Preparing for flooding & cyclones in the time of COVID-19

Click to play Members from Coast Guard Maritime Safety and Security Teams New Orleans, and MSST Kings Bay, conduct training in preparation for response operations during Hurricane Laura, near Mobile, Alabama, August 25, 2020

Australia is now on ‘La Niña watch’ status, meaning there is an increased likelihood of flooding and cyclones in the upcoming regular cyclone season. The continuing impacts of climate change also means these weather events may be more intense than in past years.

This year, COVID-19 restrictions are also an additional factor that will impact on flood and cyclone preparedness, response and recovery.

In this event, we heard from climate scientists and emergency services practitioners about the prospects of a La Niña season with increased flood risk, along with the practical difficulties COVID-19 imposes on emergency service, other agencies, and communities.

The presentations were followed by breakout room sessions, for discussion and consultation with the audience on either operations or communications and community engagement. 

Presentation slides - 

Dr Steven Crimp: Rainfall Outlook for 2020/21

Rosemary Hegner: Capability, ERM and COVID

Jo Killick: Recovery - A Queensland Experience


Event programme

9:30am - Event begins. Acknowledgement of country, introduction of the event and individual speakers.

9:35am - Short opening statements and presentations from all speakers.

10am - Question and Answer session with the audience.

10:15am - Those who have registered to do so will be allocated into breakout rooms for discussion and consultation.

10:35am - Everyone rejoins for feedback summaries from the breakout room discussions.

10:55am - Closing statements and overview of what will follow.

11am - Event concludes.



Georgeina Whelan - ACT Emergency Services Agency Commissioner


Speakers (in alphabetical order)

Daniel Austin - Deputy Commissioner, Operations, NSW State Emergency Services

Jo Killick - General Manager, Queensland Reconstruction Authority

Rosemary Hegner - Director, Capability and Planning, Resilience NSW

Dr Steven Crimp - Climate Applications Scientist, The Australian National University


Image credit: Coast Guard News / Flickr

This event has been organised by the Climate Change Institute and the Disaster Risk Science Institute at The Australian National University, and is co-hosted with AFAC, the National Council for Fire and Emergency Services.

The logos for The Australian National University, Queensland Government, and AFAC respectively.