Helping Australia's neighbours better prepare for natural disasters

31 July 2012

Australian geoscientists are working with developing countries in the highly disaster prone Asia-Pacific region to pass on skills and techniques that will help to create safer communities.

Researchers from Geoscience Australia will teach 40 representatives from 13 developing nations to use a range of hazard and risk modelling tools that will enable them to better prepare for, and respond to natural disasters affecting their communities.

As part of a technical workshop being held in Brisbane this week in the lead up to the International Geological Congress, participants will learn skills required to develop hazard maps and impact scenarios for a range of natural hazards including earthquakes, tsunami, volcanoes and tropical cyclones.

Dr John Schneider, Geoscience Australia’s International Group Leader, said “effective disaster risk reduction is based on developing a thorough understanding of the underlying risk which is aided by the creation of hazard and risk models”.

Participants will also learn how these tools can be applied for emergency management purposes such as evacuation or land-use planning. The tools have been developed by Geoscience Australia and their partners, and applied during projects undertaken in Australia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and the Philippines enabling stakeholders to implement appropriate disaster planning, preparation, response and recovery mechanisms.

“We have found that by working in collaboration with government partners we can improve their capacity to assess natural hazard risk. Furthermore, by involving local communities in developing risk mitigation strategies, we can also draw upon historical knowledge which leads to better decision making and ultimately more resilient communities,” Dr Schneider said.

The workshop is part of a broader program of work being undertaken by Geoscience Australia, in collaboration with the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), to reduce natural hazard risk in the Asia-Pacific region through the enhancement of hazard and risk analysis capacity of scientists and officials from our partner countries.

For more information or to arrange interviews, please contact: Geoscience Australia 24 hour Media Hotline 1800 882 035

Topic contact: Last updated: October 4, 2013