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Lessons from Australia’s one-in-a-1,000-year event

The recent floods in Queensland and New South Wales have taken a heavy toll on Australia. However, amidst the losses, valuable lessons can be learned as well: In several communities, flood-mitigation paid off. HDI Global’s Mr Stefan Feldmann reflects on how we live with our changing environment.
In March 2022, a severe weather system combined with La Niña brought so much rain to the north-east of Australia that Brisbane, the state capital of Queensland, received 80% of its annual rainfall in just three days. As rivers overflowed, over 15,000 houses flooded. The state was hit by similar severe flooding in 2011.
As the unpredictable storm stretched south, Lismore, a town in northern New South Wales, was flooded. The local river reached water levels over 14 metres, more than two metres higher than the previous peak in 1954. With little warning, hundreds of people were evacuated, abandoning lifelong belongings. Further south, flooding caused damage and chaos in Sydney. Tragically, 22 people have died directly from the recent floods. The emotional toll for survivors is great and recovering from the loss of homes, businesses and personal possessions will take years.
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