Former emergency chiefs: Climate change pushing flood events to unprecedented extremes
FORMER EMERGENCY CHIEFS have warned that climate change is worsening extreme rainfall and flood events such as the current situation in NSW and QLD, putting immense pressure on emergency response services and communities.
“In my 40-year career I have never seen rainfall and flooding as widespread as the events occurring across much of NSW and QLD,” said Jim Smith, former acting Commissioner, NSW State Emergency Services and Emergency Leaders for Climate Action (ELCA) member.
“Climate change is increasing the intensity and severity of extreme rainfall and flood events, and we are seeing the devastating consequences of this on people’s safety, homes, and livelihoods,” he said.
“It has long been the norm for states to help each other by sending personnel and resources across borders during emergencies, but the simultaneous extreme flooding in NSW and QLD shows how climate change threatens this practice,” said Mr Smith.
“Many flood-affected communities also suffered during the climate change-fuelled Black Summer bushfires. People who are waiting to get back into their homes now have their makeshift housing damaged by flood waters,” said Mr Smith.
Major General (Retd) Peter Dunn, former Commissioner, ACT Emergency Services Authority, added: “The Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements outlined 80 recommendations to improve Australia’s disaster response and preparedness, but the Federal Government has shown resistance at fully accepting and implementing all 80 of the recommendations.”
“Australians are on the frontline of back-to-back extreme weather events fuelled by climate change, and cannot afford the growing costs of inaction,” said Mr Dunn.
“It’s time for the Federal Government to stop ignoring the evidence about the threat climate change poses to Australia. We need urgent action on getting to net zero emissions well before 2040, and ensuring that communities and emergency services are adequately resourced to cope with the worsening climate threat,” said Mr Dunn.