Australia — A new report of potential emergencies in Victoria has revealed horror scenarios including earthquake, bushfires, floods and hazardous spills.
The Emergency Risks in Victoria report by the state government has for the first time outlined, assessed and published Victoria’s key emergency threats.
It does not attempt to predict when a disaster may strike, but looks at the impact of emergencies on people, infrastructure, public administration, the economy and environment and the state’s ability to cope with the events.
“The analysis tells us that our highest priority emergency risks are bushfire, flood and pandemic influenza. Following these are a group of risks that are technological in origin, such as transport infrastructure emergency, mine failure (specifically coal mines supporting electricity generation), marine pollution and electricity supply disruption,” the report notes.
There has been no shortage of emergencies in Victoria in recent years including, bushfires, heatwaves, floods, and coal mine fires.
The new report outlines more than a dozen potential emergencies including storms, fuel shortages, electricity supply disruption and marine pollution.
There is an increasing likelihood of events like insect pest outbreak, plant disease epidemic and bushfires and events that pose the greatest risk (likelihood + consequence) are bushfire, flood, transport infrastructure emergency, electricity disruption and pandemic influenza.
Earthquakes are rated as having a low likelihood and severe consequence.
Another major emergency identified in the report is a heatwave.
“Heatwaves are considered to be the silent killer of extreme weather events and are the leading cause of weather related deaths in Australia,” the report notes.
“It is expected that climate change will increase the frequency and intensity of heatwave in Victoria.
“The average annual number of days above 35 degrees centigrade is likely to increase from nine days currently experience in Melbourne to 11-13 days per year in 2030 and 15-26 days by 2070 on current trends,” the report said.
Climate change is also cited as leading to more frequent severe storms.
Police and Emergency Services Minister Kim Wells said bushfires was the emergency he was most worried about.
“For me it’s fire. It is the one issue that you brace yourself for each fire season not matter which part of politics you are in because we have seen the horrible loss of life,” he said.
“That is the one danger, the one issue that really bothers me and that is why we put some much time and effort in to make sure we are really well and truly planned,” he said.
The report does not include terrorism attacks, which fall under national arrangements.
The Emergency Risks in Victoria report will be updated every few years.