Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Initial lessons from the Queensland floods

I didn't give an end-day update on Toowoomba flash flood because by then the normal media coverage was so intense. I maybe should have, because that post attracted a lot of hits.

End of the summer break today, so I don't have time for a major post, just a few comments on things I noticed in the context of the Queensland floods.

As you might expect, the heavy rain and floods affected the telephone system. On some reports, mobile coverage in parts of Brisbane seems to collapsed quite early under the combination of rain and traffic pressures. Loss of power affected ability to communicate.

These things aren't new. However, it does raise the issue of increased vulnerability associated with technology based systems.

  Border myopia was alive and well. We are dealing with a weather system that extended from north of Rockhampton as far south as the Macleay Valley. The coverage and maps essentially stopped at the border, with Northern NSW, the broader New England, dealt with as an add-on. I found this quite annoying.

Coverage was remarkably patchy, even scatter-gun. I found is hard to get a proper picture of just what was happening as it applied to individual centres or even areas. You had to listen all the time just to pick up passing references that then left things hanging up in the air.

I know the geography quite well, but even so I struggled to fit things together.

Flood mitigation is already back on the agenda.  Problems with the Wivenhoe Dam show upsides and downsides that are sure to generate a lot of discussion.

Finally, and especially interesting from my viewpoint, were the pattern of overall responses, including discussions generated on Australian resilience. I just not this one at the moment.

This post may seem a bit odd when the present big story is the floods rolling down towards Ipswich and Brisbane, but I just wanted to get it all down.

I have written a number of posts on Australian responses to natural disasters. I will link those in in a later posts. 

1 comment:

Telephone systems in brisbane said...

Upgrading your phone system can be a mine field of confusion and techno babble. It is so important to get this purchase right since communication is the life blood of any modern organisation.