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Australia ill-prepared for disasters

AUSTRALIA is ill-prepared for the types of freak weather wreaking devastation in other parts of the world and which is increasing, a new report says. As the emergency relief effort is ramped up in cyclone-stricken Burma, a strategic think-tank has warned that it is not even clear who or which authority would be in charge of responding to a similar disaster in Australia. "So-called freak weather is becoming more common, including cyclones, storms, floods, extreme temperature, drought and bushfires. More coastal zone residential developments are simply increasing these risks. There will be significant evacuation and relocation of large numbers of people." The report found Australia lacked an appropriate, effective, timely national community information and warning system capable of being used in the lead-up to, and recovery from, disasters. Governments also need to "climate-proof" infrastructure. Since the 9/11 attacks in the United States the bulk of disaster resources have gone into counter-terrorism measures. But Australia has more to fear from a national disaster than from terrorism. The study found the average family has "little concept" of planning for a situation where they might have no access to food, water or power for three days or more.
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