Emergency Dispatch Vol 4 2014

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<strong>Vol</strong>ume.4 <strong>2014</strong><br />

www.dispatchmag.com.au<br />

Earthquake Survival<br />

pacific partnership<br />

Community Station To<br />

emergency Broadcast

Contents<br />

Australian Red Cross Role In Haiti Relief<br />

How Safe Is Your Home<br />

Floods,Foods & More Floods<br />

Airtanker Arrives In Victoria<br />

What Is A Fire whirl<br />

Severe Thunder Storms - Facts, Warnings & Protection<br />

Surviving A Tsunami<br />

The Australian Warning systems swings into operation<br />

Cyclone Hazards & Disasters<br />

Earthquake Survival<br />

Pacific Partnership<br />

Community Station To <strong>Emergency</strong> Broadcast<br />

Pg 2<br />

Pg5<br />

Pg6<br />

Pg8<br />

Pg9<br />

Pg10<br />

Pg14<br />

Pg16<br />

Pg18<br />

Pg20<br />

Pg22<br />

Pg24<br />

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RELIEF<br />

2<br />

The impact of the 12 January earthquake off<br />

the coast of Haiti has left even veteran disaster<br />

responders stunned. The magnitude-7.3<br />

earthquake – the biggest to hit Haiti for 200 years<br />

may have left as many as 200,000 people dead<br />

and more than a million homeless.<br />

The quake leveled urban landscapes in parts<br />

of the country’s capital Port-au-Prince and<br />

surrounding suburbs and towns, leaving homes,<br />

businesses, banks, parks, marketplaces and<br />

schools in ruins.<br />

With an epicentre only 15 kilometres from Port-au<br />

Prince – hub of a centralised administration the<br />

earthquake struck at the heart of the country.<br />

It caused major damage to the seaport, airport<br />

and roads, destroyed parliament and ministry<br />

buildings, closed hospitals and crippled the city’s<br />

telecommunications, water and electricity<br />

supply.<br />

The devastation caused by the earthquake has<br />

generated one of the largest humanitarian<br />

responses ever carried out in a single country. For<br />

the global Red Cross network, currently playing<br />

a key role in the emergency response, it is fast<br />

becoming one of the largest and most complex<br />

operations in recent memory.<br />

Background on Haiti<br />

The earthquake compounded pre-existing<br />

difficult living conditions in Haiti. Ranked 149<br />

on the Human Development Index, 80 per cent<br />

of Haiti’s 8.7 million inhabitants were living in<br />

poverty prior to 12 January 2010, with half of the<br />

population subsisting on less than $1 a day.<br />

Alongside poverty, the country’s deeper<br />

problems included political and social instability<br />

with an economy in ruins, chronic unemployment,<br />

overwhelming challenges in health, as well<br />

as severe deforestation and environmental<br />

degradation that undermined farming, inflated<br />

food prices, and left the country vulnerable to<br />

flooding.<br />

As Tadateru Konoé, president of the International<br />

Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent<br />

Societies (IFRC), observed of relief efforts in the<br />

aftermath of the earthquake: ‘We must confront<br />

a natural disaster that is not only one of the<br />

biggest of the past decade, but is affecting one<br />

of the very poorest countries in the world’. The<br />

Haiti earthquake left people in need of more than<br />

simple recovery.<br />

In the aftermath<br />

As part of its global approach to disaster<br />

preparedness and management, the Red Cross<br />

movement is led by its local society in a disaster<br />

zone. Local Red Cross staff and volunteers are<br />

usually already involved in relief efforts before<br />

international assistance arrives. They are familiar<br />

with the communities and context in which

3<br />

they are working and ensure that additional<br />

assistance is needed and appropriate. Only<br />

moments after the earthquake struck on 12<br />

January, Haitian Red Cross volunteers – many<br />

of whom were also left homeless and grieving,<br />

lost or missing loved ones – began to assess<br />

the impact and administer first aid to the injured.<br />

Prepositioned stores of relief items in Port-au-<br />

Prince provided an immediate source of aid to<br />

approximately 3,000 families. Items included<br />

blankets, hygiene kits, tarpaulins and containers<br />

for storing drinking water.<br />

A local contribution<br />

Australian Red Cross immediately offered its<br />

support and assistance as part of the global Red<br />

Cross response. Within hours of hearing news<br />

of the disaster, the organization established<br />

a national appeal through which Australians<br />

could contribute to Red Cross relief and recovery<br />

efforts. To date, more than $7 million has been<br />

donated by the Australian public, businesses<br />

and government. Australian aid workers, trained<br />

and experienced in disaster response, were<br />

immediately put on standby as Australian Red<br />

Cross awaited requests for resources from staff<br />

in the field.<br />

The first Australian Red Cross aid worker, a<br />

specialist in public health, travelled to Haiti six<br />

days after the earthquake. He complemented<br />

a team of Japanese Red Cross medical staff<br />

tending to the injured out of a temporary basic<br />

health care unit set up in a suburb outside Portau-Prince.<br />

Also pre-positioned were funds held by IFRC.<br />

Within hours of the earthquake, IFRC had released<br />

money from its disaster relief emergency<br />

fund to cover the purchase and transfer of<br />

additional relief supplies, including food and<br />

water from neighbouring Dominican Republic.<br />

An international appeal for funds to support<br />

response and recovery work soon followed.<br />

Key needs in the emergency relief phase<br />

included search and rescue, identification<br />

and management of dead bodies, medical<br />

assistance and the distribution of immediate<br />

relief items including food, clothing, water, shelter<br />

and sanitation. Shelter and sanitation continue to<br />

remain priorities.<br />

Since then, fourteen Australian aid workers have<br />

travelled to Haiti; eight nurses, a midwife, a GP<br />

and three experts in shelter and a public health<br />

specialist. The medical teams are working with<br />

colleagues from across the world in a German<br />

Red Cross field hospital. One shelter specialist<br />

has joined the committee of 26 organisations<br />

overseeing the coordination of shelter activities<br />

(Red Cross has taken on the role of lead<br />

organisation on shelter), while the other two have<br />

joined Finnish Red Cross workers erecting tents<br />

and tarpaulins in attempts to provide people with<br />

emergency shelter.<br />

Australian Red Cross has also contributed<br />

aid supplies, redirecting to Haiti a stock<br />

replenishment en route to its storage warehouse<br />

in Kuala Lumpur.

4<br />

Current focus<br />

Although the humanitarian situation continues to<br />

improveon a daily basis, it is clear there are major<br />

unmet needs, particularly in terms of shelter and<br />

sanitation.<br />

In the capital, tens of thousands of people are<br />

struggling in hundreds of makeshift camps. With<br />

the rainy season due to begin in May and the<br />

hurricane season in June, the situation is made<br />

more critical.<br />

While the delivery and distribution of tents and<br />

shelter materials is being sped up, with more than<br />

75 per cent of the displaced population having<br />

received shelter to date, the operation is severely<br />

constrained by the preexisting shortage of land<br />

for new settlement. Work continues with Haitian<br />

authorities to identify additional appropriate sites<br />

for displaced people.<br />

Of equal concern, Port-au-Prince was left without<br />

sanitation. So far more than 1200 latrines have<br />

been built in 20 different improvised camps,<br />

however more needs to be done before the rains<br />

hit.<br />

Aid workers are well aware that if conditions<br />

worsen, so too will the risk of potential epidemics<br />

of water-borne disease.<br />

Looking ahead<br />

The recovery process will take years – perhaps<br />

even a generation – however aid workers are<br />

looking at this response as a rare opportunity to<br />

effect large-scale change where it is desperately<br />

needed.<br />

Red Cross is committed to ensuring that Haiti’s<br />

devastated communities receive not only the<br />

help they need now, but the help they will need<br />

for a long while to come, with disaster response<br />

units now routinely including recovery experts<br />

to ensure community needs are understood<br />

and planned for. In addition, all work being<br />

undertaken by international aid workers is done<br />

in cooperation with Haitian Red Cross, with<br />

capacity development of the local society an<br />

ongoing focus for the global effort.<br />

Longer term planning of recovery activities is well<br />

underway and will form the base upon which<br />

work will be implemented in the future.


HOME?<br />

DCS employees and volunteers are being<br />

encouraged to lead by example and sign up for<br />

a free QFRS Safehome fire safety check. QFRS’s<br />

flagship community relations program, Safehome<br />

is designed to protect lives and property by<br />

educating householders about the fire risks that<br />

can exist in their homes. The free service<br />

is available to all Queenslanders and involves<br />

a visit from QFRS firefighters, who will assist<br />

householders to conduct a fire and safety audit<br />

of their home or unit. Once the hazards are<br />

identified, the householder is given advice to<br />

reduce or eliminate the risks.<br />

As part of the service, firefighters will advise on<br />

safety issues including:<br />

• Effective positioning, installation and<br />

maintenance of smoke alarms;<br />

• Avoiding kitchen fires, which are the main<br />

source of home and unit fires in Queensland;<br />

• Safe storage of chemicals;<br />

• Using power boards and electrical<br />

appliances safely, and;<br />

• Reducing the fire load in, under and around<br />

dwellings.<br />

During the visit firefighters will also provide<br />

householders with a free Safehome kit which<br />

includes a safety checklist, a manual for drawing<br />

up a fire escape plan, and information about first<br />

aid and natural hazards such as storms, lightning<br />

and cyclones.<br />

Safehome visits take about 45 minutes, and can<br />

be arranged outside standard working hours.<br />

The program is proudly sponsored by NRMA<br />

Insurance.<br />

In areas serviced by volunteer rural firefighters,<br />

home visits may not be made. Instead, a<br />

Safehome kit, including a safety checklist, may<br />

be posted together with a Bushfire Preparedness<br />

Kit and a letter providing information about the<br />

nearest fire station.<br />

Assistant Commissioner Mark Roche, of QFRS<br />

Community Safety and Training, said the<br />

Safehome program helped householders identify<br />

and deal with potential domestic fire and safety<br />

hazards.<br />

‘Our homes are not immune to these hazards,<br />

and DCS staff are in an ideal position to take<br />

advantage of the Safehome visits and set an<br />

example for other members of the community to<br />

follow,’ Mark said. ‘We strongly encourage staff<br />

to make their own Safehome booking, and to<br />

recommend this free service to family members,<br />

friends and neighbours throughout Queensland.<br />

‘It doesn’t matter if the householder is an owneroccupier<br />

or a tenant, they can still arrange for a<br />

Safehome visit.’

6<br />



March 2010 will go down in the history books as<br />

the time of one of the most extreme<br />

flooding events ever experienced in south-west<br />

Queensland.<br />

In early March a monsoonal low-pressure<br />

system caused prolonged heavy rainfall<br />

resulting in widespread flooding across the<br />

region, isolating communities and leaving more<br />

than 1000 homes and businesses inundated.<br />

The response effort coordinated by Local and<br />

District Disaster Management Groups assisted<br />

by EMQ’s State Disaster Coordination Centre<br />

was remarkable, involving hundreds of people<br />

working extended hours to ensure the safety of<br />

those affected.<br />

EMQ Acting Chief Officer Bruce Grady said this<br />

once-in-a-lifetime flooding event demonstrated<br />

the strong relationships between government<br />

agencies, local councils and members of the<br />

community.<br />

‘Local Disaster Management Groups in the<br />

affected areas were in force from day one<br />

preparing for the worst but hoping for the best,’<br />

Mr Grady said.<br />

‘Communities were warned of the potential<br />

impact and contingency plans were put in place<br />

to ensure ample support was provided during<br />

this time of need.<br />

The community resilience and spirit shone<br />

across each of the western towns, with everyone<br />

pooling together to care for evacuees and assist<br />

with sandbagging and clean up operations.<br />

‘EMQ continues to work together in conjunction<br />

with Local Disaster Management Groups to<br />

provide essential supplies to affected residents.’<br />

The 132 500 SES hotline received more than 950<br />

calls for assistance during the flooding event.<br />

The State Government declared a disaster<br />

situation for Charleville on 2 March after Bradleys<br />

Gully, a creek that runs through the

7<br />

town, rose significantly, breaking its banks and<br />

causing localised flooding. Shortly after, a disaster<br />

situation was also declared for the Murweh<br />

and Balonne Local Government areas.<br />

SES and QFRS personnel helped to evacuate<br />

people from their homes across both Charleville<br />

and Roma. Two-thirds of the town of Charleville<br />

experienced inundation and more than 500 people<br />

moved from their homes to higher ground.<br />

Many chose to take shelter at the showgrounds<br />

where an evacuation centre managed by the Red<br />

Cross was established.<br />

In Roma about 200 people relocated from their<br />

homes, while aircraft were tasked to rescue people<br />

from flooded outlying properties. In some<br />

cases, residents were stranded on the roofs of<br />

their homes. Medical evacuations took place and<br />

resupply operations were coordinated for the<br />

days that followed. Trucks, planes and helicopters<br />

stacked with food supplies streamed into the<br />

flooded towns.<br />

A taskforce of more than 100 SES volunteers was<br />

deployed from south-east Queensland to assist<br />

with both floodboat and clean up operations<br />

across the isolated communities.<br />

The QFRS deployed several Swiftwater Rescue<br />

personnel to St George, Roma and Charleville,<br />

while a Strike Team of 12 firefighters went to<br />

Charleville to assist with clean up operations<br />

that began with the nursing headquarters at the<br />

hospital. Upon arriving in Charleville, the team of<br />

12 firefighters witnessed the selfless community<br />

spirit first-hand. A local motel owner ripped up<br />

the wet<br />

carpet from the rooms, swept away debris and<br />

made up beds for them to sleep in, despite being<br />

knee-deep in floodwater just days before.<br />

The flood threat moved south to St George a few<br />

days later with a record peak of 14m predicted for<br />

the Balonne River on 6 March.<br />

<strong>Emergency</strong> services were ready for the threat,<br />

with preparations already in place to accommodate<br />

half of St George’s 3000 residents in an<br />

emergency shelter at the local showgrounds.<br />

More than 4000 sandbags were also flown in<br />

to St George before the surge. As the river rose<br />

evacuations began across the town, but on the<br />

day of the expected peak there was relief across<br />

the community as the Balonne River reached a<br />

record 13.5m causing no further<br />

inundation to homes.<br />

While the flood clean up will continue in the<br />

months to come, the deluge has had a positive<br />

effect. It has been many months since the state’s<br />

south-west west was clad in such a dark shade<br />

of green, with the rain filling dams and creating a<br />

silver lining for many farmers.

8<br />



The first operational trial of the very large<br />

airtanker took place in Victoria this bush fire<br />

season.<br />

The VLAT was based at the Avalon Airport<br />

in Victoria from December 2009 and was<br />

available for operational use until March 2010. It<br />

is the first trial of the large water-bombing plane<br />

in Australia.<br />

The Bushfire CRC will evaluate the operational<br />

trial and will prepare a series of reports on the<br />

airtanker by mid 2010. The airtanker has the<br />

capacity to drop approximately 45,000 litres of<br />

water or 42,000 litres of fire retardant - up to five<br />

times the amount of the high-volume helicopters<br />

such as Elvis and Isabelle. Its volume is 15 times<br />

the amount of our largest fixedwing bombers.<br />

The plane can land, refuel, reload and be ready<br />

to take-off again in approximately 30 minutes,<br />

depending on circumstances. It is likely to have a<br />

minimum flying altitude of 300ft and its minimum<br />

speed is approximately 150 knots. CEO of the<br />

Bushfire CRC, Gary Morgan said the trial will<br />

assess the effectiveness of the VLAT in Australian<br />

conditions.<br />

“The Bushfire CRC will bring its broad expertise<br />

to the trial of this very large aircraft and will share<br />

the outcomes with firefighting agencies around<br />

Australia and internationally,” said Mr Morgan.<br />

The Bushfire CRC researchers are from the CSIRO<br />

and from Australian firefighting agencies,<br />

who will work closely with the U.S. aircraft crews.<br />

An S76 helicopter from Canada accompanied<br />

the researchers in their task. “This helicopter is a<br />

vital part of the trial because it has the speed and<br />

responsiveness to keep pace with the DC-10 and<br />

it is equipped with all the necessary monitoring<br />

equipment to ensure that each aerial drop can be<br />

properly assessed,” he said.<br />

Leased by the National Aerial Firefighting Centre<br />

(NAFC) and funded by the Victorian State<br />

Government, the DC-10 was the largest aircraft<br />

ever to be used in aerial firefighting in Australia.<br />

The airtanker can be used to build retardant lines<br />

in remote areas and to provide fire suppression<br />

on the flanks of bush fires. There has also been<br />

extensive trialling in non-operational situations<br />

in landscapes unique to Australia such as dense<br />

eucalyptus forest, grass fuels, flat terrain, hilly<br />

terrain and with a range of payloads (water,<br />


WHAT<br />

IS A<br />

FIRE<br />

WHIRL?<br />

A fire whirl, also known as<br />

a fire devil or fire tornado,<br />

is a rare phenomenon in<br />

which a fire, under certain<br />

conditions (depending on<br />

air temperature and currents)<br />

acquires a vertical<br />

vorticity and forms a whirl,<br />

or tornado-like vertically<br />

oriented rotating column<br />

of air. Fire whirls may be<br />

whirlwinds separated from<br />

the flames, either within<br />

the burn area or outside it,<br />

or a vortex of flame, itself.<br />

A fire whirl can make the<br />

fire more dangerous as it<br />

encourages the fire to spot.

14<br />


Thai Police Patrol Boats prepare for impact. / Thailand 2004<br />

A tsunami is a series of fast, low and long ocean<br />

waves, that move out from a central area, due to<br />

a sudden disturbance of a large body of water.<br />

In the past, tsunami have been known as tidal<br />

waves but this is not correct as tsunami are not<br />

caused by tides.<br />

Tsunami (pronounced soo-nah-mee) is a<br />

Japanese word meaning ‘harbour wave’. It<br />

came from an old story about some Japanese<br />

fishermen who, when out in the deep ocean, did<br />

not notice a tsunami travelling underneath them.<br />

When they arrived back at port they found the<br />

harbour<br />

destroyed.<br />

In the deep ocean a tsunami can travel up to<br />

950km/hr, the speed of an aeroplane and may<br />

be less than one metre high. This is why the<br />

Japanese fishermen did not notice the tsunami<br />

in the deep ocean. Tsunami wavelengths are<br />

extremely long with hundreds of kilometres<br />

between wave crests in the deep ocean.<br />

movement of water allthe way to the sea floor.<br />

The most common cause of tsunami is large,<br />

undersea earthquakes that occur along the<br />

boundaries of the Earth’s tectonic plates. As<br />

the plates move, stress slowly builds up over<br />

hundreds, or even thousands, of years along<br />

geological structures known as faults.<br />

During an earthquake the stress along these<br />

faults can be released within a matter of seconds.<br />

This causes a sudden movement of the sea floor<br />

which disturbs the ocean above. The affected<br />

ocean then spreads out from the location of the<br />

earthquake as a tsunami.<br />

Although undersea earthquakes are the most<br />

common cause of tsunami, they can also be<br />

caused by volcanic eruptions, landslides and<br />

even asteroid impact in or near the ocean.<br />

As tsunami approach the coastline they slow<br />

down but do not lose energy. The back of the<br />

wave catches up with the front, causing the<br />

wave to grow in height – up to several metres. It<br />

is not so much this movement of water but the<br />

energy moving through it that makes tsunami so<br />

dangerous.<br />

Tsunami are different from normal waves you see<br />

at the beach. With a normal wind swell wave, it is<br />

only the water on top of the ocean that is moving.<br />

In contrast, the passage of tsunami involves the

15<br />

The natural warning<br />

signs of tsunami<br />

In Australia you will most likely receive an official<br />

tsunami warning. However, before a tsunami<br />

arrives you may, but not always, experience some<br />

natural warning signs.<br />

You may:<br />

• FEEL the earth shake. If you are near the<br />

ocean and you feel the ground shake, a strong<br />

earthquake may have occurred and possibly<br />

caused a tsunami. However, you may not feel<br />

the earth shake if the earthquake occurred a long<br />

way away.<br />

English school girl saves<br />

100 lives<br />

In December 2004, 10-year-old English<br />

schoolgirl, Tilly Smith was enjoying a family<br />

holiday on the coast of Thailand. On the<br />

morning of 26 December, her family were<br />

enjoying a walk on the beach when Tilly<br />

noticed the ocean drop dramatically. It then<br />

returned rapidly covered in froth, which she<br />

described as looking like the top of a beer. As<br />

the ocean moved quickly towards the beach,<br />

Tilly knew a tsunami was approaching having<br />

learned about tsunami in a geography lesson<br />

a couple of weeks earlier. She raised the alarm<br />

and the beach was cleared, saving 100 lives.<br />

• SEE the ocean drop. Before a tsunami arrives,<br />

the ocean level may (but not always) drop<br />

dramatically before returning as a wall of water.<br />

If you notice that the water is disappearing, tell<br />

your family and friends and prepare to move to<br />

higher ground.<br />

• HEAR an unusual roaring sound. If you hear a<br />

loud roaring sound from the ocean (a bit like an<br />

aeroplane or a train), tell your family and friends.<br />

This sound may be heard before a tsunami<br />

arrives.<br />

Will tsunami occur in Australia?<br />

While the risk from tsunami is lower in Australia<br />

than other parts of the world, tsunami do have<br />

an effect on our coastline. Even with relatively<br />

small tsunami, there could be strong waves, rips<br />

and currents and unusual sea levels that can be<br />

dangerous.<br />

On 17 July 2006, campers at Steep Point on the<br />

Western Australian coast were lucky to escape<br />

when a tsunami hit their campsite. It was strong<br />

enough to pick up their 4WD vehicle and move it<br />

10 metres up the beach.<br />

They were alerted to the tsunami by a loud roar<br />

from the ocean, which is one of the natural<br />

warning signs of tsunami.

16<br />





Since the Indian Ocean Tsunami in December<br />

2004, a number of countries around the world,<br />

including Australia, have increased their efforts<br />

to monitor, plan and warn for tsunami. The<br />

Australian Government, through the Bureau of<br />

Meteorology (the Bureau), Geoscience Australia<br />

(GA), and the Attorney-General’s Department,<br />

(AGD) has been working with State and Territory<br />

governments and other relevant agencies to<br />

develop the Australian Tsunami Warning System<br />

(ATWS).<br />

Bondi Beach is closed due to Tsunami warning, which alot<br />

of people ignored, caused by the earthquake in Chile 2010<br />

in Australia’s security and has the real potential<br />

to save lives and infrastructure.<br />

The role of GA within the JATWC is to detect<br />

potentially tsunamigenic earthquakes in the<br />

Indian Ocean, Pacific Ocean and Southern Ocean,<br />

and advise the Bureau of this potential within 15<br />

minutes of the earthquake occurring. GA also<br />

undertake tsunami risk studies to assist local<br />

and State organisations in planning for tsunami<br />

events.<br />

The Joint Australian Tsunami Warning Centre<br />

(JATWC) is jointly operated by the Bureau and<br />

GA. Based in Melbourne and Canberra, it was<br />

established in July 2007 so that Australia has<br />

the independent capability to detect, monitor,<br />

verify and warn the community of the existence<br />

of tsunami in our region and possible threats to<br />

Australian coastal locations and offshore islands.<br />

The Bureau and GA are building on their combined<br />

expertise in the relevant science and technology<br />

areas including seismic and sea-level monitoring<br />

and a warning systems to provide 24/7 tsunami<br />

monitoring and analysis capacity for Australia.<br />

The centre boasts world class scientific<br />

technology with the expressed aim of providing<br />

the longest lead time of any potential tsunami<br />

threat. The major objective of the JATWC is to<br />

provide emergency managers with a minimum of<br />

90 minutes warning of a likely tsunami impact on<br />

Australia. The Centre is a long-term investment<br />

The Bureau’s role is to use its network of sealevel<br />

monitoring equipment including coastal<br />

sea-level gauges, deep-ocean tsunami detection<br />

buoys and tsunami computer models to confirm<br />

the existence of a tsunami and estimate its likely<br />

intensity at the Australian coast. The second<br />

part of the Bureau’s role is to issue the relevant<br />

tsunami warnings and bulletins for Australia<br />

(including islands and territories) as required.

Media organisations across Australia work with<br />

the Bureau to inform the public in case of a<br />

tsunami event. Tsunami bulletins and warning<br />

distribution lists are maintained at each of the<br />

Bureau’s State and Territory Regional Forecasting<br />

Centres.<br />

These distribution lists are used for both National<br />

JATWC Bulletins and Regional Warnings. In<br />

addition to the media, key agencies such as the<br />

State and Territory emergency services, local<br />

councils, port authorities and police are included<br />

on these dissemination lists. The bulletin and<br />

warning messages are also automatically<br />

uploaded to the Bureau’s website.<br />

GA operates an enhanced network of seismic<br />

stations nationally and has access to data from<br />

international monitoring networks. It advises the<br />

Bureau and AGD of the magnitude, location and<br />

characteristics of a seismic event which has the<br />

potential to generate a tsunami.<br />

Based on this seismic information from GA, as well<br />

as advisories from the Pacific Tsunami Warning<br />

Centre (PTWC) in Hawaii, and from neighbouring<br />

countries with tsunami detecting capacity, the<br />

Bureau runs a tsunami model to generate a first<br />

estimate of the tsunami size, arrival time and<br />

potential impact locations. They then verify the<br />

existence of a tsunami using information from an<br />

enhanced sea level monitoring network.<br />

The Bureau then promulgates advice and<br />

warnings on any possible tsunami threat to<br />

State emergency management services, media<br />

and the public. AGD liaises with the operations<br />

centres of affected State and Territory emergency<br />

management organisations and coordinates<br />

Federal assistance as required. AGD also has<br />

responsibility for improving public awareness<br />

and preparedness for tsunami in Australia.<br />

In order to assist the community, tsunami<br />

threat levels in regional tsunami warnings<br />

are categorised into three levels with required<br />

community responses. These have been<br />

determined in consultation with emergency<br />

management authorities. These threat levels<br />

will be specified for the same coastal areas<br />

that are used for routine Bureau Coastal Waters<br />

Forecasts, already known to marine users.<br />


An undersea earthquake has been detected,<br />

however it has not generated a tsunami or the<br />

tsunami poses no threat to Australia and its<br />

offshore territories.<br />


THREAT<br />

Warning of potentially dangerous waves, strong<br />

ocean currents in the marine environment and<br />

the possibility of only some localised overflow<br />

onto the immediate foreshore.<br />


Warning for low-lying coastal areas of major<br />

land inundation, flooding, dangerous waves and<br />

strong ocean currents.<br />

When the main threat has passed or if a tsunami<br />

didn’t eventuate, the Bureau will issue a Tsunami<br />

Watch Cancellation or Tsunami Warning<br />

Cancellation. The relevant State or Territory<br />

emergency authority will inform the public when<br />

it is safe to return to the affected areas.<br />

For latest tsunami warnings call (130 0878 6264)<br />

or visit the Bureau of Meteorology website at<br />

www.bom.gov.au<br />


18<br />

Cyclone<br />

Hazards & Disasters<br />

Tropical cyclones are low pressure systems in<br />

the tropics that, in the southern hemisphere, have<br />

well-defined clockwise wind circulations with<br />

a region surrounding the centre with gale force<br />

winds.<br />

The gale force winds can extend hundreds<br />

of kilometres from the cyclone centre. If the<br />

sustained winds around the centre reach 119<br />

kilometres per hour, the system is called a<br />

severe tropical cyclone. These are referred to<br />

as hurricanes in North America and typhoons in<br />

Asia.<br />

Cyclone Season and Effects<br />

The tropical cyclone season in Australia<br />

extends from November to April. Cyclones<br />

generally affect coastal areas north of<br />

Perth along the Western Australia and Northern<br />

Territory coasts, most of the Queensland coast<br />

and occasionally the far northern New South<br />

Wales coast. The greatest threat lies north of the<br />

Tropic of Capricorn.<br />


Cyclones occur frequently in the southern<br />

hemisphere, with an average of 10 per year<br />

being tracked by the Bureau of Meteorology in<br />

the Australian region. Cyclones in the Indian and<br />

Pacific Oceans are also closely monitored in<br />

case they threaten Australian islands or nearby<br />

countries.<br />


The severity of tropical cyclones is described in<br />

terms of categories between 1 and 5 related to<br />

the zone of maximum winds. These range from<br />

Category 1 (strongest wind gusts less than 125<br />

km/h), through Category 2 (125–169 km/h),<br />

Category 3 (170–224 km/h), Category 4 (225–<br />

279 km/h), to Category 5 for the most severe<br />

cyclones (wind gusts more than 280 km/h).<br />

EFFECTS.<br />

Cyclones approach from the sea and bring<br />

torrential rains, extreme winds and sometimes<br />

storm surges. Damage varies widely depending<br />

on the path, but can include buildings, crops and<br />

boats at sea. Most deaths from cyclones occur<br />

as a result of drowning (both at sea and during<br />

floods), collapsed buildings, or debris which<br />

becomes lethal projectiles carried by the extreme<br />


19<br />

The Birth and Anatomy of a Cyclone<br />

Tropical cyclones derive their energy from warm<br />

tropical oceans and do not form unless the<br />

sea-surface temperature is above 26.5°C; once<br />

formed, they can persist over lower sea-surface<br />

temperatures. Tropical cyclones can persist for<br />

many days and may follow quite erratic paths.<br />

They usually dissipate over land or colder oceans.<br />

If conditions are right, an ordinary tropical<br />

depression, or low, can develop into a tropical<br />

cyclone. In the southern hemisphere, in a low<br />

the winds spiral in a clockwise direction towards<br />

its centre, where they rise and spill over in an<br />

outward flow at high altitude. Summer heat on<br />

the warm ocean evaporates water, creating a<br />

deep layer of moist air. The uplift of this moist air<br />

in the centre of a low cools it, causing the intense<br />

rain characteristic of tropical cyclones. Higher<br />

in the upper levels the rising air spirals outward,<br />

removing air faster than it flows in, resulting in a<br />

fall in barometric pressure.<br />

The Central ‘Eye’<br />

The circular eye or centre of a tropical cyclone<br />

is an area characterised by light winds and<br />

often byclear skies. Eye diameters are typically<br />

40 kilometres, but can range from under 10<br />

kilometres to over 100 kilometres. The eye is<br />

surrounded by a dense ring of cloud about 16<br />

kilometres high known as the eye wall which<br />

marks the belt of strongest winds and heaviest<br />

rainfall.<br />

Cyclone Behaviour and Warning Time<br />

Tropical cyclones in the Australian region have<br />

more erratic tracks than those in other parts of<br />

the world. Cyclones may exist for a few days,<br />

to over three weeks. They may move forward,<br />

double-back, stay motionless for periods or<br />

move in circles, and therefore need to be tracked<br />

carefully by weather observers. If they reach land,<br />

the friction of the earth and the loss of sustaining<br />

heat energy from the ocean cause cyclones to<br />

‘fill’ and drop most of their rain. Cyclones move<br />

at 15–25 kilometres per hour, so there is usually<br />

sufficient warning time to prepare for their onset.<br />

It is important for people in cyclone areas<br />

to remember that during the passage of the<br />

cyclone centre or eye there will be a temporary<br />

lull in the wind, but that this will soon be replaced<br />

by destructive winds from another direction.<br />

Key Points in the case of a Cyclone<br />

• Know your community cyclone plan, and how<br />

the cyclone warning system works<br />

• Have a portable radio and torch with spare<br />

batteries<br />

• Check your house is in good condition,<br />

particularly the roof, and trim tree branches<br />

clear of your house.<br />

• Clear property of loose items likely to cause<br />

damage in high winds.<br />

• Create an emergency kit of tinned food,<br />

water containers, emergency lighting, first aid<br />

kit, medicines, tape and plastic bags.<br />

• Listen to your local radio or TV for further<br />

warnings.<br />

• Board or tape windows, store loose articles<br />

inside, lock up pets, fill water containers, fuel<br />

car and place under cover.<br />

• Switch off electricity, gas etc.<br />

• Stay inside and shelter in strongest part of the<br />

house (e.g. bathroom or cellar)<br />

• Protect yourself with mattress, blankets etc.<br />

and anchor yourself to a strong fixture (such<br />

as water pipes) or get under a strong table.<br />

• Beware the calm ‘eye’. Remain indoors until<br />

advised that the cyclone has passed.<br />

• Don’t go outside until advised officially that<br />

the cyclone has passed.<br />

• Beware of fallen powerlines, damaged<br />

buildings, trees and flooded watercourses.

20<br />

Earthquake<br />

Survival<br />

Earthquakes are a shaking or trembling of the<br />

Earth’s crust caused by the release of huge<br />

stresses due to underground volcanic forces,<br />

the breaking of rock beneath the surface, or by<br />

sudden movement along an existing fault line.<br />

The latter type results from constant gradual<br />

movement of the tectonic plates that make up<br />

Earth’s crust, which causes stress to build up<br />

in rock layers. Small earthquakes sometimes<br />

result from human activity (e.g. filling of large<br />

reservoirs).<br />

Characteristics and Measurement<br />

Earthquakes are unpredictable and strike without<br />

warning. They range in strength from slight<br />

tremors to great shocks lasting from a few<br />

seconds to as long as five minutes. They can<br />

occur in a series over a period of several days.<br />

Energy released by (or magnitude of) an<br />

earthquake is recorded on a seismograph, using<br />

the Richter scale. This scale is open ended, as<br />

there is no upper limit to the amount of energy<br />

an earthquake might release. The most severe<br />

earthquakes so far have not exceeded 9.5 on<br />

this scale. It is not a simple arithmetic scale; for<br />

instance, a magnitude 7.0 earthquake creates<br />

10 times the ground motion of a magnitude 6.0<br />

earthquake and the total energy release is about<br />

30 times greater. This, in turn, is 30 times greater<br />

than a magnitude 5.0 earthquake and so on.<br />

Another scale used to describe earthquakes is<br />

the Modified Mercalli (MM). It rates the amount<br />

of shaking felt and damage caused (or intensity),<br />

and uses Roman numerals. On this scale,<br />

I is a barely detectable tremor, and XII is total<br />

damage.<br />

Causes of Injury & Damage<br />

Most earthquake casualties result from falling<br />

objects or debris when shocks damage or<br />

demolish buildings and other structures.<br />

Electricity and telephone lines, and gas, sewer<br />

and<br />

water mains can be damaged;<br />

landslides, ground displacement (faulting),<br />

subsidence and tsunamis may result, leaving<br />

many people dead, injured or homeless.<br />

Newcastle University Library / 1989

Australian Earthquakes<br />

Because of Australia’s geological position, we<br />

are prone to what seismologists call intra-plate<br />

earthquakes. These are different and less well<br />

understood than the more familiar plate-margin<br />

type, common in the USA, Indonesia, Papua New<br />

Guinea and New Zealand.<br />

In the last 80 years, 17 earthquakes in Australia<br />

have registered 6.0 or more on the Richter scale.<br />

This is about one every five years, compared to<br />

a world average of about 140 per year. Although<br />

the larger Australian earthquakes have caused<br />

significant damage, they are, on the whole, of<br />

much smaller strength than the world’s most<br />

damaging shocks.<br />

Until Newcastle’s December 1989 event, the<br />

damage bill attributed to earthquakes in Australia<br />

had been comparatively low.<br />

The geographically oldest western and central<br />

parts of Australia are most seismically-active.<br />

Compared with many other countries in our<br />

region, earthquake activity in Australia is low.<br />

Our most severe earthquakes usually occur in<br />

unpopulated regions but several have caused<br />

damage in built-up areas, mainly in Western<br />

Australia, South Australia and New South Wales.<br />

All states and territories have experienced<br />

earthquakes.<br />

Earthquake Survival & Damage<br />

Reduction<br />

Watch for Possible Warning Signs<br />

• Erratic animal behaviour—watch for frightened<br />

or confused pets running around, or a bird call<br />

not usually heard at night.<br />

• Ground-water levels, watch for sudden<br />

changes of water level in wells or artesian<br />

bores.<br />

During the Earthquake<br />

• Take cover under an internal door frame,<br />

sturdy table, bench or bed.<br />

• Keep away from windows, mirrors, chimneys,<br />

overhead fittings and tall furniture.<br />

• In high-rise buildings, stay clear of windows<br />

and outer walls. Get under a desk near a pillar<br />

or internal wall. Do not use elevators.<br />

• In crowded areas, do not rush for doors. Stay<br />

clear of roof and wall fittings.<br />

• If outside, keep well clear of buildings, walls,<br />

powerlines, trees etc.<br />

After the Earthquake<br />

• Check for injuries. Apply first aid. Do not move<br />

the seriously injured unless in danger.<br />

• Turn off electricity, gas and water. Check for<br />

gas/fuel leaks before lighting matches.<br />

• Be prepared for aftershocks. Evacuate if<br />

house is badly damaged.<br />

• D o not waste food and water, as supplies<br />

may be interrupted.<br />

• Listen to local radio and heed warnings and<br />

advice on damage and service disruptions.<br />

Salisbury, W.A. Earthquake 1968<br />

Know Your Local Earthquake Risk<br />

Ask your state or territory <strong>Emergency</strong> Service,<br />

council and insurance company for the following<br />

information.<br />

• Whether tremors or earthquakes have<br />

occurred in your area and what damage<br />

resulted.<br />

• Ask your local <strong>Emergency</strong> Service for a free<br />

pamphlet or poster showing Australia’s<br />

earthquake hazard zones.<br />

• Ask your council how to make your house<br />

safer, even in a slight-risk zone.<br />

• Check that your insurance covers earthquake<br />

damage.<br />




Lieutenant Colonel Helen Murphy, Commander Australian National<br />

Command Element for Pacific Partnership on the wharf at<br />

Guam Naval Base with USNS Mercy in the background.<br />

The PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP campaign evolved<br />

from the unprecedented international disaster<br />

response for countries devastated during the<br />

2004 Asian tsunami.<br />

Follow up missions recognised the benefits derived<br />

from cooperation between national governments,<br />

militaries, international organizations, and nongovernmental<br />

organisations during disaster relief<br />

operations, as well as in civic assistance projects.<br />

In an effort to capitalise on the experiences<br />

and relationships formed during that tragic<br />

disaster, the concept of a recurring mission was<br />

established to:<br />

• Strengthen relationships with host, partner<br />

nations, and other partner organizations.<br />

• Build partner capacity to conduct peace,<br />

stability, and consequence management<br />

operations<br />

• Improve U.S. and Partner Humanitarian<br />

Assistance/ Disaster Relief capacity<br />

• Improve security cooperation among partner<br />

nations.<br />

Now in its sixth year, partner nations continue<br />

their mission to improve the lives of people in the<br />

Pacific region, as well as improve the capacities<br />

of nations and organisations to respond to<br />

disasters through recurring opportunities for<br />

cooperation and training.<br />

PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP 2010 seeks to build on the<br />

relationships established in previous PACIFIC<br />

PARTNERSHIP missions to deliver a variety<br />

of medical, dental, engineering, and veterinary<br />

projects in South East Asia and Oceania.<br />

The mission will be conducted from May to<br />

September 2010, visiting each host nation for a<br />

number of weeks.<br />

This year, PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP is scheduled to<br />

visit Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia, East Timor<br />

and Papua New Guinea. Specific locations within<br />

each country will be announced prior to arrival at<br />

that country.<br />

ADF Involvement<br />

• Three phases of 12 Australian Army Combat<br />

Engineers from 2rd Combat Engineer<br />

Regiment based in Brisbane.<br />

• Approximately 50 medical and dental<br />

personnel in three phases from all three<br />

services.<br />

• Heavy Landing Craft based at Cairns, HMA<br />

Ships Labuan, and Tarakan.<br />

• ADF Contingent Commander<br />


This year’s mission will be conducted from<br />

USNS Mercy . US Pacific Fleet sponsored<br />

PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP is an annual US Pacific<br />

Fleet sponsored training and readiness mission<br />

to perform humanitarian assistance in the US<br />

Pacific Command Area of Responsibility. The<br />

mission works by, with and through host and<br />

partner nations, non-governmental organisations<br />

and Government agencies.<br />

The PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP team will work with<br />

host nations on public health and preventive<br />

medicine, veterinary care, optometry and<br />

ophthalmology, dental, adult and paediatric<br />

medicine, medical subject matter expert<br />

exchange, immunizations, nutritional counselling,<br />

biomedical repair and medical environmental<br />

assessments.<br />

As requested by each host nation, PACIFIC<br />

PARTNERSHIP engineers will provide focused<br />

humanitarian civic assistance to include school<br />

and medical clinic repairs, water catchment<br />

system improvements and in Cambodia the<br />

establishment of three fresh water wells.<br />

Additionally, the engineering team will provide<br />

support to the medical and dental healthcare<br />

providers.<br />

PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP is truly a partnership with<br />

a multinational team and host nations working<br />

alongside each other to improve the lives of the<br />

people.<br />


Community Station<br />

To <strong>Emergency</strong><br />

Broadcast<br />

UGFM – Radio Murrindindi has become the<br />

first Australian community broadcaster to have<br />

official emergency broadcaster status.<br />

The station today signed a formal Memorandum<br />

of Understanding (MOU) for emergency<br />

broadcasting with the Victorian Government in<br />

a further bid to boost emergency messaging for<br />

communities in times of need.<br />

Minister for Police and <strong>Emergency</strong> Services Bob<br />

Cameron said this is one of a range of initiatives<br />

the government is undertaking to continue to<br />

improve the delivery of warnings to communities.<br />

“Under the new agreement, UGFM will break into<br />

programming to broadcast emergency warnings<br />

at the request of the emergency services,<br />

and move to continuous coverage in some<br />

circumstances,” Mr Cameron said.<br />

The Office of the <strong>Emergency</strong> Services<br />

Commissioner has written to all community<br />

broadcasters in Victoria, inviting them to enter<br />

into emergency broadcasting MOUs – subject to<br />

their capabilities. UGFM was the first community<br />

broadcaster to submit an application for official<br />

emergency broadcaster status.<br />

<strong>Emergency</strong> Services Commissioner Bruce<br />

Esplin said community broadcasters throughout<br />

Victoria have played an important role in keeping<br />

their communities informed about unfolding<br />

emergencies.<br />

the community by broadcasting emergency<br />

information to the community in February last year,<br />

and this agreement recognises and strengthens<br />

their work in emergency broadcasting,” Mr Esplin<br />

said.<br />

<strong>Emergency</strong> warnings are now distributed in<br />

Victoria via radio, TV, telephone and the Internet.<br />

The MOU is similar to the MOU in place between<br />

the emergency services, other commercial<br />

networks and ABC Local Radio in Victoria<br />

Bushfire Warnings & <strong>Emergency</strong> Life Threatening<br />

Information will be aired every 15 minutes.<br />

Bushfire Information & Incident Information will<br />

be aired every half hour or hourly depending on<br />

the threat level.<br />

All <strong>Emergency</strong> Warnings given will be relevant to<br />

UGFM’s listening area and surrounds.<br />

(Murrindindi, Mansfield, Mitchell, Strathbogie &<br />

Yarra Valley Shires)<br />

Remember in a life threatening situation or<br />

<strong>Emergency</strong> call 000 (if you see fire or flames).<br />

For information on a fire call the Victorian<br />

Bushfire Info Line on 1800 240 667<br />

In a Flood or Storm call 132500 for urgent SES<br />

assistance to life and property.<br />

“UGFM demonstrated their ability to help

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