By Australian Institute for Disaster Resilience
In late November 2010, rain began falling in Queensland. When Tropical Cyclone Tasha met an extreme La Niña weather pattern, enough water to fill three million Olympic swimming pools rained down on Queensland. Dams and rivers broke their banks and swamped an area the size of France and Germany combined; and Australia suffered one of its most serious disasters in recorded history. The floods caused devastating loss of lives and are estimated to have shaved $40 billion dollars off the Australian economy. Livestock were killed and roads were cut off, preventing the export of coal, beef and cotton. So many crops were damaged that there was a global wheat shortage, affecting people and prices as far as Russia and the US.
The volunteer response was also historic: an army of more than 55,000 people registered to help, filling more than 300,000 sandbags to hold back the deluge. After the waters receded, they put on gumboots and cleaned up more than 400,000 tonnes of waste, pulling the state out of the mud.
Learn more at the Australian Disaster Resilience Knowledge Hub: www.knowledge.aidr.org.au