the ongoing secondments of police to the Queensland Reconstruction Authority, both in the Brisbane and North Queensland offices, and the subsequent Flood Commission of Inquiry. Additionally, various QPS members have been involved with a range of activities to support the recovery efforts both in the course of their official duties and on a voluntary basis. Around 130 volunteers from Police Citizens Youth Clubs throughout South East Queensland visited the community of Grantham in the Lockyer Valley and undertook a range of tasks including rubbish removal, mowing and general yard maintenance. In Innisfail, a series of community meetings were held by the Cassowary Coast Council and the QPS commencing with a forum on ABC radio with police and mental health professionals discussing resilience and mental health wellness throughout the recovery phase.

7

Queensland Government (2011). State Disaster Management Plan. Retrieved from www.disaster.qld.gov.au on 20 June 2011, section 9.1.


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Conclusion The fundamental changes made to Queensland disaster management were simply a result of reviewing past performance, striving for continuous improvement and a recognition of the significant capacity the QPS to manage emergency response. History has shown how timely those changes were. In this same context, those responsible for disaster management in Queensland must continually review our legislation, policy and processes to ensure they minimise the risk of all hazards to the community. Some future initiatives may include development of national standards for disaster management and the establishment of a state or national school of disaster management. The Australian community deserves competent and contemporary management in times of disasters and to aim for anything less, in my view is unacceptable.


- 23 Bibliography Australian Government. Council of Australian Governments meeting 2009. retrieved from http://www.coag.gov.au/coag_meeting_outcomes/2009-12-07/index.cfm on 15 June 2011 Boin, A and ‘t Hart.P (2010). Organising for Effective Emergency Management: Lessons from Research. Australian Journal of Public Administration, 2010 vol 69, (4) p 357 – 371 Boin, ‘t Hart, Stern, Sundelius (2010). The Politics of Crisis Management – Public Leadership under Pressure. Cambridge University Press Insurance Council of Australia (2011) retrieved from http://www.aprs.com.au/australian-water-management-news/the-2011-queenslandfloods-the-personal-impact on 22 June 2011 Leading Questions – Circle of Impact Life and Work Guide Services. Retrieved from http://edbrenegar.typepad.com/leading_questions/2005/09/leadership_char.html#tp on 16 June 2011 Queensland Government (2011). State Disaster Management Plan. Retrieved from www.disaster.qld.gov.au on 20 June 2011 Queensland Police Service (2011). Disaster Management and social media – a case study. Produced by the Media and Public Affairs Branch, Queensland Police Service Schuler, A J (2010). Change Management Lessons of Rudy Giuliani, Post 9/11. retrieved from http://www.schulersolutions.com/change_leadership_lessons_of_r.html on 16 June 2011


Leadership in times of crisis

Deputy Commissioner Ian Stewart Queensland Police Service

History of Disaster Management Act changes  2008/09 significant disaster events - The Gap storms and Victorian Black Saturday Bushfires – caused review  Review recommended strengthening of arrangements  Greatest significance – increased operational role for QPS  Changes enacted 1 November 2010

Framework of the Disaster Management Act 

Queensland divided geographically into 22 disaster districts

Each disaster district covers one or more of Queensland’s 73 local governments

Encompasses 31 police districts

1


Affected Districts

Community Impact        

Houses affected by flood waters – over 27,000 (above and below floorboards) Housed damaged by YASI – 2,800 (750 uninhabitable / 194 fully destroyed) Businesses affected by floodwaters – 3,500 People evacuated – 15,500 Number of deaths – 36 Length of road network damaged – 9,170 Bridges and culverts damaged – 89 Rail network impacted – 29%

    

1.74 million hectares of parks and forests impacted by YASI 75% of Australia’ Australia’s banana crop affected by YASI Over 500,000 customers lost electrical supply Over 16,000 people assisted in community support outreach activities activities Recovery call centre and website hits: – – – –

State Emergency Service Line Community Recovery Line Premier’ Premier’s Disaster Relief Line Flood Website

53,091 43,966 63,731 2,083,527

Community Impact  Total reserved (estimated) insured value for Cyclone Yasi and the summer floods - $3.60 billion.  122,100 total insurance claims – – –

8,086 motor vehicle claims (91% finalised) 2.8% of residential property claims are still to be determined 6.5% of residential property claims in QLD have been denied (mainly on policy exclusions) – 1.2% of the total number of claims in QLD are in dispute – insurers are maintaining in excess of 95% QLD content for trades and supplies (source: Insurance Council of Australia, June 2011)

2


QPS Impacts 

36 officers and staff members worked at the State Disaster Coordination Coordination Centre, providing 24 hour coverage during for over six weeks.

52 officers and staff members worked at the Police Operations Centre, Centre, established at Police Headquarters.

990 police officers and staff members deployed to assist regional regional police and district and local disaster management groups in affected areas.

The Police Air Wing flew 451 hours over a distance of 135,781kms (approximately 2.5 times the circumference of the earth at the equator), equator), and carried 1,800 passengers and 30,267kg of equipment and specialised cargo.

In addition to the Air Wing, OSC provided general and specialist support from all areas across the command. About 364 OSC staff were deployed for all events. events. Damage to QPS assets Minor

Moderate

Significant

Police Stations and establishments

Type of Asset

50

4

4

Residences

85

8

2

The Disaster Management ‘triangle’ triangle’ approach

Local Government

Local LocalDisaster DisasterCoordinator Coordinator Local LocalDisaster DisasterCoordination CoordinationCentre Centre Local LocalDisaster DisasterManagement ManagementGroup Group (QPS member onon LDMG) (QPS member LDMG)

The Disaster Management ‘triangle’ triangle’ approach

Disaster District

Local Government

District DistrictDisaster DisasterCoordinator Coordinator(QPS) (QPS) Executive ExecutiveOfficer Officer(QPS) (QPS) District Disaster Coordination Centre District Disaster Coordination Centre District DistrictDisaster DisasterManagement ManagementGroup Group Local LocalDisaster DisasterCoordinator Coordinator Local LocalDisaster DisasterCoordination CoordinationCentre Centre Local Disaster Local DisasterManagement ManagementGroup Group (QPS member onon LDMG) (QPS member LDMG)

3


The Disaster Management ‘triangle’ triangle’ approach STATE COMMITTEES: EXECUTIVE SUPPORT

• SDCG • SDMC

(QPS)

• SDRC

State Government

State Disaster Coordinator State Disaster Coordinator State Recovery Coordinator State Recovery Coordinator State Disaster Coordination Centre State Disaster Coordination Centre State Disaster Management Group State Disaster Management Group (QPS member onon SDMG) (QPS member SDMG)

Disaster District

District DistrictDisaster DisasterCoordinator Coordinator Executive ExecutiveOfficer Officer District Disaster District DisasterCoordination CoordinationCentre Centre District DistrictDisaster DisasterManagement ManagementGroup Group Local LocalDisaster DisasterCoordinator Coordinator Local LocalDisaster DisasterCoordination CoordinationCentre Centre Local Disaster Local DisasterManagement ManagementGroup Group

Local Government

(QPS member onon LDMG) (QPS member LDMG)

The Disaster Management ‘triangle’ triangle’ approach C’wlth Government

EXECUTIVE SUPPORT (QPS)

State Government

Disaster District

Local Government

EMA EMA Crisis Crisis Coordination Coordination Centre Centre

State Disaster Coordinator State Disaster Coordinator State Recovery Coordinator State Recovery Coordinator State Disaster Coordination Centre State Disaster Coordination Centre State Disaster Management Group State Disaster Management Group (QPS member onon SDMG) (QPS member SDMG)

STATE COMMITTEES: • SDCG • SDMC • SDRC

Chair Chair/ District / DistrictDisaster DisasterCoordinator Coordinator(QPS) (QPS) Executive ExecutiveOfficer Officer(QPS) (QPS) District DistrictDisaster DisasterCoordination CoordinationCentre Centre District DistrictDisaster DisasterManagement ManagementGroup Group Local LocalDisaster DisasterCoordinator Coordinator Local LocalDisaster DisasterCoordination CoordinationCentre Centre Local LocalDisaster DisasterManagement ManagementGroup Group (QPS member onon LDMG) (QPS member LDMG)

Role of the State Disaster Coordinator  coordinate disaster operations for the State group  to report regularly to the State group  to ensure that any strategic decisions of the State group are implemented  to provide strategic advice on disaster response operations to district disaster coordinators

4


Role of Police in disaster events          

Preservation of peace and good order Prevention of crime Maintenance of possible crime scenes Coronial investigation procedures Disaster victim identification Establishment of temporary mortuaries Traffic control Coordination of evacuation operations Coordination of evacuations and receptions Registering evacuees and assisting with inquiries regarding evacuations with Red Cross.  Security of damaged premises  Respond to and investigate accidents  Coordination of search and rescue operations

QPS roles during a disaster CCC (Cwlth)

POC

SDCC

MIR

DDCC

PFCP

LDCC

QPS internal structures

QPS RESOURCES

SDMG

DM structures

Decision making during crisis is important

5


Leadership tips

Communication       

provide careful explanations and information as quickly as possible to avoid chaos and confusion inform people of steps they need to take, consequences and future create a sense of order and encourage patience be armed with critical information – if you don’ don’t know answers make sure respond later Coke strategy public forums to provide information on a regular and frequent basis understand / consider the needs of your audience

Leadership tips

Self control and resilience        

every word, action etc made in a time of crisis is more highly scrutinised than usual – care, control, composure, sincerity are important confidence seek feedback from those you trust learn to deal with own fears and reactions be calm and clear about what you want people to know if you make a mistake – be open about it own life is in order stay off line from regular job

Leadership tips

Perspective 

create the big picture by taking all available information and putting it into perspective

predictions of the future events

be optimistic

6


Leadership tips

Ability to be resourceful      

requires decisiveness, creativity and innovation determination never take no for an answer attitude networks knowing where the resources are and how to get them every time you meet someone create a mental database – “call this person when we need such in such” such”

Leadership tips

Be visible and available  become visible and available  people need answers quickly from people in charge  calm fear and concern

Leadership tips

Preparedness 

must have comprehensive, multifaceted emergency preparedness and business continuity plans

enables better responses

robust planning – ‘train hard, fight easy’ easy’

networks

7


Leadership tips

Being prepared to lead 

prepare to lead and take action

develop plans

be ready to execute plans

develop networks – inside and outside organisation

Leadership tips

Political implications  Work in partnership  Networks  Remind politicians of messages sought to be delivered

Leadership tips

Right people– people– right jobs 

build on strengths

make sure you know the capabilities of others

team building

make sure of the resilience of your own staff

8


Leadership tips

Praise 

give praise to those who make positive contributions

praise becomes the most powerful weapon in creating and maintaining order and success

Leadership tips

Raise the bar 

challenge people in community and Service

help people stay focussed

remind people what is your organisations mission and how it serves the needs of others

Leadership tips

Positive vision 

well articulated

keep reminding people of the tremendous and unprecedented opportunity that current circumstances create, even if it all seems like chaos

9


Leadership tips

Expect the unexpected 

regardless of how much planning you do, you will still experience the unexpected - adjust your plans

support other leaders who can’ can’t rise to the events

Jan 10 Flash flooding occurs in  Toowoomba & Lockyer Valley

Jan 5 Fitzroy River peaks  (Rockhampton)

Nov 1 Disaster   Management Act

Dec 25 TC Tasha  (Cat 1)

Jan 13 Brisbane River Peaks,  Bremer River peaks  (Ipswich) Jan11 Flash flooding across QLD  (Brisbane, Caboolture,  North Coast, South West  of QLD)

Jan 10 Flash flooding occurs  in Toowoomba &  Lockyer Valley

Jan 5 Fitzroy River peaks  (Rockhampton)

Nov 1 Disaster  Management  Act

Dec 25 TC Tasha (Cat 1)

Jan 31 TC Anthony  (Cat 2)

Evacuations from  Lockyer Valley,  Oakey, Nanango,  Kingaroy,  Brooklands,  Cherbourg,  Dalby, Chinchilla,  Condamine,  Woodford,  Kilcoy, Moore,  Dayboro,  Narangba,  Caboolture,  Strathpine,  Bupengary,  Gympie

Feb 2 TC Yasi (Cat 5)

Evacuations of  Cairns &  Townsville  hospitals; full  evacuation of  Cardwell.  TC Yasi impact zone  included Mission  Beach, Cardwell,  Tully, Tully Heads,  Innisfail, Ingham.  Significant  structural damage  in Cassowary  Coast region. ADF  response to  support SES/QPS

10


11


5th Australasian Natural Hazards Management Conference

Keynote Presentations

2. Kear, M., “Research and Practice: The importance of agency hazard research programs� Commissioner Murray Kear AFSM NSW State Emergency Service Murray Kear joined the NSW Fire Brigades as a recruit firefighter and served in a variety of roles within the NSW Fire Brigades including six years as an Assistant Commissioner. His education qualifications include a Post Graduate Certificate in Applied Management, a Certificate in Strategic Management and Murray is a graduate of the Institute of Fire Engineers. His last appointment before becoming the Commissioner of the NSW SES was as the Director Community Safety for the NSW Fire Brigades. From 2003 to 2006 he was responsible for an operational command that covered two thirds of the State, incorporating all remote areas. He received the highest honour a firefighter in Australia can receive in 2006 with the awarding of the Australian Fire Service Medal. Murray was appointed Director General, now Commissioner, of the NSW State Emergency Service in November 2008. He is a member of the NSW State Emergency Management Committee, the NSW State Rescue Board, the Australian Council of State & territory Emergency Services and the Australasian Fire and Emergency Services Authorities Council.

Page 39 of 78


Murray Kear AFSM Commissioner NSW State Emergency Service

5th Australasian Natural Hazards Management  Conference 18‐21 July 2011 

Research & Practice: The Importance of Hazard Research  Programs

Map of NSW Showing SES Regions


Flood

Flood

Storm


Storm

Tsunami

Tsunami


Volunteers

Volunteers

Volunteers


Volunteers

Volunteers

Volunteers


Map of NSW Showing SES Regions

Map of NSW

Warragamba Dam


Evacuation

Evacuation

Evacuation


SES Evacuation Timeline

SES Contact

steve.opper@ses.nsw.gov.au

Wave Amplitude • 63% of locations had an  amplitude recorded or  estimated • Largest recorded by a  tide gauge – 0.85m at  Eden. • Largest observed ‐4.3m  in Middle Harbour.

Observed  Amplitude

Number of  Observations

0 ‐ 0.3m

14

0.31 ‐ 0.6m

13

0.61 ‐ 0.9m 0.91‐ 1.2m

9 5

1.21 ‐ 1.5m

1

1.5m+

2


1964 Tsunami

Dart Buoy Map  Australian Region 

Dart Bouy


Bureau of Meteorology Joint  Australian Tsunami Warning Centre

Flash Flooding 

Quote Bernard Loomis “The trouble with this type of research is that it  tells you what people were thinking about  yesterday, not tomorrow.  It’s like driving a car  using a rear view mirror.”


Quote Neil Armstrong “Research is creating new knowledge.”

Questions


5th Australasian Natural Hazards Management Conference

Keynote Presentations

3. Coward, D. & Erasmus, D., “Reflections on Christchurch Earthquake Disasters” Assistant National Commander Dan Coward AFNZIM MOSH New Zealand Fire Service Director, Strategic Redevelopment Christchurch Dan Coward joined the New Zealand Fire Service in 1996 posted to Gisborne. During his 14 years Dan has worked in a variety of roles, from operations in Gisborne, Health and Safety Coordinator, Operational Officer and Deputy Chief Fire Officer in the Central West Region. During that time was involved in response to the beaching of the logging ship Jodi F Millennium in 2002 and the Central North Island Floods in 2004. Promoted to Chief Fire Officer of the Christchurch brigade in 2007 saw the restructuring and amalgamation of roles and ranks and Dan was appointed the Area Commander for Christchurch in 2009. Over the past 6 months Dan has responded to the September 4th earthquake, was involved in the management response for Pike River Coal Mine explosion on the West Coast of the South Island and was appointed Acting Assistant National Commander to lead the overall Fire Service response to the February 22nd earthquake.

Inspector Derek Erasmus Area Commander, Canterbury Central New Zealand Police Service Inspector Derek Erasmus is the Area Commander for Canterbury Central. His area includes the Christchurch CBD and lower socioeconomic eastern suburbs of the city. The whole area was badly affected by both the September and February earthquakes. Following the February quake Derek was responsible for initial command of the Police response and was then second in command to the District Commander for the following month. He was the officer in charge of logistics and planning for the September earthquake and ran the Police response to the Boxing Day aftershock Derek has been a Police officer for 27 years with most of that time spent in Christchurch. He is married with two children and is committed to his city      

Page 51 of 78


OPERATION EARTHQUAKE  2010 ‐ 2011 • Personal Experience • What worked • What needs improvement • Partnerships

What worked well • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Partnerships Immediate police reaction / initiative Speed of National mobilisation International Response Individual leaders at all ranks Staff Welfare Check Hygiene Campaign Reassurance Patrols Media Operation 5 days Special Leave Coffee Vans - morale booster Engineers DVD Toilets/plumbing Public support (food / feedback) Text messaging Lessons learnt/Recognition

Improvements Required


Aspects that need to be improved. • Staff Perspective: – – – –

Rosters – 3 different rosters, try to maintain normality EOC situated inside cordon (rendered cordon obsolete)!! Too many bosses – confusion on whose commands to obey. Plan changes • “Change because new boss not because change needed”.

– Return to Central (Staff concerns).

• Management Perspective: – – – – – – – –

Area of responsibility an issue. Rosters – 3 different rosters – changes. Briefings – overcrowded, too lengthy Skill matching roles. Rotation / Rest , needed to take breaks when rostered. 12hr shifts generally 14 – 15hrs (Fatigue). Logistics – under staffed. Needed experts Return to Central

Allocation of Staff “It reminded me of my time in Afghanistan … watching the different Afghani warlords.”

“ I just turned my phone off so that I could stop being reassigned” “…within 500metres we had been tasked 3  different jobs by 3 different bosses”.


Partnerships CIMS Inter‐agency cooperation/relationships. Police/Army/Fire Service team. Competing priorities from Central  Commands (DVI) • Army response time & entire input. • Army support for mortuary/DVI. • Customs Service excellent support with  internationals. • • • •

“OPEN YOUR EYES… EYES… LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL”


5th Australasian Natural Hazards Management Conference

Keynote Presentations

4. Goebel, G., “Recovering from Crisis� Mr Greg Goebel Executive Director Australian Red Cross, Queensland Greg Goebel joined Australian Red Cross as Executive Director in January 2000. Prior to this he worked for 15 years in senior executive and leadership roles in Government and in the private sector. As Executive Director of Australian Red Cross, Queensland, Greg is responsible for overseeing the introduction of programs to improve the lives of vulnerable people including services to indigenous communities, vulnerable and homeless youth, those with a disability, and the isolated and elderly, more recently the transition of asylum seekers into Community Detention. Greg has led many projects of national significance including a review of first aid health & safety, a review of detention visitation programs. In 2004 he undertook a national visioning project which was the largest consultation undertaking of its kind in Red Cross to determine the future strategy and direction of the organisation for the next 10 years. More recently, he has been involved in the floods and Cyclone Yasi response. In March 2005 Greg led the Red Cross recovery effort in Cyclone Larry with over 80 staff and 400 volunteers mobilised to help the people of north Queensland. For that he was awarded Red Cross national Meritorious Service Award. He has since been involved in recovery effects following the severe storms which hit Brisbane in 2008 and after Cyclones Ellie and Charlotte in 2009. Greg was also the recipient of the Centenary Medal in 2001 for services to the community.

Page 55 of 78


5TH AUSTRALASIAN NATURAL HAZARDS MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE July 2011, Gold Coast Australia Greg Goebel Executive Director ( Australian Red Cross QLD)

RECOVERING FROM CRISIS

Thank you for the opportunity to talk and reflect with you today on how communities, individuals recover form crisis. At the out set I want to acknowledge those in the Emergency Management Planning , Response, Recovery and Research business because it is the combined experiences of us all that enhances our knowledge, abilities and capacities to better manage disasters and cope with their outcomes. There is no doubt that the recent December to February months in Queensland were the worst period of disasters in Queensland’s history. With 72 of 73 Local Government areas disaster declared ( approx 99.5% of the state), 210 towns affected, an estimated 3000 homes deemed unliveable, and 37 fatalities, the economic, social and emotional cost on the state is significant. Queensland regularly experiences disasters – mainly flooding and cyclones. In fact since 2007 we have had 28 natural disaster activations. But this disaster was on a scale not seen before. Towns like Tully, Silkwood Kurrimine, El Arish , and surrounding communities that had previously been severely impacted by Cyclone Larry in March 2006. They had recovered and were hit again by Cyclone Yasi. The cyclone and accompanying storm surge of 6.5 metres had a devastating impact destroy nearly all structures in its path at Tully Heads, Hull Heads, parts of Cardwell. In some of those communities nearly every house was destroyed resulting in a complete fracturing and dislocation of the community. In western Queensland, many towns were only just getting over floods that had occurred in January 2010 to be flooded again – but this time more severe and more wide spread. Many western communities had just emerged from a decade of drought to be followed by two years of flooding. For the first time whole town populations were evacuated by helicopter. The impact on residents was significant. In Condamine the town was evacuated twice as waters receded and rose again. 1


And of course there was the flooding of Ipswich and Brisbane. Water reaching heights of 18.9 metres in parts of Ipswich and 4.7 metres in Brisbane. Brisbane had flooded in 1974 but it was a distant memory for many and unimaginable for many more. But the most devastating impact was as a result of a storm deluge of 70mm in the town of Toowoomba on 10 January causing a wall of water 7 metres to travel down to the Lockyer Valley, impacting on the tiny towns of Grantham, Gatton, Murphey’s Creek, Postmans Ridge, and Withcott. 37 lives were lost in what was almost incomprehendable scenes of destruction in what is normally flat pain wide open farming country. It was also a disaster that tested the preparedness and resilience of many communities, and the resources of Government agencies, NOG’s and all those involved in the emergency services space. For Red Cross it involved:     

the deployment of over 1400 emergency service volunteers and staff managing 33 evacuation centres housing over 12000 people managing 11 emergency shelters accommodating 6500 people assisting in some 30 Recovery Centres deploying door to door outreach teams to 31 different towns and more recently having recovery teams in the Lockyer Valle, Somerset, Western Queensland and north Queensland

So:  How do those directly impacted by these crisis recover  How do those not directly impacted, but affected and moved by what they saw, help recovery or hinder the recovery process;  And what are some new and emerging trends that perhaps challenge our emergency management institutional frameworks for recovery How do those directly impacted by disasters recover How communities and people recover from a crisis is influenced by a number of key factors:  How they go into the event – in other words their level of preparedness and understanding of the event at both a community and individual level  The event itself – how widespread, how traumatic, the level of damage and the emotional and structural toll the event takes

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 And what happens immediately after the event – how quickly the resources can be mobilised , what supports are given to whom and when, and the of social and institutional capital of the community The evidence and experience of those working in communities affected by disasters indicate that this last factor ( What happens immediately after the event) accounts for between 60-70% of how communities and people recover. Preparedness There is no doubt that having pervious experience of a disaster is a large factor in effective preparedness both at a community and individual level. The location of and ability to quickly set up evacuation centres and mobilise the appropriate human resources is well practiced in many communities. In others ,Disaster Plans were inadequate and never contemplated the scale or need for evacuation, and so they scrambled at the last minute to mobilise resources. I recently attended the Retirement Villages Association Conference and heard of a multi-story retirement village in Brisbane that had good disaster evacuation plans for fire with adequate assembly points for residents, but not for floods. So there is a need for better understanding of disaster scenarios at all levels in the community. I think that it is fair to say that despite the frequency of cyclones in Queensland the planning and preparation of cyclone shelters is a matter of great concern. There were plenty of examples of poor preparation that could have led to serious consequences. The recent announcement by the Queensland Government of the construction of specially built cyclone shelters is long overdue but welcome. But there were many examples of improvements based on pervious experience of disasters. The western town of St George had severe experienced sever flooding in March 2010. Water had flooded from the Balonne River and come up through the water drainage pipes. In January there was a level of preparedness at both an individual and community level based on experience. The council and residents had constructed a levy bank on the lower parts of the town where the river traditionally breaks its banks. Some residents near the river built their own levies to isolate their houses from rising waters. The town storm water drainage man-holes were reinforced to prevent waters from inundating the town.

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And in Towns like Theodore where the waters the previous year had lapped the retirement village, the village manager had revised their evacuation plans in case waters rose even higher. The waters did and all elderly residents were evacuated to the nearby Boelia hospital. Understanding and utilising that local knowledge from previous disasters helped a number of communities and individuals better prepare. I recall meeting an elderly couple in an evacuation centre in Emerald who told me they had done this many times before. They said they knew what to expect when they returned home, they knew from experience what they had to bring to the centre, and what they had to do first when they first returned home. Previous experience taught them not only how to prepare, but the steps to recovery. While Local Governments have Local Government Disaster Plans, it has to be said that the level of community and individual preparedness remains generally low. Perhaps unlike the elderly couple, without actual living experience there is no realisation of the likely impacts of disasters and what can be done at an individual level to minimise their effects and speed up recovery. An attitude that it won’t happen to me seems to be far too prevalent in some communities. Worse still there seems to be creeping in an unhealthy level of “learned helplessness”. A complacent attitude that there is no need for individual responsibility because Governments, Emergency Service Agencies and NGO’s will be there almost immediately to assist and provide financial support and other forms of assistance – so don’t worry. Indeed I have had it said to me that some regard it as a right to receive such assistance irrespective of need. It’s a pattern of help and assistance that was rightly implemented following Cyclone Larry – a response to widespread destruction and obvious need. But it has been carried on and expanded in almost every disaster ever since irrespective of the scale and level of destruction. That pattern follows the early establishment of Government Recovery Centres resourced by Government Agencies and assisted by NGO’ and other local community organisations to provide emergency relief payments, assistance and advice to those who have the ability to access the centres.

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Anyone who has been to these Recovery Centres immediately after a disaster will testify that they are crowded with individuals and families and require huge logistical resources to satisfy demand. But is this sustainable recovery? Is there a better way? It is timely to question the effectiveness and long term implications of such an approach and whether greater benefit would be derived from a more door to door assessment of individual need, or better planning to better understand who in the community are most likely to need special assistance – for example the elderly, those with a disability, those receiving home help on a regular basis. There is no doubt that there are many in the community who need immediate and significant assistance to recovery. My point is that emergency recovery interventions immediately after disasters need to be better targeted and understood lest they unintendedly discourage a level of personal responsibility and preparedness and engender a dependency model of reliance on Government and community organisations. Perhaps it is no wonder then that the December 2009 Australian Council of Governments ( COAG) agreed to adopt a whole of nation resilience based approach to disaster management by having Governments at all levels:    

Not only to implement risk based land management and planning strategies; and Ensure effective and well co-ordinated response from emergency service agencies and volunteers; but also to educate and inform people about how to assess risks and reduce exposure; and Educate people to understand options and the best course of action to take when disasters approach

Their communiqué noted that the role of individuals in disaster resilience is to take their share of responsibility for preventing, preparing for and responding to and recovering from disasters. For some resilience is difficult enough in the normal course of their lives. People coping with mental illness and social isolation, broader social justices issues, limited financial means or the aged and those with disabilities - they will generally always require some form of assistance or help when the stresses and impacts of disasters strike. But for the broader population much can be done to help themselves. The Recovery in Queensland is a multifaced approach lead by the Queensland Reconstruction Authority. I don’t want to spend time on this but acknowledge that this integrated and coordinated approach focussing on the human and social recovery, with the

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economic, environmental, and infrastructure recovery is the scale of recovery that is needed when recovery overwhelms local communities. To the credit of the Queensland Government it was quickly organised, well resources and is very effective even in these early days of recovery. The Red Cross model of community recovery from disasters is based on a number of principles that reflect the growing body of best practice that is now well documented. In essence it recognises that recovery works best when communities and individuals have access to:    

Relevant and helpful information Social situations that help them to talk about, interpret and evaluate information and their experiences Opportunities to participate in the planning, development and decision making on recovery actions Opportunities to question and have their voices heard by authorities

Our approach is to build on the strengths of communities using a community based approach that empowers them to take care of themselves thus reducing their dependency on outside resources and building their own social and community capital. The process takes time. It relies on the good planning and collaboration and coordination between local community organisations and good local community leadership. In communities where there is well established and strong social capital recovery generally tends to progresses quickly. Communities with stable populations and little change, where there is a high level of social connectedness they tend to cope and recover better. I recall the day after Cyclone Yasi hit Tully there were groups of women from a community based health support group mobilising teams to provide support to elderly residents. They knew the town. They knew who would probably need help and they got on with the job. They were organised and connected. But those communities with low social capital, high population turnover or itinerant populations struggle and need outside help and guidance. Dr Rob Gordon is a clinical psychologist and advisor to Red Cross. He hased with the Victorian Government in the aftermath of the Victorian Bushfires and who has been working with a number of communities and organisations in Queensland following the floods and cyclones. Dr Gordon has said that:

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Emergencies have complex consequences for body, mind and social systems and that recovery strategies need to reconstruct the fabric of social life It is the reconstruction of that fabric of social life that is so important in recovery, especially in those communities hardest impacted. Linking people with others as soon as possible and discouraging people from withdrawing and losing touch with affected communities is critical. As is convening communities of interest as soon as possible to enable those affected to share their stories, talk through their experiences, process their feelings, and reconnect with neighbours and friends. Not everybody needs a professional counsellor – some undoubtedly do – but most just want to talk, to know that others are listening and they understand. So an important strategy for recovery in many communities has been the running of social get to get togethers, the Murphy’s Creek Community Day, the Australia Day community breakfasts, the community centre Bar B Ques, the morning teas, the cultural and community based events. - occassions that bring the community together and promote opportunities for people to form informal and formal groups, that enables them to be linked into the recovery system. A new community recovery phenomenon which appears to be emerging is the development, in some communities, of self organising spontaneous groups who want to take on a recovery role outside the normal institutional recovery arrangements - to do their own outreach and counselling, to establish their own help lines, or run their own recovery centres. Usually facilitated by a community leader but sometimes led by an “outsider’, formed because of a perceived failure of the system to deliver, and a belief they can do better, sometimes utilising social media as a mobilising tool, they determine their own course of action. They are sometimes seen as threatening traditional Government arrangements because they don’t fit into the way of doing things. It would be easy to isolate or dismiss them or label them within the framework of “pop” psychology. But local community grass roots enthusiasm and leadership can be harnessed and moulded into effective action by giving them relevant information, skills and resources. So recent Red Cross publications including “Communications in Recovery” are designed specifically to assist those groups and other organisation in the recovery process. Let me turn to the question of those not directly impacted by disasters, but moved by what they see. Do their actions help or hinder recovery from crisis?

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There is no doubt that the media have a huge impact on the public’s emotional reaction to disasters and those who are affected. Images of suffering, destroyed property, lost loved ones, mud filled houses has a direct and immediate impact on those not directly impacted. One has only to look at the level of financial donations that appeals engender. The Red Cross Victorian Bushfires Appeal following Black Saturday raised $391million. The Queensland Premier’s Disaster Relief Appeal has raised $273m – but it was after the images of the loss of life and destruction in the Lockyer Valley that caused a dramatic spike in the levels of donations. There is no doubt that this level of financial assistance is needed and utterly helpful. But there are other levels of assistance which have to be seriously questioned or at least better managed. The donation of goods into disaster areas has been growing, is uncontrolled and if we are to accept recent studies, may have the capacity to actually do harm and in the long term hinder recovery. It is well documented that the donation of goods following the Victorian Bushfires was in excess of 40,000 pallets and occupied more than 50,square meters of storage space requiring approx 35 staff to mange the handling, transport, distribution and disposal of goods. During Cyclone Larry semi trailer loads of goods arrived unannounced into Innisfail, despite pleas from authorities that they were not needed. Many ended up in landfill. In one case a donation had an unexpected benefit. Several cartons of hockey sticks were donated. A gentleman came into the evacuation centre suffering from bad arthritis and without his walking aids. As luck would have it, hockey sticks have a dual purpose, and whats more they have large handles, a large base that does not easily sink into water soaked ground, and they come in different heights and colours. Again during the recent disasters in Queensland warehouses of uninvited goods began arriving. In one case in Theodore, where, for the first time in Queensland’s history the whole town was evacuated to safety, 8 shipping containers arrived outside the evacuation centre, with a request “where do you want them”. I think they were told to take them back home. The public’s urge to help those in need triggers the collection and transport of clothing, food stuffs, electrical goods, and furniture in large quantities. Many people simply use it as an excuse to clean out their cupboards.

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Other go out of their way to buy new goods that they think others will need. Often this urge is spurned on by the media who want to make heroes of those who organise convoys of goods, providing news footage of grateful recipients – or are they? A Report released least year by the Attorney General’s Department by the entitled “ Management of Donated goods Following a Disaster” examined this issue from the perspective of the recipient. The research was done by the Dept of Families and Communities SA and interviewed people who had been on the end of receiving goods or “charity” It is salutary reading: All but one of the recipients ( in a focus group) was given poor quality or unsuitable clothing. All felt insulted and diminished by the experience. Some lost friends because of the attitude that anything would be OK. All expressed a level of resentment about being expected to be grateful for being given items that they then had to dispose of because they were unsuitable or in such poor condition. The lack of thoughtfulness from people was very hurtful to most of the participants. One person was told that she needed to accept the donations with good grace because “it helped the donor heal”. One person said she eventually go to the stage where she understood “ Australia loves us”. It is a harsh reality but most of what is donated generally ends up in land fill. The biggest offender is clothing closely followed by electrical goods. A “Salvation Army Report following the SA Bushfires in 2005 noted: It was exasperating for deployed personnel and volunteers to continually unload household goods in extremely poor condition, clothing suitable only as rags, and other goods that were in appropriate when they were acutely aware of the desperate need of victims who had literally lost everything” It is important to note that not all donated goods are unuseful or not wanted. Some are needed and do genuinely help people recover materially. Some corporate donations of goods are needed but generally not immediately after the disaster – but months later during recovery and house rebuilding. Being in control of your one’s own recovery is a crucial part of building resilience. Being made to feel grateful, or humiliated, or treated as a charity because of the nature or obligation to accept donated goods is a hinderance to recovery and in the long term probably does more harm than good.

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That is why cash for those most effected, which leads to choice, which encourages spending in the local economy is such an essential message for disaster recovery. The community sometimes forgets that local businesses also have to recover and its hard for the local whitegoods supplier to recover if all the whitegoods come from outside the town, or groceries are not bought from the supermarkets. But it is not just donations of money or goods that is triggered by emotional images of disasters. In Brisbane after the city flooding there emerged the so called “ mud army� – 25,000 volunteers organised overnight to clean up, move rubbish, show compassion, lend a helping hand. It was estimated that combined with families and friends more than 100,000 people were mobilised in the community based clean up effort with teams of up to 7000 being sent to the worst affected areas. It was a remarkable effort and reminiscent of what also happened after the 1974 Brisbane Floods. In some ways those not directly impacted from a disaster also had to recover from what they saw. And the best way was get in and help wherever possible. In a sense the whole city and many of its abled bodied citizens, particularly the younger generation, wanted to contribute in a practical way to the recovery effort. Perhaps the greatest legacy from the clean up efforts were that neighbours met neighbours - some for the first time. Residents in streets became socially connected. Neighbourhood took on a meaning that seem to have been lost over the generations. And it would appear that that connectedness is still continuing. Some new and emerging trends that perhaps challenge our emergency management institutional frameworks for recovery There is no doubt that social media its organising and mobilising capabilities is creating new behavioural opportunities which directly impact on disaster response and recovery. There is now plenty of overseas and recent evidence of the power of facebook and twitter to communicate important knowledge during disasters. Social media has radically changed how people communicate including their calls for help. Like the example in the UK in 2009 of two Australian girls aged 10 and 12 trapped in a drain pipe, changed their Facebook status alerting friends to call for help.

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Research by Red Cross suggests that the public is increasingly relying on social media and mobile tools in the daily lives and therefore during emergencies. The American Red Cross found that many people would turn to social media to seek help for themselves or others during an emergency and they expected first responders to be listening. 69% said they expected emergency responders to be monitoring social media sites in order to help quickly 74% of people they surveyed said they expected help to come within the hour after their tweet or facebook post. I don’t think we have quite reached that stage yet, but the use of social media by the Queensland Police during the recent disasters highlighted the powerful immediacy of twitter and facebook to impart critical information to those in the face of disasters. A case study by Queensland Police following the recent disaster noted that in the 24 hour period following the flash floods in Toowoomba and the Lockyer Valley the number of “likes” on their Facebook page increased from 17,000 to 100,000 generating 39 million post impressions or 450 post views per second. But it is not just in the area of imparting “trusted source’ information that this media is being used. Citizen journalism now gives realtime and alternative disaster information. – some good, and some illinformed, wrong and unhelpful. The traditional sources of information are being challenged, supplemented and used by others. Following the floods in Brisbane Danielle Crismani wanted to help. Being part of the “mud army” was not her thing. ���So while I was sitting there (may be in the kitchen) needing something to do I came up with the idea to begin a baked relief for our SES volunteers. So last night through Twitter and Facebook I launched my Baked Relief hash tag and offers of baking came flooding in” And the rest is history as they say. Offers flooded in and soon meals were being delivered to 10,000 people involved in flood disaster and relief. It was a form of citizen response that then spread to New Zealand – Baked Relief NZ and has gone world wide. She is now engaged in “Cookbooks for Cooks” to gather cookbooks and give them to families affected by the disasters. Social Media is also being used to form local self help recovery groups. Residents in the flooded Bundamba area have their own Facebook Bundamba Flood Support Group with 199 members and more than 2200 posts.

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They share information about resources, upcoming community meetings, Government information, as well as messages of support. It is also used as a vehicle for other support agencies such as the Salvation Army to communicate upcoming events and activities. So social media has already emerged as a tool to aid recovery but is it also the merging as the most important instantaneous mass communication means during all phases of a disaster. Conclusion Ladies and Gentlemen, I began by saying that the recent disasters in Queensland were the worst in Queensland’s history. But out of that will come many learning’s, not the least will include recommendations due out next month from the Queensland Government Commission of Inquiry. Our collective challenge is to do something from those learning’s to further improve the level of community and individual preparedness, response and recovery from future disasters. Thank you.

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Recovering from Crisis

Queensland’s worst disaster period

Tully, Silkwood, Kurramine, El Arish


Cardwell, Tully Heads, Hull Head

Western towns flooded

Ipswich flooded


Brisbane suburbs flooded

Toowoomba and Lockyer Valley

Red Cross role


How do those directly affected recover

Designated shelter - Tully


St George house levy bank

Cyclone Larry – a defining moment

Recovery Centres


COAG strategy – community and organisational resilience Ipswich – before

Communities, individuals and households need to take responsibility for their own safety and Act on information and advice before during and after a disaster

Building resilience – some will always need help

Recovery works best when…..


Operation Queenslander – the recovery plan

Reconstruct the fabric of social life

Linking people, information, access


Some challenging issues – help or hinderance?

Donated Goods


Donated Goods

“Mud Army” spontaneous volunteers”

“Mud Army” spontaneous volunteers”


A new challenge – social media

Thank you for your support.


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5th Annual Australian Natural Hazards Management Conference


Keynotes