This Week in Disaster Resilience 18th September 2020

Dear colleague,

Please find links below to some aspects of disaster resilience that were in the news this week…

Recent emergencies/disasters

A Siege of 80 Large, Uncontained Wildfires Sweeps the Hot, Dry West

The death toll from wildfires choking the west coast of the US continued

Floods generated by exceptional rainfall have killed more than 200 people and affected over a million more, in a band of countries from Senegal to Sudan

Tropical Storm Sally Is Heading North, Stalking New Orleans

Nepal – Over 30 Dead or Missing After Floods and Landslides in Sindhupalchok

Tunisia – Floods Leave 6 Dead After Days of Heavy Rain

DR Congo – 50 Feared Dead as Mine Collapses During Floods

Ethiopia – 300,000 Displaced by Floods, Says UN

Hurricane Sally strengthens 'rapidly' as Gulf Coast braces, mandatory evacuations in Louisiana, Mississippi

Mauritania – Deadly Floods in South and East

1,000 Firefighters, 15 Aircraft Battle Wildfire in Portugal

Death toll rises in US as wildfires continue in West Coast states

Cape Verde – Deadly Flash Floods in Praia

Indonesia – at Least 4 Dead, 2,000 Displaced After Floods in 4 Provinces

Hurricane Sally nears U.S. Gulf Coast as residents brace for historic floods

Firefighters make progress in west coast blazes as smoke spreads across US

Uganda – Deadly Flash Floods in Kampala

India – 1 Dead, 34,000 Affected After Fresh Floods in Assam

Vietnam – 2 Dead After Severe Storms Cause Floods and Landslides in North

Lightning strikes kill 42 people in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, India

Flooding, Power Outages Spread as Hurricane Sally Batters Alabama, Florida

India's coronavirus cases pass 5 million as hospitals scramble for oxygen

Guatemala – 25,000 Affected by Heavy Rain, Floods and Landslides

Indonesia – Deadly Landslide in West Papua, Floods in Central Sulawesi and West Kalimantan

After the floods, assessing Hurricane Sally's damage

Volcanic activity worldwide 17 Sep 2020: Semeru volcano, Dukono, Reventador, Sangay, Bezymianny

At least 1 dead as Hurricane Sally unleashes "catastrophic and life-threatening" flooding along Gulf Coast

Extreme Weather and Climate Change

Earth may temporarily pass dangerous 1.5℃ warming limit by 2024, major new report says

UK: the record-breaking August 2020 heatwave

Climate insights 2020: natural disasters

South Australia solar power reaches 94 pct of state demand on Sunday

The Age Of The ‘Megafire’ Is Upon Us

Climate crisis could displace 1.2 billion people by 2050, report warns

Will Extreme Weather Keep Getting Worse? Scientists Say Yes

A big chunk of Greenland's ice cap breaks off as Arctic shifts to new climate regime

Consortium Launches Program to Train Next Generation of City Climate Resilience Leaders

A warming California sets the stage for future floods

Slightest heat increase magnifies hurricane risk

South-South cooperation to tackle climate change

Mapping the effectiveness of nature‐based solutions for climate change adaptation

Multiple benefits of DRR investment: UR Tanzania

UBC researchers launch vulnerability index to track potential health impacts of climate change

The seawater carbon inventory at the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum

Wild weather this year shows growing impact of climate change, scientists say

We need to treat extreme events as connected, not as anomalies

More Americans think climate change poses a long-term threat to society than COVID-19 – 55% versus 44% respectively

6 Graphics Explain the Climate Feedback Loop Fueling US Fires

Just One Name Left on the Hurricane List and It’s Only September

New Zealand first in the world to require climate risk reporting

Disaster risk reduction

Learning from experience: Insights from China’s progress in disaster risk management

UAE cultivates the first private sector Alliance for Disaster Resilient Societies (ARISE) in the Arab Region

A data-driven framework to address gender issues in managing flood risks: flood risk management support project for the city of Buenos Aires

Coastal development between opportunity and disaster risk: a multisectoral risk assessment for Vietnam

Flood risk management in Africa

Reimagining resilience in a post pandemic world

Strengthening hydromet services, disaster preparedness and urban resilience in Honduras

Americans back tough limits on building in fire and flood zones

Guwahati gets an experimental flood warning system

Flood risk and coastal assessment of the Tocumen river: prioritization of hybrid infrastructure for urban flood risk reduction in Panama

Why are landslides so deadly in Nepal?

Modelling would predict where dangerous blazes could occur across Australia so firefighting planes and helicopters could be deployed in advance

Localization and coalescence of seismicity before large earthquakes

Developing open-source technical business and scientific standards for climate physical risk projections of future repair and replacement costs of residential and commercial buildings and infrastructure in Australia

FT Ministry ready to work with others to address KL flash floods

The Indian Government’s flood insurance packages can do better. This is how

Megafires: Climate change or land management?

Beyond 2D inventories: synoptic 3D landslide volume calculation from repeat LiDAR data

New homes, highways boost flood risk on Turkey's northern coast

California wildfires: can insurance markets handle the risk?

Effectiveness of flood early warning system to reduce economic loss at four communities

World risk report 2020 - focus: forced displacement and migration

Our land was taken. But we still hold the knowledge of how to stop mega-fires

Disruptive resilience: an agenda for the new normal in cities of the global South

Investing in early fire detection could save $8 billion

Flash flood indicators

Emergency management

Made worse by tree loss, flooding forces migration in Afghanistan

US: In the line of fire

Pandemic preparedness panel slams collective failure to heed warnings

Covid-19: Fearing a second wave, the French government is relying on a local strategy

Firefighters pushed to the limits as unprecedented infernos rage across US west coast

Who Gets the First COVID-19 Vaccines? The Answer is a Complex Tangle of Science and Ethics

On the Fire Line, Grueling Work and a Shared Purpose

The Scariest Part of These Fires Is What Happens Next

“We only have the one”: Mapping the prevalence of people with high body mass to aid regional emergency management planning in aotearoa New Zealand

Sudan pleads for aid to tackle devastating floods

Australian Major Incidents Report 2019-20 published

Interim observations from the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements

Schools get ready for bushfire season

Disaster education, communications and engagement

Adaptive capacity as an educational goal to advance policy for integrating DRR into quality education for sustainable development

There’s actually a word for the climate change-induced despair you’ve been feeling

Examination of how social media can inform the management of volunteers during a flood disaster

What is a hurricane storm surge, and why is it so dangerous?

Combination of school evacuation drill with tsunami inundation simulation: consensus-making between disaster experts and citizens on an evacuation strategy

National youth survey on climate change and disaster risk

Australia it’s time to get prepared for… Big Weather (and how to survive it)

Psychology and disasters

COVID-19 and patients with serious mental illness

Solastalgia and Californian wildfires

For many families, the first disaster can be far from the last

Exposure Outliers: Children, Mothers, and Cumulative Disaster Exposure in Louisiana

Extreme rains lead to more rural farmer suicides than droughts: Study

Is the climate crisis creating a mental health crisis?

Bouncing Back During COVID-19

Sociology and disasters

Hurricanes and COVID-19 in Florida: Are counties prepared to protect hurricane-vulnerable populations?

Addressing gendered and other inequalities will be central to COVID-19 recovery

Building trust within and across communities for health emergency preparedness

Latino, Black, Native American households suffer disproportionate financial strain amid pandemic

Women’s leadership in the Pacific: trailblazer opens world of disaster management to women

Guardians of the planet: Asia Pacific children and youth voices on climate crisis and disaster risk reduction


Get disaster resilience updates at

Get climate change updates at

If you have any links you wish to share please send them to:

 Neil Dufty

Principal, Molino Stewart Pty Ltd

E-mail: [email protected]


Follow us on Twitter @molinostewart

Find out more about The International Emergency Management Society (TIEMS) at

Support for this initiative provided by Molino Stewart Pty Ltd If you wish to subscribe or unsubsribe please send an email to [email protected]

Subscribe to Molino Stewart’s free monthly newsletter ‘Floodplain Manager’ by registering your interest at [email protected]

This Week in Disaster Resilience 11th September 2020

Dear colleague,

Please find links below to some aspects of disaster resilience that were in the news this week…

Recent emergencies/disasters 

Sudan declares state of emergency from floods 

Flood kills four, destroys 5200 houses in Kano 

Creek Fire: Helicopters rescue dozens of trapped California campers 

California Sets Record With 2M Acres Burned So Far This Year 

Sudan: Dozens dead, thousands of homes destroyed by floods 

Nigeria: Flood of Tears, As Homes, Farmlands Get Washed Away 

Senegal – State of Emergency After Deadly Floods 

West Africa – Floods Hit Burkina Faso and Northern Ghana 

El Dorado Fire: Massive Wall Of Flames Forces More Evacuations 

River Nile in Sudan at highest levels since records began 

34 injured, dozens of buildings damaged or destroyed after M5.1 earthquake hits Iran 

West Africa – More Floods in Niger, Death Toll Rises in Burkina Faso 

Volcanic activity worldwide 10 Sep 2020: Semeru volcano, ReventadorSangay, Sakurajima, Sabancaya 

Deadly flash floods paralyze north Algeria, more than 800 homes inundated 

200 000 people homeless after severe floods hit Far North, Cameroon 

 Extreme Weather and Climate Change 

Climate change and the tyranny of psychological distance 

South Africa: National climate change adaptation strategy 

What is effective climate adaptation? Case studies from the Least Developed Countries 

'Catastrophic' fire weather conditions in the NT spark fresh calls for gamba grass action 

Arctic Wildfires Have Never Released This Much Carbon Dioxide 

Projected changes in persistent extreme summer weather events: The role of quasi-resonant amplification 

Climate change: Greenland's ice faces melting 'death sentence' 

Australia’s main grid hits new renewable energy record of 50.4 per cent 

Challenges for drought assessment in the Mediterranean region under future climate scenarios 

Australian coal plants 'on a hiding to nothing' and likely to close before schedule 

Young activists take 33 countries to court in bid to step up climate change fight 

Bering Sea winter ice shrank to its lowest level in 5,500 years in 2018 

Human contribution to the record-breaking June and July 2019 heatwaves in Western Europe 

Monitoring and evaluation of national adaptation policies throughout the policy cycle 

IAG has partnered with the US National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) on a new report, Severe Weather in a Changing Climate 

From 100 Degrees To Snow, Colorado’s Dramatic Weather Forecast Could Be One For The National Record Books 

Rapid worldwide growth of glacial lakes since 1990 

New models predict El Niño rise 

Building coastal resilience in Bangladesh, the Philippines, and Colombia: country experiences with mainstreaming climate adaptation 

Earth may temporarily pass dangerous 1.5 warming limit by 2024, major new report says 

Extreme summer impacts ice shelves and glaciers 

Arctic warming: are record temperatures and fires arriving earlier than scientists predicted? 

A review of estimating population exposure to sea-level rise and the relevance for migration 

Climrisk-river: Accounting for local river flood risk in estimating the economic cost of climate change 

Huge cavities threaten glacier larger than Great Britain 

US report warns climate change could create economic chaos 

 Disaster risk reduction 

Greater prevention and “Building Back Better” post-COVID 

The Cost of Wildfires 

Extreme precipitation events always occurred, but are they changing? 

Global fire outlook not good news, but mitigation is possible, analysis shows 

10 years since the Darfield earthquake rocked New Zealand: what have we learned? 

1D/2D stormwater modelling to support urban flood risk management in estuarine areas 

Building community resilience through modern model building codes 

Community resilience benchmarks: buildings benchmark 

Flood Risk Management in England 

Why has the Top End of the NT been experiencing 'catastrophic' fire conditions in 2020? 

Lower Nazeing Property Flood Resilience 

Preparing for massive earthquake in the Pacific Northwest 

Following the Odisha example for developing community based disaster management in India 

Current flood risk management practices in Ghana: Gaps and opportunities for improving resilience 

Special report: natural catastrophes 

Resilient cities critical infrastructure interdependence: a meta-research 

Extreme summer impacts ice shelves and glaciers

Last season's climate catastrophes cost insurers $5.4b 

Advancing digitalization in DRR and development programs in COVID-19 times 

Climate and disaster risk insurance in low income countries: reflections on the importance of indicators and frameworks for monitoring performance and impact 

UCF researchers are developing models to predict storm surges 

Compound natural disasters in Australia: a historical analysis 

Developing an impact library for forecasting surface water flood risk 

Flood mitigation measures in an era of evolving flood risk 

Floodplain losses and increasing flood risk in the context of recent historic land use changes and settlement developments: Austrian case studies 

Optimization-based decision-making models for disaster recovery and reconstruction planning of transportation networks 

FEMA Flood Map updates 

Emergency management 

Policymakers should pre-plan for earthquake cordon use, Otago research 

Mass Sheltering and Disasters Special Collection 

Flood prone communities in Bangladesh are struggling to cope with monsoon and Coronavirus impacts 

An optimal scenario for the emergency solution to protect Hanoi Capital from the Red River floodwater using Van Coc Lake 

Interim observationsThe Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements 

Survey finds 71 per cent of koala populations died in some NSW fires 

Did Europe Make a Mistake Reopening Its Borders? 

Terrifying images of California's wildfires show firefighters tackling the flames 

Coronavirus World Map: Tracking The Spread Of The Outbreak 

USA: mapping a wildfire's next move is getting easier, thanks to computers 

On the frontline: The roles of pharmacists in disasters 

Sudan floods threaten ancient archaeological gem  

Disaster education, communications and engagement 

South East Europe gets new flash flood App 

Assessing policy preferences amongst climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction stakeholders using serious gaming 

Disaster-Resilient Communication Ecosystem in an Inclusive Society – A case of foreigners in Japan 

Disaster Resources from the National Academies 

Flood Resilience: Preparedness and Recovery Collection 

The "Rising Risk" docuseries explores how those rising sea levels will play out in the lower Manhattan of the late 21st century 

Forecasting for a Fractured Land: A Case Study of the Communication and Use of Aftershock Forecasts from the 2016 Mw 7.8 Kaikōura Earthquake in Aotearoa New Zealand 

McKinney’s Office of Emergency Management offering free disaster preparedness kits  

Psychology and disasters 

Insights into behavior during Chimney Tops 2 Fire could improve evacuation planning 

68% of US adults have pursued three or more of the six basic preparedness actions 

Wildfires: Can we adapt to live with them? 

 Sociology and disasters 

COVID-19 will widen poverty gap between women and men, new data shows 

Racist housing policies have created some oppressively hot neighborhoods 

Bangladesh: compound risks of COVID-19 and floods driving more people into poverty 

Translocal social capital as a resource for community-based responses to coastal flooding – Evidence from urban and rural areas on Java, Indonesia 

Laura: The Latest Climate Disaster for Low-Income Americans 


Get disaster resilience updates at

Get climate change updates at

If you have any links you wish to share please send them to:

 Neil Dufty

Principal, Molino Stewart Pty Ltd

E-mail: [email protected]


Follow us on Twitter @molinostewart

Find out more about The International Emergency Management Society (TIEMS) at

Support for this initiative provided by Molino Stewart Pty Ltd If you wish to subscribe or unsubsribe please send an email to [email protected]

Subscribe to Molino Stewart’s free monthly newsletter ‘Floodplain Manager’ by registering your interest at [email protected]

Wollondilly Biodiversity Strategy and Offset Policy

Molino Stewart recently completed a comprehensive update of the draft Biodiversity Strategy for Wollondilly Shire Council. Covering the whole LGA, the Strategy details the actions Wollondilly Shire Council can undertake to protect its substantial biodiversity resources while it is also subject to substantial urban growth.

The Biodiversity Strategy will be complemented by the Biodiversity Offset Policy which Molino Stewart also drafted. This policy set out the Council’s approach to offsetting within its LGA, both in relation to its role in the assessment of developments triggering the Biodiversity Offset Scheme (BOS) under the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Act and provides a framework for a local, small scale offsetting program within the LGA to apply where the entry threshold to the BOS is not triggered.

When adopted, Wollondilly will be one of only four NSW Councils to have this type of policy.

This Week in Disaster Resilience 4th September 2020

Dear colleague,

Please find links below to some aspects of disaster resilience that were in the news this week…

Recent emergencies/disasters

Devastating debris flows in Charikar, Afghanistan

Death toll up to 16 for Hurricane Laura

Pakistan – 19 Dead After Heavy Rainfall Triggers Floods in North

Typhoon Maysak could become one of South Korea's strongest typhoons on record

Maharashtra's Vidarbha hit by floods, over 18000 evacuated

17 Dead, Over 10,000 Houses Damaged In Odisha Floods

Flooding soaks South Asia, displacing millions during Covid-19 woes

Landslide, floods from monsoon rains kill at least 41 in India, Nepal

Severe flood death toll at 251, more than 5 million affected and wide swaths of crops lost, Bangladesh

Record flooding leaves 93 fatalities, 80 000 homes damaged and 380 000 people affected in Sudan

Mexico – Rainfall From Storm Hernán Causes Flooding in Jalisco and Colima

Typhoons Maysak and Haishen may deal South Korea a one-two punch

Chad – Floods Displace 120,000

India – Thousands Evacuate Floods in Maharashtra and Gujarat

Volcanic activity worldwide 3 Sep 2020: Pacaya volcano, Fuego, Popocatépetl, Dukono, Reventador

North Korea’s east coast hit with damaging typhoon and floods, state TV shows

Nepal – 12 Dead, 41 Missing After Floods and Landslides in Baglung

Pakistan – 30 Dead After More Flash Floods in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province

North Korea – Rain From Typhoon Maysak Triggers Flooding in Eastern Areas

Extreme Weather and Climate Change

Low-tech solutions plus improved coordination for climate resilience in coastal Bangladesh

2019 monitoring report on the German strategy for adaptation to climate change

Adaptation to climate change: Does traditional ecological knowledge hold the key?

We need a paradigm shift to deal with loss and damage from climate change

Hurricane Laura jumped from Category 1 to Category 4 in a day. Here's why hurricanes are now stronger, wetter, and more frequent

US adapts to climate threats with drastic shift in flood strategy

Australian greenhouse gas emissions fall to lowest level since 1998 under Covid restrictions

Climate change may make extreme hurricane rainfall 5 times more likely, study says

Satellite images show rapid growth of glacial lakes worldwide

Everything Is Unprecedented. Welcome To Your Hotter Earth

Future Warming and Intensification of Precipitation Extremes: A “Double Whammy” Leading to Increasing Flood Risk in California

Phoenix hits 50th day of 110 degrees; previous record 'obliterated'

Climate and disaster resilience

Influx of renewables sees coal power plants run well below capacity, increasing chance of closures

Queen of the Dolomites glacier could vanish within 15 years

Ice Sheet Melting Is Perfectly in Line With Our Worst-Case Scenario, Scientists Warn

California is burning. It's time to demand an end to the climate crisis

How Climate Change is Causing Urban Flooding in Nigeria

South Africa: environment, forestry and fisheries on approval of the country’s national climate change adaptation strategy

Disasters must be unusual or deadly to prompt local climate policy change

India: the surprisingly difficult task of measuring sea-level rise

Wind And Solar Now Generate One-Tenth Of Global Electricity

A post-Laura heat wave has no name

The Story of CO2: Big Ideas for a Small Molecule

The UK needs a ‘national heat risk strategy’

Climate change-fueled weather disasters: Costs to state and local economies

European wildfire danger and vulnerability under a changing climate: towards integrating risk dimensions

Heat resilience cities: measuring benefits of urban heat adaptation: methodology note for the tool development

National laws for enhancing flood resilience in the context of climate change: potential and shortcomings

New Zealand experiences warmest winter on record

Disaster risk reduction

Uganda: Enhancing management of Upper Nile riverine systems

Fires threaten the Amazon once again. What have we learned?

U.S. flood strategy shifts to ‘unavoidable’ relocation of entire neighborhoods

Building urban resilience with nature-based solutions: How can urban planning contribute?

ICT for Disaster Risk Management

Why extreme floods are more common than you might think

Understanding Risk BC 2020 – Online Symposium for Risk Reduction Strategies

The Le Teil earthquake provides new insights on seismic risk in France and Western Europe

Bangladesh: Time to develop a reliable flood forecasting model

U.S.: Hurricane Laura was the latest storm to strengthen fast, but is rapid intensification really becoming more common?

Scientists unlock crops' power to resist floods

Chennai: Civic body gets monsoon-ready with rain gauges, flood sensors

How to protect communities from disasters – what research tells us

Artificial intelligence algorithm predicts slow earthquakes

Setting an agenda for entrepreneurial governments: A global baseline assessment of Disaster Risk Reduction investment

El Nino lulls lead to harsh floods, fires and droughts: study

Too heartbreaking to leave, too expensive to stay: Louisiana coastal communities left in limbo

Poor planning, civic apathy and huge floods – it’s the same story from Karachi to Kolkata

A big step for flood forecasts in India and Bangladesh

A panacea for India’s flood woes – lost and forgotten

Aqueduct Floods is an online platform that measures riverine and coastal flood risks under both current base-line conditions and future projections in 2030, 2050, and 2080

Disaster Risk Reduction in Cities: Towards a New Normal

Emergency management

Biloxi’s 15-year recovery from Hurricane Katrina offers lessons for other coastal cities

Satellite imagery reveals, in precise detail, extent of NSW bushfire destruction across Black Summer

Battle weary: as fire season looms, volunteers still coping with the last one

Before and after satellite images show widespread destruction from Hurricane Laura

2019 global natural disaster assessment report

Latest edition of Molino Stewart’s ‘Floodplain Manager’ newsletter

Record floods threaten nuclear power site in Bangladesh

New Red Cross Red Crescent-UK Met Office guide to ‘impact-based forecasting’ for early humanitarian action

Sudan: UN Agencies Support Flood Response in Sudan but Warn Aid Stocks 'Rapidly' Depleting

Disaster education, communications and engagement

Earthquake detection and early alerts, now on your Android phone® integrates flood factor data, helps shoppers understand flood risk

More bushfires, less volcanoes: Young Australians need to learn about more relevant disasters

#30days30waysUK aims to inspire and empower people to be ready for a wide range of risks like flooding, fire and power cuts

Are you Flood Ready? Test your knowledge of floods and flood readiness

September is recognized as National Preparedness Month

Facebook joins with Mekong River Commission to raise awareness about flood and drought in the Mekong

Principles of Geology

In rural Bangladesh, a journey to school-led disaster risk reduction begins

Psychology and disasters

Reducing hydro-meteorological risk by nature-based solutions: What do we know about people’s perceptions?

COVID-19 and the consequences of cascading and compounding disasters

'It was a feeling of terror: when will the water stop?': Britain's flood victims, six months on

Sociology and disasters

Resilience in the Pacific and the Caribbean: The Local Construction of Disaster Risk Reduction

5 ways to help take racism out of disaster recovery

Can extreme events be an opportunity? Depopulation and resilience of rural communities in Central Italy after the 1997 earthquake

Low-income households should be prioritized after disaster strikes

High-resolution human mobility data reveal race and wealth disparities in disaster evacuation patterns

How Japan Stumbled into a Pandemic Miracle

Closing the gaps: Advancing disaster preparedness, response and recovery for older adults


Get disaster resilience updates at

Get climate change updates at

If you have any links you wish to share please send them to:

 Neil Dufty

Principal, Molino Stewart Pty Ltd

E-mail: [email protected]


Follow us on Twitter @molinostewart

Find out more about The International Emergency Management Society (TIEMS) at

Support for this initiative provided by Molino Stewart Pty Ltd If you wish to subscribe or unsubsribe please send an email to [email protected]

Subscribe to Molino Stewart’s free monthly newsletter ‘Floodplain Manager’ by registering your interest at [email protected]

Floodplain Manager August 2020


I could say that the past two years have been extraordinary in Australia with devastating widespread flooding across the north of the country, while further south the tightening effects of a prolonged drought contributed to the worst fire season recorded, a global pandemic, and then floods affecting some of the fire ravaged areas with forecasts from the Bureau of Meteorology of more flooding to come as we report this month.  It is tempting to say that it has been a couple of years of unprecedented natural disasters.  However, that statement is incorrect on a couple of fronts.

Firstly, in the relatively short period that records of droughts and floods have been kept in this country, we have seen comparable events and worse.  Research suggests that the worst natural hazards we have recorded are not necessarily the most extreme this country has experienced under similar climatic conditions.  Even the global pandemic which we are currently experiencing, and which has been relatively well contained in Australia, is comparable with the Spanish Flu pandemic 100 years ago.

Secondly, to label them as “natural disasters” shifts the blame from human actions to natural processes over which we have no control.  In fact, there is a group campaigning for the elimination of the term from our lexicon (  It aims to change the terminology to show that whilst some hazards are natural and unavoidable, the resulting disasters almost always have been made by human actions and decisions.

Somewhat perversely then, our first societal response to a disaster caused by a natural hazard is to try and control the natural hazard rather than to try and change the human actions that made it a disaster.  We try any control what we are least able to control rather than what we are best able to control.  Following floods there are calls for more flood mitigation works and, following the recent bushfires, more fire trucks and planes as stated in the NSW Bushfire Inquiry which we report on this month.  Collectively, however, we need to rethink where we live and work and how we interact with the environment around us and the extreme fluctuations in weather and associated natural hazards.

This month’s Floodplain Manager reports on a number of initiatives around the world which are attempting to do that.  It is also a recommendation from the recent NSW Bushfire Inquiry, but this has been a recommendation from past bushfire and flood inquiries and while progress has been made, the rate of change in our land use planning has been slow.

While at a local level we struggle to try and control natural phenomena which are beyond our control, our actions are changing natural phenomena at a global scale in such a way that these local hazards may become more extreme or more frequent, or both.  There are some sobering articles this month on what our flooding future may look like under climate change.  Soon we may have many disasters which are genuinely unprecedented but they will not be natural disasters but ones of our own making.

Steven Molino

Articles related to August 2020

Related - Floodplain Manager August 2020

NSW Towns Ordered to Evacuate Ahead of Floods

The Shoalhaven region of NSW’s South Coast has experienced its worst flooding since 1991 with the NSW State Emergency Services (NSW SES) receiving more than 800 calls for assistance.

Read more
The area which is still overcoming the effects of the devastating 2019-2020 bushfire seasons received 400 mm of rain in four days from 8 to 11 August 2020. The heavy rainfall caused Tallowa Dam, which supplies water to the Shoalhaven and Southern Highlands region and is part of Sydney’s water supply, to peak at 3.3 m over the spillway.   The dam is at the junction of the Kangaroo and Shoalhaven rivers, the latter rising to moderate flood level of 4.13 m at Nowra. NSW SES ordered evacuations of people in parts of Nowra including some areas of Terara, East Nowra, Worrigee and North Nowra on 9 August. Major flooding also occurred further south on the coast along the Deua River at Wamba. Endeavour Energy reported that 13,500 homes and businesses were without power at the height of the storm (Read here, here, here, here, here, and here).

Natural Hazards Funding Boost in Response to Natural Disaster Reports

In light of the bushfires and floods of 2019-2020, two reports have made recommendations in relation to disaster preparedness and response.

Read more
The final report of the NSW bushfire inquiry which was commissioned by Premier Gladys Berejiklian in January 2020 was released on 25 August, 2020. The independent inquiry made 76 recommendations of which all are to be accepted in principle with further information on specific timelines still pending. Of the 76 recommendations, most pertained to bushfires and were reflective of lessons learnt during the devastating 2019/20 season. Notably, recommendation 27 called for the development of a new NSW Bushfire Policy akin to the NSW Flood Prone Land Policy which aims to build greater resilience to both existing and future communities and to decrease costs associated with recovery and rebuilding. Additionally, recommendation 73 highlighted that aged care facilities in identified flood prone areas should have emergency plans in place that comply with the Evacuation Decision Guidelines for Private Health and Residential Care facilities to specifically address the needs of vulnerable people.

Meanwhile, on the national scale CSIRO was commissioned to produce a report on climate and disaster resilience which was delivered 30 June, 2020. The report reflected on the summer of 2019-20 which was defined by a series of consecutive disaster events involving a confluence of bushfires, floods, drought and heat extremes which had cascading impacts on Australian community and industry. For instance, the 2019 North Queensland flood’s social and economic costs exceeded $5.6 billion. CSIRO undertook an independent review to recommend ways in which Australia can increase climate and disaster resilience. The report identified six actionable themes which formed the basis of the recommendations and forward plan of action. Of the recommendations made, several pertained to floods including the need to conduct longitudinal studies after events on the health and wellbeing of affected people.

In response, the Australian Government has announced a $88.1 million budget over 10 years dedicated to research bushfires and natural hazards following the devastating 2019-20 fire season (Read here, here, and here).

Irrigators Face NSW Government’s "No Meter, No Pump” Deadline

The NSW Government has announced a deadline of July 2021 for irrigators to install meters to measure floodplain harvesting as part of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.

Read more
Floodplain harvesting is the last aspect of water to be regulated under the plan and will require irrigators to install a tamper proof pump monitoring meter and have it certified. The requirement has been praised by many irrigators, particularly those in the southern reaches of the Basin who had previously expressed concern about how much is harvested by northern irrigators. However, the cost of installing the meters is of concern among irrigators who are already under financial strain as a result of the recent drought. The Australian Floodplain Association has welcomed changes but has cautioned that the exemption for the deadline whereby smaller dams under 1,000 megalitres will have an extra year to install the meters, may leave room for unsustainable floodplain harvesting (Read here).

Climate Change Could Spell Weekly Flooding for Sydney

A study by scientists at the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) has found that flood frequency in Sydney is set to increase due to climate change driven sea-level rise.

Read more
The study found that localised flooding in Sydney has already increased from less than two days per year in 1914 to a present-day rate of approximately eight days a year. Published in the journal Earth’s Future, the research concluded that between 1970 and 2015, human-induced sea-level rise had likely been the cause of 80% of floods in the Sydney region. The researchers analysed past minor floods as well as projections of sea-level rise with low and high greenhouse gas emission scenarios. They found that for the year 2050, the Sydney region would flood for an estimated 47 days per year under low emissions and 70 days under high emissions (Read here and here).

Northern Australia Coastal Flood Impact Predicted to Increase by 50%

An Australian-led research paper published in Scientific Reports has found that Northern Australia is one of the areas predicted to be most impacted by flooding globally by the end of the century.

Read more
The researchers used a sea-level rise modelling approach which was extensively validated against tide gauge data for both ambient and extreme conditions. The results showed that coastal flooding events could threaten assets worth up to 20% of the global GDP, by 2100. The findings also indicate that for Northern Australia, in the case of no coastal protection or adaptation, the land area inundated, population affected, and assets threatened will increase by around 50% (Read more here).

Individual Income Impacts of 2010/2011 Queensland Floods

A recent report has explored the impact of the Queensland Floods 2010-11 on the income trajectory of employed residents in four Brisbane River local government areas (LGAs).

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The research focused on two key points: the effects of the floods on the income streams of individuals, and how the government’s relief and recovery programs assisted individuals to return to their normal income trajectory. The researchers used difference-in-differences modelling which compares income changes of individuals living in four LGAs in the Brisbane River catchment area (treatment group) with those living in comparable zones in Australia (control group). The findings showed that low income individuals were hard hit as floods were associated with reductions in incomes, whereas middle to high income individuals observed some income gains. The results showed that socio-economic vulnerabilities were concentrated in particular sectors of the economy, primarily in agriculture, construction, and accommodation and food services. The heaviest income losses were observed for the more regional Lockyer Valley, Ipswich and Somerset LGAs when compared to their Brisbane metropolitan counterpart, with the Somerset and Lockyer Valley LGAs suffering average income losses of 27.3 % in the first six months following the floods (Read more here).

Flood Risk Rising as La Nina Looms

The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) predicts that there is a 70% chance of a La Nina weather system developing this year which could spell above average rainfall for Australia.

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La Nina weather systems in Australia typically bring above average rainfall to eastern, central and northern regions of Australia in winter-spring month. The BoM has indicated that the cooling of surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific Ocean and an increase in the strength of the Pacific trade winds may point to an increased La Nina probability. The last significant La Nina event was in 2010-11, which was Australia’s wettest two-year period on record and coincided with the Queensland floods which caused insurance losses of more than $1.5 billion. The BoM reviewed over 100 years of weather records and has linked La Nina to increased widespread flooding stating that: “Of the 18 La Nina events since 1900 (including multi-year events), 12 have resulted in floods for some parts of Australia”. La Nina systems are also linked to cooler and cloudier days as well as more frequent tropical cyclones (Read more here ).

China’s Floods Forebode Future Disasters

In light of the summer monsoonal rains which have caused widespread flooding in China, many are concerned that climate change will increase the frequency of floods at a rate faster than adaptation can manage.

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Recent flooding which has affected 55 million people in the Yangtze River Basin this summer (FM July, 2020), have reinforced the relevance of research which suggests that China is the country most vulnerable to flooding if the temperature rises 4 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. The Yangtze River Basin is densely populated by factories, towns and cities, and while there are engineering projects in place to control the floods, rapid urbanisation, degraded ecosystems, and inequities pose major challenges to China’s adaptation. The controversial Three Gorges Dam is one such structure that was designed to control flooding, but during the recent floods had to open its flood gates as the reservoir water threatened to overtop the walls (FM July, 2020). Alternative measures such as the “sponge city” plan, aim to reduce the amount of urban run-off and thus reduce flooding. However, with projections of high river flow events predicted to occur more frequently, it raises questions about whether what is being done to combat flooding is enough (Read more here).

China’s Dam Debate Continues

The recent collapse of the Yangshuo Dam in China’s Guangxi region has raised concern for the country’s 94,000 aging dams which may be under threat from increased extreme weather events.

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Completed in 1965, the Yangshuo Dam, made of compacted earth, was designed to hold 195,000 cubic metres of water before its collapse on 7 June, 2020 which inundated roads, orchards and fields in the downstream Shazixi village. The aged dam which had been poorly maintained and designed, has raised alarms for similar dams across the country which may also be at risk of collapse under large storm events such as those seen in June and July, 2020. As climate change driven weather extremes become more prevalent the director of the Earth Observatory of Singapore has stated that: “What really needs to happen is to work with the ecosystems, not against them by building dams, by extending flood wetlands and flood plains and allowing the water to naturally mix with the environment” (Read more here).

China’s Nature-based Flood Defences

A marked change in China’s flood management has been attributed to a decrease in fatalities and damage from the last major flood in 1998, to the 2020 floods.

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The 1998 flood which killed 3,000 people and left 15 million homeless, led to a shifted focus by the Chinese Government toward nature-based solutions for flood risk management. Researchers from the School of Environmental Science and Engineering at Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen have compared the 1998 flood to recent floods (FM July, 2020) and suggest that nature-based mitigation strategies like tree planting and floodplain restoration have helped to ease the impacts. Despite the precipitation associated with the 2020 floods being higher than that of 1998, there have been far fewer deaths and much less damage. In the wake of the 1998 floods, the Chinese government initiated mass tree planting schemes to reduce runoff which researchers suggest could decrease flooding by up to 30%. Furthermore, the “sponge city” plan aims to restore floodplains on the Yangtze River to allow the natural overflow of rivers to disperse and lessen downstream flooding. Another article suggests that nature-based flood defences such as wetlands have contributed to China’s economic resilience when accounting for flood damages. It is estimate that China experiences on average $13 billion annual in direct flood damages but estimates of economic impact from the recent 2020 floods are expected to only reduce China’s 2020 GDP by 0.17% due partly to nature-based defences (Read more here and here).

A Fifth of the World GDP Could be Affected by Coastal Flooding Under a Changed Climate

A recent article published in the journal Scientific Reports has found that if global emissions are not curbed and flood defences aren’t bolstered, then coastal flooding could increase by nearly 50% and threaten 20% of global GDP.

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The researchers undertook the analysis by combining several global datasets to determine global projections of total sea level, extreme sea level, coastal flooding, populations affected and assets impacted for 2050 and 2100. Global “hotspots” were identified where there was projected to be a significant change in episodic flooding by the end of the century and were found to be mostly concentrated in north western Europe and Asia. The results showed that 68% of projected damage would arise from tide and storm events which are expected to become more frequent and severe under a changed climate. Furthermore, 287 million people were predicted to be at increased risk of coastal flooding with damage to coastal assets under the scenario modelled amounting to $19.3 trillion (Read more here, here, and here ).

Six Flood Resilience Strategies

A book has outlined six key strategies for creating urban and natural environments which are adapted to reduce the impact of flooding.

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Edward Barsley in his book Retrofitting for Flood Resilience: A Guide to Building & Community Design, has grouped flood risk management strategies into six spatial tactics: attenuate, alleviate, restrict, realign, create and embrace. Barsley describes each of his identified strategies using real life examples of implementation from across the world. For instance, he uses New York City’s Rising Community Reconstruction Program as an example of realigning as a push for managed retreat being undertaken in an attempt to reduce flood risk exposure. Barsley states that; “Flood resilient design should not just be seen as a necessity, but as an opportunity through which to deliver wider benefits such as improved biodiversity and to enhance the quality of placemaking in communities throughout the world”(Read more here.)

Retirees Flood Risk Perceptions and Coping Capacities

An article published in the International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction has discussed the implications of a homogeneous approach in terms of flood risk communication to the retired population.

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Researchers from the University of Manchester, UK, conducted in-depth interviews with 12 retired participants who were members of a local church in a flood risk area to ascertain risk perceptions, coping capacities, and risk communication preferences to inform more age-centred approaches. The findings challenge traditional communication strategies targeted at retirees which do not accommodate for diversity as the researchers showed that the group had varying perceptions and capacities with respect to flood risk. Furthermore, the results showed that the participants had preference for interpersonal risk communication methods such as telephone calls or home visits. As such, the researchers suggest that risk communication practices should adopt people-centric approaches that are co-produced and tailored with respect to the differentiated vulnerabilities, capacities and needs of at-risk populations (Read more here).

Improvements to Early Warning for Megastorms

A new study by the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (UKCEH) has found that surface conditions frequently affect the direction and intensity of megastorms making it easier to predict their path.

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Mesoscale convective systems (MCSs) or megastorms, affect large parts of Africa, Australia, Asia and the Americas and can produce 100 mm of rainfall in an hour and last for up to two days. The researchers studied satellite data of storm activities and land temperature in Sahel, Africa for the period 2006 to 2010. In Sahelian Africa, these extreme storms have tripled in frequency since the 1980s. Lead author Dr Cornelia Klein explained that: “we found that drier soils increased the intensity of an MCS mid-storm, affecting the amount of rainfall they release and also where they travel”. The findings are hoped to be used to predict future storm behaviour and help to develop forecasting systems which can alert communities of an approaching system with up to six hour’s lead time (Read more here ).

International Floods

There were 37 international floods reported across 32 countries throughout August 2020. At least 387 people died and over 320,000 were displaced.

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Internationally significant floods included:


Flooding has caused widespread devastation, fatalities and damage across India. In Kerala state, in the country’s south, monsoonal rain has triggered flooding and landslides that have killed at least 26 people and displaced as many as 11,000. The town of Munnar recorded 229 mm of rain in 24 hours to 6 August whilst rivers were at “Severe Flood Stage” in three locations: the Manimala and Achankovil rivers in Pathanamthitta District and the Meenachil in Kottayam. In Telangana in India’s south, heavy rainfall of up to 147 mm in 24 hours to 16 August was recorded at Parkal in the Warangal district. Hundreds of homes were inundated in low-lying areas prompting over 1,000 people to evacuate to safer locations.

Elsewhere in Bihar state in India’s north east, flooding has continued from late July, 2020 (FM July, 2020) with the total fatalities rising to 25 and over 500,000 people displaced.   Also, in the north, heavy rainfall in the state of Rajasthan has triggered flash floods in the city of Jaipur where 3,000 people were rescued from low-lying areas and three people died. (Read more here, here, here and here).


At least 14 people have died as a result of flash flooding triggered by heavy rain in the Nanghar province, Afghanistan. The Afghanistan National Disaster Management Authority (ANDMA) reported that 100 homes were damaged and destroyed along with several roads in the province capital Charikar. (Read more here).

South Korea

Flooding and landslides in the North Chungcheonog and Gyeonggi provinces of South Korea has led to widespread devastation and at least 13 deaths. More than 5,000 people from Eumseong County were evacuated due to flood risk as more than 500 mm of rain was recorded between 1 and 4 August, 2020 in the North Chuncheong province. (Read more here and here)

North Korea

More than 20 people have died in North Korean following two weeks of heavy rains and flooding particularly in the Kimhwa, Cholwon, Hoeyang and Changdo Counties of Kangwon Province and Unpha and Jangphung Counties of North Hwanghae Province. Flooding has damaged 39,296 hectares of farmland, 16,680 homes, 630 public buildings, railway lines, power station dams and part of a nuclear power facility on the bank of the Kuryong River in Yongbyon. (Read more here)


At least 130 people have died and over 1,000 families have been displaced as a result of flash flooding triggered by heavy rainfall since late July, 2020. Across several governates, dams overflowed, roads were damaged and blocked, and houses collapsed or were damaged. At least 111 mm of rain fell in Al Hudaydah (Hodeidah) governorate in 24 hours to 4 August, 2020. (Read more here and here)


The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has reported that more than 30,000 people in Ethiopia have been displaced by floods since late July, 2020. Lake Abaya in West Guji zone and the Rib river in south Gonder zone have overflowed due to heavy rainfall causing thousands to become displaced and road to be cut off by floodwaters. (Read more here)


Flooding across the states of Kaduna, Katsina, Sokoto and Zamfara in Niger between 3 and 9 August, 2020, has left 15,000 displaced and at least 23 dead. Floodwaters have damaged schools, crops, killed livestock and destroyed over 5,000 homes. The nation’s capital Niamey recorded 67 mm of rain in the 24 hours to 7 August, whilst the Niger River at the Niamey station stood at 5.8 metres on 12 August. (Read more here and here)


At least 11 people have died as heavy rainfall caused flooding across several provinces in Panama. Several homes were swept away by flooding from the Bejuco River in the Veraguas province. (Read more here)


More than 200,000 people have been displaced and over 40 people are dead due to flooding in 17 of Sudan’s southern states. Flooding along the White Nile due to a dyke collapse has led to thousands of homes being destroyed, along with crops and livestock in the worst affected Twic East, Duk and Ayod counties (Read more here and here).

Haiti and Dominican Republic

Tropical Storm Laura has brought heavy rainfall of 300 mm in 24 hours to 22 August and winds of up to 85 km/h. At least 11 people have died and 1,000 were forced to evacuate their homes whilst a further 100,000 were displaced. (Read more here)


Webinar: Flood Disaster Risk Management in a Changing Climate Online Course
Where: Webinar registration here
When: Multiple from July to December 2020
For more information visit here

FMA Meetings
Tuesday 13 October 2020 - Queensland YFM Launch Event (sign-up here)
Wednesday 11 November 2020 - Queensland Chapter Meeting in Brisbane
Thursday 19 November 2020 - NSW/ACT Chapter Meeting in Sydney
For more information visit here

FRIAR 2020 International Conference on Flood and Urban Water Management (Postponed from original date)
Where: Valencia, Spain
When: 28-30 September
For more information visit here

Flood and Coast 2020 Conference and Exhibition (postponement date announced)
Where: Telford International Centre, UK
When: 8-10 December, 2020
For more information visit here

FLOODrisk 2020 European Conference on Flood Risk Management (postponement date announced)
Where: Budapest, Hungary
When: 21-25 June, 2021
For more information visit here

Floodplain Management Australia Conference 2021
Where: Luna Park, Sydney, NSW
When: 25 - 28 May, 2021
For more information visit here


Words Whispered in Water: Why the Levees Broke in Hurricane Katrina

The book tells the story of citizen investigator Sandy Rosenthal, who in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, set out to shed light on the Army Corps of Engineers design fault responsibilities. The book documents Sandy’s journey to expose the true culprit in the face of popular opinion and media which described the event as a “natural catastrophe”. Read more here.

Regional Disaster Preparedness Program

The Regional Disaster Preparedness Program is a two-year initiative funded by the NSW Government which will be managed jointly through Resilience NSW and Hunter Joint Organisation. The aim of the Program is to initiate and implement projects that create improved local government and community resilience in preparation for, response to and recovery from emergencies. Read more here.

Turning to Big Data for Flood Risk Management

A recent paper has examined the potential of a data-driven approach to support decision-making in flood risk management. The paper found that an increasing trend towards using big data allows for a weaving together of cross-disciplinary perspectives and engages a wider range of stakeholders. Read more here.

Relationship Between Flood Experience and Perceived Risk

Researchers of an article published in The Journal of Water have conducted a survey of residents of a North-eastern Italian municipality who had experienced flash floods to uncover the factors which influence flood risk awareness. The results showed that previous experience with floods directly influences risk awareness. Read more here.

Code of Practice for Property Flood Resilience

Construction Industry Research and Information Association (CIRIA) has proposed six standards included under a Code of Practice which should be achieved in installed measures to increase property flood resilience. Read more here.

Australia (Assisting State) Disaster Management Reference Handbook 2020 Released

The handbook serves as an initial source of information for those individuals preparing for disaster risk reduction activities or immediate deployment with Australian partner responders in crisis. The book also provides disaster management decision makers and planners greater insight into Australian Disaster Management (DM) capabilities. Read more here.

Land Use Planning for Disaster Resilient Communities Handbook Published

The Land Use Planning for Disaster Resilient Communities handbook focuses on land use planning for new development and its role in supporting disaster resilient communities in Australia. The handbook places a focus on the importance of mitigation measures being in place to prevent future disasters such as floods in areas of new development, as well as enhancing resilience in existing communities. Read more here.

Quick Risk Estimation (QRE) Tool Launched

The UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) has recently launched an online Quick Risk Estimation (QRE) Tool to help small businesses and enterprises to better understand their exposure and vulnerability to disaster risks. The QRE tool was produced with prior knowledge that understanding risk is a prerequisite to risk management. The tool includes an interactive questionnaire which produces a real-time dashboard that points business owners to their estimated general risk level. The results of the questionnaire take into consideration factors such as business size, type, and geographic location to suggest corrective actions which can be used to evaluate risk and equip small businesses with a disaster planning toolkit. Read more here.

This Week in Disaster Resilience 28th August 2020

Dear colleague,

Please find links below to some aspects of disaster resilience that were in the news this week…

Recent emergencies/disasters

Cameroon – Floods in Douala Leave Hundreds Displaced

Turkey – Deadly Flash Floods in Giresun Province

Tropical Storm Laura Kills at Least 8 People in Haiti, Dominican Republic; Over 1 Million Without Power

In Texas, Louisiana, More Than Half a Million Ordered to Evacuate As Hurricane Laura Strengthens in the Gulf

9 Dead As Heavy Rains Create Flood-Like Situation In Gujarat

Kenya – 1,000 Families Displaced by Lake Turkana Floods, Warnings Issued for Turkwel Dam

Hurricane Laura, now Category 4, may bring 'unsurvivable' storm surge to Texas-Louisiana border

One killed as overnight rains cause flash floods in Rajouri, damage reported

Two dams in Karachi overflow, at least 7 killed in weather-related incidents, Pakistan

Afghanistan flooding: Dozens dead, hundreds of homes destroyed

Storm Francis brings flood, damaging rainfall and record-breaking winds to UK and Ireland

Devastating storm causes millions worth of damage, prompts state of emergency in northern Italy

Floods across Devon and Cornwall after 'biblical' rainfall

Laura carves destructive path through Louisiana; 4 dead

Volcanic activity worldwide 27 Aug 2020: Fuego volcano, Semeru, Dukono, Reventador, Mauna Loa

Provinces Flood Death Toll Reaches 122, Injuries 147

Kenya and Uganda – Thousands Displaced by Lake Floods

Niger – Capital Niamey Flooded as Niger River Overflows

Mexico – Rain From Storm Marco Triggers Floods in Southern States

Extreme Weather and Climate Change

A cascade of COVID-19 and climate extremes call for new algorithms to protect at-risk communities

Earth has lost 28 trillion tonnes of ice in less than 30 years

California Has Australian Problems Now

California and Colorado Fires May Be Part of a Climate-Driven Transformation of Wildfires Around the Globe

The melting of the Antarctic Ice Sheet could contribute half a metre of sea-level rise in the coming century

The sensitivity of the Antarctic Ice Sheet to a changing climate: Past, present and future

Climate change and adaptation degree

Local cooling provided by broad-leaved trees in Europe

Mainstreaming gender within local government climate and disaster risk assessments

Storm Surge: The Science behind This Year’s Unusual Hurricane Season

Nation 'woefully unprepared' for climate change, business groups warn

California's new normal: How the climate crisis is fueling wildfires and changing life in the Golden State

Antarctic Ice Shelves Vulnerable to Sudden Meltwater-Driven Fracturing, Says Study

Hurricane Laura and the California Fires Are Part of the Same Crisis

Glacial cooling and climate sensitivity revisited

Disaster risk reduction

Faster than floods: How to prevent a double disaster in Bangladesh

Fire probability in South American Protected Areas

Frontiers of water-related disaster management and the way forward

Why preparations for the next pandemic must begin now

California's wildfires explained: How did they start – and is this normal?

‘Next fire season is already upon us’: NSW to adopt all recommendations of bushfire inquiry report

Landowners in fire-prone areas to be required to do hazard-reduction burns

To be or not to be a ‘natural’ disaster: that is the question

Researchers create a contagion model to predict flooding in urban areas

A Massive Earthquake Is Coming to Cascadia—And It Can’t Be Stopped

Floodplains by Design partnership works across jurisdictions to lower disaster risks and restore ecosystems

The UK government will immediately accept 12 recommendations from an independent review into responsibilities around surface water flooding

Quantitative Wildfire Risk Assessment

Major Real Estate Website Now Shows Flood Risk. Should They All?

Disaster management models need adjusting: A case study in South Africa explains why

Extreme wildfires can create their own dangerous weather, including fire tornadoes – here’s how

The NSW bushfire inquiry found property loss is ‘inevitable’. We must stop building homes in such fire-prone areas

Technocracy, disaster risk reduction and development: A critique of the Sendai Framework 2015-2030

Katrina 15 years later: Government still hasn’t learned

Emergency management

Diversity and inclusion framework for emergency management policy and practice

Cities for a resilient recovery: International lessons on recovery from COVID-19

Private sector experience in Japan: Supporting disaster preparedness for evacuations under COVID-19

Heatwaves are an invisible killer – and the UK is woefully unprepared

Wildfires Rage In California As Fire Crews And Evacuees Grapple With COVID-19 Risks

Final report of the NSW Bushfire Inquiry

A Comparative Study of International and Chinese Public Health Emergency Management from the Perspective of Mapping Knowledge Domains

Yes, it’s been raining a lot – but that doesn’t mean Australia’s drought has broken

'Disaster inside a disaster': California wildfires and COVID-19 form twin crises

August 2020 edition of the newsletter of The International Emergency Management Society (TIEMS)

Disaster education, communications and engagement

Resetting the way we teach science is vital for all our futures

Cultural interventions through children's literature and arts-based practices in times of disaster: A case study of reading mediators' response to the Mexican earthquakes

The Texas Flood Registry is a project that collects health, location, and exposure information from people affected by major storms

Community engagement for disaster resilience handbook

University of Hull researchers are using virtual reality technology to flood Hull during the time of poet Andrew Marvell – more than 400 years ago

Psychology and disasters

Earthquakes, fear of failure, and wellbeing: An insight from Minangkabau entrepreneurship

One of the most overlooked consequences of climate change? Our mental health

From climate-fueled storms to COVID-19, mounting catastrophes are sowing stress and trauma

Unravelling the influence of human behaviour on reducing casualties during flood evacuation

Sociology and disasters

Communities together: A guide for resilient community center design in island communities

Fire risk perpetuates poverty and fire use among Amazonian smallholders

How Social Ties Influence Hurricane Evacuation Behavior

High-resolution human mobility data reveal race and wealth disparities in disaster evacuation patterns

Social Capital Encourages Disaster Evacuation: Evidence from a Cyclone in Bangladesh

How Decades of Racist Housing Policy Left Neighborhoods Sweltering

Rural areas may suffer disproportionately in quakes


Get disaster resilience updates at

Get climate change updates at

If you have any links you wish to share please send them to:

 Neil Dufty

Principal, Molino Stewart Pty Ltd

E-mail: [email protected]


Follow us on Twitter @molinostewart

Find out more about The International Emergency Management Society (TIEMS) at

Support for this initiative provided by Molino Stewart Pty Ltd If you wish to subscribe or unsubsribe please send an email to [email protected]

Subscribe to Molino Stewart’s free monthly newsletter ‘Floodplain Manager’ by registering your interest at [email protected]

Parramatta Powerhouse Museum Flood Risk Review

Molino Stewart Principal, Steven Molino, has recently given evidence to the Parliamentary Inquiry into the Parramatta Powerhouse Museum regarding flood risks which the current design poses to people and the museum collections.

In 2014, the NSW State Government announced the Powerhouse Museum would be moved from its location in Ultimo to Parramatta. The site selected is on the southern bank of the Parramatta River is and is exposed to flooding from both the river and local overland flooding on Phillip Street in frequent floods. The proposed new cultural precinct in Parramatta is expected to attract about two million visitors per year.

An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was prepared for the proposed museum and placed on Public Exhibition on 10 June 2010. Molino Stewart was commissioned by the Powerhouse Museum Alliance to independently review the EIS, including its technical appendices in relation to flood risks and their management. The review found that the museum design and the impact assessment failed to consider the impacts from the full range of potential floods and that the current design does not provide adequate protection to people of the museum collections.

Watch Steven Molino's interview with Channel 7 here

The Flood Risk Review is available to view here 

Watch Steven Molino present evidence before the inquiry here

Listen to Steven Molinos interview with ABC 702 Sydney here (skip to 2:19:40 for Stevens interview)

This Week in Disaster Resilience 21st August 2020

Dear colleague,

Please find links below to some aspects of disaster resilience that were in the news this week…

Recent emergencies/disasters

Record-breaking heat wave fueling wildfires in the West

Several lives lost, tens of thousands affected by floods in Sudan

India – Deadly Flash Floods in Jaipur, Rajasthan

More than 100,000 acres are now burning Colorado as fire near Fraser quickly grows

India – Floods in Telangana Prompt Evacuations and Rescues

Heavy Rain Hits Yangtze River Again, Inundating Cities and Leaving Many Homeless

India – Thousands Evacuate as Floods Affect Andhra Pradesh, Worsen in Telangana

Fast-moving fire in north-east NSW marks first big blaze of the season

California fires: Bay Area hit by blazes forcing thousands to evacuate

Hundreds evacuated in B.C.'s Okanagan, wildfire service battles blazes

Sichuan activates the highest level of flood control response for the first time on record, China

Sudan: Dozens dead, thousands of homes destroyed by floods

Bangladesh – 167,000 Families Still Displaced by Floods Says UN

Nepal – 6 Dead, 11 Missing After Floods in Achham

Uganda – 1 Dead, 800 Homes Damaged After Floods in Bundibugyo

Cameroon – Floods in Far North Leave Over 5,000 Homeless

Volcanic activity worldwide 20 Aug 2020: Etna volcano, Fuego, Kerinci, Reventador, Sinabung

Extreme Weather and Climate Change

Sea-Level Rise Could Make Rivers More Likely to Jump Course

Typhoons Getting Stronger, Making Landfall More Often

Heatwaves often end with spectacular thunderstorms and lethal floods – but where and when they’ll strike is hard to predict

Is heavy rainfall the new norm? What caused the heavy rains in October - December 2019?

Climate change projected to increase seasonal east African rainfall

Keeping it local: Activating the power of community for climate resilience in Bangladesh

UK infrastructure inadequate for climate emergency, experts warn

‘Extreme’ glacier loss events linked to human-caused climate change for first time

Will 2020 Be the Hottest Year on Record?

We may have broken the Earth’s high-temperature record today

Dynamic ice loss from the Greenland Ice Sheet driven by sustained glacier retreat

Manila-Based Team Designs Floating Homes Capable of Adapting to Changing Ocean Conditions

'Extremely active' hurricane season possible for Atlantic Basin

Lack of historical disaster data a thing of the past for Cambodia

Some California cities think they’re safe from sea level rise. They’re not, new data show

The world’s biggest waves: How climate change could trigger large landslides and ‘mega-tsunamis’

The U.S. Needs to Address Its Climate Migration Problem

The causes of sea-level rise since 1900

August brings fierce heat to Europe and storms to Atlantic

How dangerous heat waves can kill

Climate risk and response in Asia

Greenland's ice sheet melted away at record levels in 2019, scientists fear it will continue

National Farmers Federation calls for Australia to reduce net emissions to zero by 2050

Climate stripes reusable face mask

Disaster risk reduction

Benefit versus cost analysis and optimal cost effective mitigation strategies

Earthquake mitigation of WA regional towns: York case study

Flood risk in past and future: A case study for the Pawtuxet River's record‐breaking March 2010 flood event

Integrating forecast based action in an existing early warning system: Learning the context

Rethinking data‐driven decision support in flood risk management for a big data age

Corps should include nature-based and equitable solutions to flooding in Miami

Six strategies for creating flood resilient environments

How much should we invest to prevent the next pandemic?

New research will improve early warning of devastating megastorms

Rare ‘boomerang’ earthquake observed along Atlantic Ocean fault line

Mumbai floods every year during monsoon, but this year has been different

15 years after Katrina: Would we be prepared today?

Beledweyne: Working paper on flood risk and urban resilience

A New Tool for Tracking Amazon Fires

Emergency management

Learning lessons from resilience and peacebuilding programs in the Horn of Africa

Victims of Storm Dennis floods can't return to their homes six months on

July 2020 issue of the Australian Journal of Emergency Management

The Local Economic Recovery (LER) Program aims to support projects that contribute to local and regional economic and social recovery in areas most severely impacted by the 2019 Queensland Bushfires

In the midst of the global pandemic, Caribbean countries are preparing for the brunt of an Atlantic hurricane season that is more menacing than usual

A man was rescued Monday by an Indian Air Force helicopter after being stuck in the middle of raging floodwater for 16 hours

South Asia counts losses from devastating monsoon floods

Australia (assisting state) disaster management reference handbook 2020

Disaster education, communications and engagement

Land and geospatial information, a cornerstone to improve community resilience

Community Engagement for Disaster Resilience Handbook

By planning, preparing, and making your property more resistant and resilient, you can aim to reduce the impact of flooding to yourself and your property

Safe back to school: A practitioner’s guide

Launch of a quick risk estimation tool to help small businesses understand their risk

International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction 2020

Young people want better disaster education after Black Summer fires

Psychology and disasters

Personal account of Australian bushfires

Flood risk perceptions and coping capacities among the retired population, with implications for risk communication: A study of residents in a north Wales coastal town, UK

Sociology and disasters

Access to age-assistive technology: A resilience building measure for older people

Hazards, culture and indigenous communities: Socio-institutional modules for utilisation

The (in)visible victims of disaster: Understanding the vulnerability of undocumented Latino/a and indigenous immigrants

Interplay between Social Support Tie Formations and Subjective Mental Health Conditions in a Community Currency System in Japanese Disaster-Affected Communities: Double-Edged Phenomena

Amazon fires trap farmers into poverty – and into setting more fires

Urban Heatwaves Are Worse For Low-Income Neighborhoods

To understand how disasters relate to conflict and peace, reframe the starting point

Five ways coronavirus is deepening global inequality

Identifying societal challenges in flood early warning systems


Get disaster resilience updates at

Get climate change updates at

If you have any links you wish to share please send them to:

 Neil Dufty

Principal, Molino Stewart Pty Ltd

E-mail: [email protected]


Follow us on Twitter @molinostewart

Find out more about The International Emergency Management Society (TIEMS) at

Support for this initiative provided by Molino Stewart Pty Ltd If you wish to subscribe or unsubsribe please send an email to [email protected]

Subscribe to Molino Stewart’s free monthly newsletter ‘Floodplain Manager’ by registering your interest at [email protected]

Saltwater Creek and Lagoon Estuary’s new Coastal Management Program (CMP) Nearing Completion

In collaboration with Water Technology, Molino Stewart is nearing the completion of the first stage of Saltwater Creek and Lagoon Estuary’s new Coastal Management Program (CMP). The CMP has the purpose of setting the overall long-term strategy for the coordinated management of the estuary by identifying and implementing actions to address current and emerging issues. This will be used by Kempsey Shire Council to manage the increasing pressures from urban development, population growth and climate change within this important natural setting that is highly valued by the local community. Stage 1 specifically entails reviewing the current state of the estuary and its management through extensive research and community engagement to develop a shared understanding of the key values and risks associated with Saltwater Creek and Lagoon. This forms the basis for the subsequent four stages of the CMP, leading up to the implementation of the identified high-priority management measures. Through this process, we have found that the community is most concerned about: 1) the degradation of wetlands, 2) pressures from urban development, and 3) water quality issues within the Saltwater Creek and Lagoon. Receiving input from the local community is critical in ensuring the CMP addresses the most pertinent issues in the estuary, and that all future management actions are underlaid by strong local understanding.

Read the bulletin here