Friday, February 11, 2011

Post Yasi De-brief

Quite a few interesting points to make on the wash-up with regards to this monster cyclone. It is quite amazing how many people went into such a panic that they flew or drove out of Townsville at great personal expense, on Wednesday (3/2/11) at which point we were ruled out of both very destructive winds and the worst of the tidal surges. Fear is contagious, and most of my time on Wednesday was spent calming friends and family down and busting the various rumours circling around - like these Some of the major problem was that uncertainty of where the cyclone was going to land as of Monday and early Tuesday was passed on by word of mouth, and gave the wholly wrong impression to a lot of people that Armageddon in Townsville was still possible when they were making decisions early Wednesday. This was contradicted by the facts, and it is a tribute to Anna Bligh and her team that each press conference had the utmost up to date facts and correct specific instructions to everyone concerned. It appears several important lessons were learned from each recent cyclone to the effect that I couldn't fault the "official" response in any way whatsoever.

The aftermath response is a little bit the other way. The same sort of people that had their families unnecessarily huddled inside wardrobes overnight, were out there the next day thinking it had been way overblown. Bitter disappointment and resentment about power being out for so long gave way to surprise about how much monetary assistance would come their way. So much money has been doled out by Centrelink that Townsville is under a stimulus induced spending spree. One-offs like disaster relief have little of the economic ill-effects of other kinds of government spending, as the money filters back as taxes from those companies that did well servicing peoples needs in this area. The net result might even be more growth for Australia.


Elena said...

Very interesting. Yes, that is the sort of thing a spambot would say, but I can't add much not having been there! It has been interesting to hear responsible people in charge saying the sort of thing about disaster relief benefits that they ought to have been saying about every sort of government benefit, always: "Don't collect it if you don't need it."

Off topic on projected cuts in public service jobs in Tasmania: not in any way a tragedy at a time of full employment. Under such conditions not every project that creates jobs is necessarily good, and conversely... talented Tasmanian ex-public servants will get good jobs elsewhere, and no-hopers will be less expensive for the taxpayer to support on the dole.

Elena said...

Hmm, actually I'm not Elena... she seems to have been using my computer most recently :P

Marco said...

Having Anthony then Yasi in quick succession, everybody is a bit on edge. People are jumping at shadows with rumours of a new cyclone heading our way every time a Low develops near Fiji. For the moment these are just either rumours or the tiniest of probabilities of danger. The biggest danger is panic, and the rest of La Nina. Floods, storms and cyclones are still likely before May, and places already hit are ready with their knee-jerk reactions, and places not hit yet are still a little complacent.