Townsville responds to Yasi-like storm



29 May 2014


A monster category five cyclone tore through Townsville today coupled with a large storm tide in a hypothetical event which put emergency management plans to the test.


Townsville leaders joined forces to take part in the event that was based around a Cyclone Yasi-type storm replicating the situation that could have unfolded if it had hit Townsville directly.


Townsville Local Disaster Management Chair Mayor Jenny Hill said the hypothetical event could have easily been a reality.


"Today we considered what would happen if Cyclone Yasi-like storm was to hit the city directly which is a very real possibility for Townsville," Cr Hill said.


"This event is an important part of the ongoing training we carry out as part of our cyclone preparedness program and it was a good opportunity to put our plans and procedures to the test ahead of the next real event.


"The event is just one element of the training that we do in Townsville to ensure we are continuingly refreshing and improving our emergency management procedures which is critical for us in North Queensland."


Green Cross Australia CEO, Mara Bun said, "Townsville is a jewel of North Queensland. Green Cross Australia has pulled together a fantastic group of Townsville leaders and Australia's best minds to have a conversation about how Townsville prepares for and builds back better from the next major event."


Local Government, Community Recovery and Resilience Minister David Crisafulli said Townsville knows what it takes to prepare for cyclones and wild weather.


"We have some of the best people in the business when it comes to dealing with natural disasters but we can always do better," Mr Crisafulli said.


"While personal responsibility should always begin at home, we must make sure that the lesson's learned from TC Yasi and others guide how we prepare the community for the next big weather event, and how we recover."


Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection Andrew Powell said, "This scenario planning event is important for all of Queensland as we look forward to the future and position ourselves to adapt for success."


"The Queensland Government is committed to protecting and enhancing the environment for future generations," said Mr Powell.


This project will involve business, emergency response, research and community leaders to cultivate shared responsibility for planning for such an event.


Paul Barclay, Producer of ABC Radio National Big Ideas, moderated the Cyclone Hypothetical, which will be showcased for national ABC radio and online audiences, and possibly ABC TV.


Panellist included Minister David Crisafulli, Mayor Jenny Hill, Major Glenn Fisher, Superintendent Glenn Kachel of the Queensland Police, Wayne Preedy from QFES, Andrew Johnson from Townsville Hospital, ABC's Alan Sunderland, Insurance expert Tony Coleman, BoM's Rob Webb, James Cook University cyclone expert David Henderson, Townsville Storm's Shane Williams and more.


Queensland Environment Minister Andrew Powell held a short reflection after the formal program.


The event featured a rotating panel of experts for five distinct chapters followed by an audience Q & A. The program will be used in future to train Queensland emergency response professionals.


The event builds on Green Cross Australia's online disaster preparedness tools including an animation of such an event developed by CSIRO, using assumptions guided by Townsville City Council, Bureau of Meteorology and James Cook University experts.


The Townsville Cyclone Hypothetical has been produced by Green Cross Australia and Townsville City Council with funding from the Queensland Government's "Get Ready Queensland" program.


Green Cross Australia encourages people to follow along on Twitter via @GreenCrossAus using #tvilleready.



Green Cross Australia is a not for profit that works with respected business, research, community and government partners to deliver world-class digital programs that advance our vision for a secure and sustainable future. The programs are motivated by our understanding of a resource-constrained, warming planet and our belief that this challenge presents opportunities for a bright future.


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