Review into Queensland flood crisis reveals emergency warnings were too slow
Posted On May 10, 2022
An independent review into Queensland’s flood crisis this year revealed emergency alerts took too long to reach vulnerable residents.
The review, led by ex-governor of Queensland Paul de Jersey investigated the government’s response to flooding in south-east Queensland, which destroyed 23,000 homes and killed 13 people this year.
Brisbane received 80 per cent of its annual rainfall in just three days over February, with several surrounding regions also devastated by floods.
“I’ve reached the view this was a worst case scenario for Brisbane and it’s people,” de Jersey said.
“In the end I’m very proud of the people of Brisbane who reacted to this event and to the council and its staff for the way they dealt with it responsibly with great dedication.”
Brisbane’s Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner said 37 recommendations had been made during the review to deal with future flooding catastrophes and all would be implemented.
Of primary concern was the implementation of mobile emergency alert systems, which faced “unreasonable delays” in notifying Brisbane’s 1.2 million affected residents.
“This is a national system but also implemented by state governments around Australia,” Schrinner said.
“We were concerned with the unreasonable delays in information getting out and that is something I believe must be addressed before the next storm system comes our way.
“The early alert system is absolutely critical.”
He added more people needed to be registered for the voluntary alert system, with only 14 per cent of Brisbane residents signed up to the warnings.
He added the situation on the ground was rapidly changing, with emergency warnings from the Bureau of Meteorology escalating quickly due to unpredictable conditions.
“The situation moved incredibly quickly, we did our absolute best to respond quickly but the information provided by the Bureau (BoM) was changing and the responses on the ground were changing.”
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“Predictions on the level of rainfall we got from the Bureau were undercooked.
“It was the most rain ever recorded in just a few days in Brisbane’s history.”
De Jersey said a crucial takeaway was the response of residents and their willingness to help their neighbours, which formed the bulk of flood recovery across the south-east.
“One feature which emerges very strongly was the spontaneous outpouring of support amongst the community- neighbours helping neighbours.”