Published works

Published works

Preventing flood related fatalities: a focus on people driving through floodwater

TitlePreventing flood related fatalities: a focus on people driving through floodwater
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsRae, E, Campbell, P, Haynes, K, Gissing, A, Coates, L
Conference NameAFAC16
Date Published08/2016
PublisherBushfire and Natural Hazards CRC
Conference LocationBrisbane
Abstract

Floods are the leading cause of natural disaster fatalities worldwide. In 2013, 44 per cent of natural disaster fatalities were caused by floods (International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, 2013). Flash floods, in particular, have the highest average mortality rate per event (Jonkman, 2005). Approximately 180 people have died in Australia over the last 15 years (Haynes, et al., 2016; Peden, 2016). A large number of these fatalities occurred when people drove their vehicles into floodwaters, ignoring road closures and warning signs. Despite numerous campaigns on the dangers of floodwaters in recent years, people continue to put themselves at risk each year. In the June 2016 flood in New South Wales (NSW) alone, approximately 350 flood rescues occurred. Many of these rescues (approximately 50 per cent) included people stranded in or on the roofs of their cars, who may have otherwise been added to the number of fatalities. This flood event also resulted in the loss of multiple lives.
Following the major flood event on the east coast of Australia in May 2015, where several lives were also lost, the Law Crime and Community Safety Council (LCCSC) Ministers sought the Community Engagement Sub-committee (CESC) of the Australia-New Zealand Emergency Management Committee (ANZEMC) to explore the issue. A working group was established consisting of representatives from the Commonwealth, state and territory governments, and from the research industry. The project was funded by the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department (AGD), with the resultant report prepared by the NSW State Emergency Service (SES) and the working group on behalf of ANZEMC. As at 11 July, the report has not been endorsed by ANZEMC CESC or AGD.

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