Australia’s emergency relief agencies are preparing for the possibility of more floods before the end of the year.
The Bureau of Meteorology is predicting wetter weather in parts of eastern Australia in the coming months, and a rare third consecutive La Niña weather is also likely later this year.
The bureau warns that wet soil and higher water levels in dams and other watersheds left over from recent downpours will increase the likelihood of future floods.
The heads of the meteorological bureau and two federal disaster relief agencies gathered in Canberra on Thursday following a meeting of the country’s emergency ministers.
Emergency Management Australia CEO Joe Buffone said the agency is preparing for more frequent and intense weather events exacerbated by the ongoing pandemic.
“We saw communities that were flooded several times, we saw how some of the flooded communities were affected by fire,” he said.
“So the whole system is under stress to some extent. We absolutely want to be ahead of this to be as prepared as possible.
“The main thing is to plan for the worst and hope for the best.”
This year, successive floods have already hit parts of eastern Australia hard, including the recent flooding in Sydney, as well as a devastating February-March event in northern New South Wales and southern Queensland.
Earlier this month, the Albanian government announced that the Australian Emergency Management Agency would be merged with the National Resilience and Recovery Agency to form a new entity, due to start on September 1st.
Mr Buffone said the shake-up will include more emphasis on climate change preparedness.
He said that in the past, 97% of disaster funds went to disaster recovery, but the new agency will focus more on disaster mitigation strategies.
Bureau of Meteorology Executive Director Andrew Johnson said it was difficult to pinpoint individual climate change events, but scientists knew the severity of weather events around the world was increasing.
He said Australia’s fire season and bushfire intensity are increasing, while other parts of the country are experiencing long-term climate-related drought effects.
Originally published as Australia’s disaster relief agencies prepare for new weather emergencies