Risk report identifies three new natural disaster risks facing Tasmania

Coastal flooding, heat waves and an influenza pandemic are identified as new dangers facing Tasmania in a report on natural disasters.

The Tasmanian State Natural Disaster Risk Assessment 2016 is the most comprehensive report of its kind ever prepared and was presented today to emergency service representatives and government officials.

The report compares the risks posed by various hazards to allow emergency services to compare threats and prioritize responses.

Besides the threat of coastal flooding, heat waves and an influenza pandemic, he identified major risks such as bushfires, floods and storms.

Lead author Chris White of the University of Tasmania said climate change increases many risks, including heat waves.

“For this reason, it needs to be on our agenda on how we deal with and deal with these kinds of risks now, so that our preparedness, our building resilience against them does not come too late.”

Tasmania is the first state or territory to conduct a risk assessment under the federal government‘s new emergency risk assessment guidelines.

Emergency Management Minister René Hidding said the government needs to prepare for more regular natural disasters in the face of climate change.

“We would not have thought last year that we would miss the spring rains, you know for the first time in living memory that there had been no spring rains, our tropical forests were more rainforests and they caught fire, ”he said.

“But the point is, it has happened and it just represents the real risks of things changing.”

The flu, heat waves and fires pose the greatest risks

The report found that the greatest risks to human life came from the influenza pandemic, heatwave and bushfires, respectively.

Seasonal influenza contributes about 50 deaths each year, and the assessment predicts that mortality and morbidity would climb between 500 and 5,000 in a pandemic and “it would be a significant challenge for the health system to manage a future pandemic. similar or greater clinical incidence. gravity “.

Mr Hidding said the report would be used to better prepare.

“There is certainly a lot of work going on within health to manage these arrangements and that work will be able to educate state health officials on the kinds of things they need to consider. “, did he declare.

Heat waves have also been linked to increased demand on the healthcare system and are described in the report as a “silent killer”.

Mr Hidding said a heat wave contingency plan would be developed following the assessment.

“This is especially the case for parents of young people and the frail and elderly – this is usually the danger zone for heatwave conditions, as I understand it.”

The report also referred to the Tasmanian government’s “capacity shortages” highlighted by the Dunalley bushfires.

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