All over the world disasters, both natural and man made, continue to affect peoples’ lives. Tropical Queensland has an unenviable record of natural disasters. Tropical cyclones and associated sea surges, in particular, can threaten life and property.
With increased frequency and intensity of natural disasters, a rational approach is needed. Better preparation by public health professionals will result in more effective response efforts and improved outcomes for affected communities.
For more than 30 years, the Cyclone Testing Station associated with James Cook’s College of Science and Engineering has provided independent advice to industry and government on the effects of severe winds. This advice has been in incorporated in design codes and building standards in Australia and overseas. It has also influenced the State Government policy on storm tide mitigation and contributed to the prevention of catastrophic loss of life and property.
Disaster management agencies nationwide are concerned with a general lack of hazard awareness and preparedness in the community. JCU’s Centre for Disaster Studies has worked with the Bureau of Meteorology, Queensland Health and Queensland Emergency Services to improve the capacity of public agencies and coastal populations in the tropics to apply best practice in dealing with natural disasters.
The Centre’s research also complements tourism and tourism impact studies and community preparedness and information flows around bushfire impact. The Centre's research has been influential in moving public education practice and public action planning towards emphasising resilience. The Centre receives an annual grant from the Queensland Department of Emergency Services to continue its function as Queensland's only disaster research unit.