Australia: "One-in-100-Year" Floods Force Evacuations

A "one-in-100-year" flood has struck the Australian outback forcing military-supported evacuations of area residents. The western region of Kimberley received a torrent of rain from former tropical cyclone Ellie — dropping a year's worth of rain in just a few days.

Australia: "One-in-100-Year" Floods Force Evacuations
Image credit: Sky News

Facts

  • A "one-in-100-year" flood has struck the Australian outback forcing military-supported evacuations of area residents. The western region of Kimberley received a torrent of rain from former tropical cyclone Ellie — dropping a year's worth of rain in just a few days.
  • During a visit to the area, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said that he witnessed wide-scale infrastructure damage and residents of the area who had been decimated.
  • Albanese also said that supporting the operation were eight Australian Defence Force aircraft, three fixed-wing aircraft, and five helicopters.
  • Authorities have expressed extreme concern for the residents of Fitzroy Crossing, a town of approximately 1.2K residents that have been cut off due to flooding on an access highway. The Fitzroy River could exceed a height of 15 meters (49 feet), shattering previous flood records.
  • On Sunday, more than 280 people had been evacuated from flooded areas. An evacuation center was established in Fitzroy Crossing but the facility lacks the necessary resources for handling up to 300 residents.
  • This month's flooding in the west comes as the eastern part of the country continues to recover from repeated flooding events over the last two years due to a multi-year La Niña weather pattern.

Sources: Sky, ITV, Voa, and Reuters.

Narratives

  • Establishment-critical narrative, as provided by The Guardian. In Australia, watching community after community flood and attempting to recover is a hard pill to swallow. The country lost a full decade from which they could have been preparing for the compounding catastrophes. Instead, the government finds itself woefully unprepared and with no idea where to begin preparing while in a perpetual state of disaster recovery. The old cliche of "when it rains, it pours" has been replaced with "when it rains, it floods" — not to mention searing wildfires that grip headlines worldwide.
  • Pro-establishment narrative, as provided by The New York Times. Globally Australia had been known for lagging behind other prominent nations with their inaction on climate change. Well, this is no more. The Australian government rallied to pass the Climate Change Bill of 2022, which monitors the country's progress toward national and international goals and mandates that the minister for climate change report progress to Parliament annually. Australia's new seriousness marks the beginning of a transition the whole world must take on for humanity's sustainability.
  • Cynical narrative, as provided by Axios. One can praise or blame the Australian government, but there is mounting evidence that these events are simply becoming "less natural" and tough for any administration to deal with. The land "down under" is on the climate front lines.