In 2017, Lismore was hit by the most damaging floods in more than 40 years off the back of Cyclone Debbie. There have been too many floods in the Northern Rivers to feel we are safe from more to come.
Looking to the future, Southern Cross University has just unveiled plans to create a new national institute to assist flood-prone communities and build their resilience.
The National Institute for Flood Resilience will be headquartered at the University’s Lismore campus, which lies at the centre of the most active flood-plain in Australia outside the tropics.
The National Institute will apply a systems approach to flood risk, response and mitigation through critical national and international partnerships.
The National Institute will address exactly the sort of crucial issues being presented by vulnerable flood affected communities across Australia: how to plan, predict and respond to one of nature’s most savage events.
Nearly 80 per cent of all natural disasters in the world since 1970 have been flood-related.
‘The new Flood Resilience Institute will build on the existing investment and work undertaken over recent years by Southern Cross University, said Vice Chancellor Adam Shoemaker.
‘Specifically, this strengthens dramatically the establishment in 2017 of the Southern Cross Centre for Flood Research; and the two decade-long operation here on campus of the emergency evacuation centre for households and businesses in the Lismore region.’
The National Institute for Flood Resilience will evaluate and test new approaches to increasing flood resilience across all sectors of the regional environment – social, economic, ecological and cultural – within flood-affected communities in Australia, and overseas.
‘This region is a living laboratory for flood research and flood preparedness. This new Institute will undertake work of national and international significance, drawing on a diverse range of fields from environmental science, business, law, engineering, coastal waters, education and health,’ said Professor Shoemaker.