The recent flooding in Tasmania has proven to be one of the worst storms the state has seen in recent decades. The damage bill has already hit over $20 million dollars and insurance claims are continuing to mount.
But financial strain isn’t the only thing locals need to be concerned about. There are numerous health concerns associated with flooding events like these that can be just as devastating for local communities.
For example, residents directly impacted by the Brisbane flooding in 2011 reported poorer physical and mental health and these issues are often forgotten when estimating economic costs. The Queensland floods saw health and social costs reach $7.4 billion, which took out a major chunk of the total damage bill.
And now that climate change is already altering the nature of natural disasters, we can only expect scenarios like this to get worse.
The World Health Assembly will address the health impacts of climate change this month, indicating that more evidence-based policy and advocacy is urgently needed.
Researchers from The University of Sydney Human Health and Social Impacts Node are working alongside policy makers and industry in developing adaptation programs that seek to protect and promote health, in the face of a changing climate.
Meanwhile, the Climate and Health Alliance (CAHA) has developed a national strategy framework, which provides a roadmap for the Commonwealth government to take leadership in protecting the health and well-being of Australian communities in the face of climate change.
What we now need is more effective leadership and governance across the nation in order for Australia to meet its obligations in protecting both the environment and our citizens’ health.