Before going any further, I'd like you to consider the devastating 2019-20 Black Summer Bushfires in Australia. I focus on event because it has prompted a major National Review of disaster and emergency management arrangements. The Royal Commission into Natural Disaster Arrangements released their final report at the end of last year. Royal Commissions are basically a big investigation that relies on submissions from all kinds of stakeholders, from academics, to frontline workers, to citizens. This process results in a series of recommendations that the government considers. While the bushfires prompted this review, the recommendations take a multi-hazard approach. So, how can you manage fires, smoke, heatwaves, floods, cyclones in a more coordinated way.
I'd like you to look at a few sections of this report and also keep it on hand as we go through the course. It has a lot of information relevant to the topics we cover, albeit we are exploring geospatial dimensions in greater depth. First, have a look at some photos and videos from the Bushfire History Project (below) to get a feel for what happened last year.
2019-20 Bushfire History Project - Fires (3:51 minutes)
2019-20 Bushfire History Project - Damage (2:54 minutes)
2019-20 Bushfire History Project - Recovery (2:06 minutes)
Now, look at the download the report from this direct link or go to the Commission's website.
Please read the following sections (don't worry if these seem a bit technical given you just started the course):
- Forward - page 5-7
- The 2019-20 disaster season - page 19
- Disasters have changed & We need to act on multiple fronts - page 22
- A national picture needs national data - page 28-29
- The impact of natural disasters on essential services (Figure 35) - page 227-229
- Mental health and natural disasters - page 345-348
- Earth observation systems - page 498
I'd like you to consider a few questions (nothing to submit now!):
- From these sections of the report, does anything jump out at you with regard to data needs in emergency management?
- Do you think the Australia situation is similar to your home country?
- From what you know so far (and it is early in the course!) do you think geospatial data is most useful for:
- Preparing for a disaster?
- Responding when it is in progress?
- Recovering and rebuilding?
I hope this has provided a concrete and current picture of the complexity of emergency management. I'll refer you back to the Royal Commission report later in the class.