Views and Visions: Posts from our People
The cyclone doesn’t come on pay day
I gratefully attended the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC workshop held recently at Ngukurr in Arnhem Land, Northern Territory - a town of 973 people located approximately three hours east of Katherine. The workshop provided a forum for traditional owners, researchers and community members to discuss the progress of various CRC projects and the concerns about natural hazards and resilience for communities within the region.
I presented on the Australian Natural Disaster Resilience Index project and how it aims provides measures of social resilience for communities throughout the country. Feedback was positive and highlighted numerous concerns about the underlying issues with the communities. It was reported during the workshop that few residents felt safe with overcrowding of housing, lack of information such as safe areas, building standards, relevant weather information and the lack of adequate early warning systems being key areas for concern.
Comments such as “the cyclone doesn’t come on pay day” highlighted the financial hardship that can occur post disaster, and in terms of measuring resilience, are expected to be easily reported by examination of financial information for an area. Other factors will be more difficult. For instance while Ngukurr and Gunbalanya (another Arnhem Land community where CRC research is underway) have emergency management plans, they were created without community involvement, and the plans themselves are held within the police station. Extremely few people knew of the existence of the emergency management plans, and their contents were unknown as residents are extremely unlikely to ask the police.