Risk Frontiers’ PhD student takes out second prize

Risk Frontiers’ PhD student, Avianto Amri, takes out second prize for a poster to develop a household preparedness plan at the First Innovation in Flood Resilience Conference held recently in Jakarta.

The conference aimed at matching local innovators to potential funders and other partners to scale up ideas and solutions in flood management.


Below is a report from the IFRC website.

“Innovators take to the stage with ideas for building community resilience towards flooding and other disasters

By Ika Koeck, IFRC

From floating structures to sustainable health insurance for flood-affected communities, the First Innovation in Flood Resilience Conference, held recently in Jakarta, saw the presentation of innovative ideas and projects to improve disaster management and build community resilience towards flooding.

The two-day conference was a collaboration between the Indonesian Red Cross Society, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and Zurich Insurance, to match local grassroots innovators to potential funders and other partners to scale up ideas and solutions in flood management. Other key partners to the conference included Pulse Lab Jakarta, the Humanitarian Leadership Academy and Hamburg University of Technology.

The Indonesian Civil Society has already been developing their own innovative solutions to improve flood response within the country. However, most innovators struggle to gain the recognition and support needed to take their ideas forward.

Giorgio Ferrario, Head of Delegation for the IFRC Country Cluster Support Team in Indonesia and Timor-Leste, said that a joint effort between private sectors, academic institutions and humanitarian organisations is key to addressing community priorities in a sustainable and effective way.

“We are consciously working in new and innovative ways with non-traditional partners, as the challenges we face with recurring disasters continue to grow in unprecedented ways,” said Ferrario.

The highlight of the conference was when the innovators took to the stage during An Ideas Pitch session to narrate their ideas and what motivated them to seek a change in their own communities before a panel of judges.

Nine promising local inventive and original solutions from different organisations including Risk Frontiers, Starside, Mallsampah.com and Garbage Clinical Insurance took part in the competition. The winners of the session, Mallsampah.com and two other innovative ideas from Risk Frontiers and Telaga, will receive grants to keep developing their innovations.

“Since waste management is a major issue in our village, we decided to create a recycling system where people can exchange their waste for medical services,” explained the creators from Garbage Clinical Insurance.  “Everyone should have access to health insurance.”

Wirahadi Suryana, the Director of Corporate and Commercial in Zurich Insurance Indonesia said that the company has been working together with the Red Cross since 2013, focusing on building community resilience before, during and after disasters.

In line with the conference, Zurich Insurance also highlighted their mobile application for flood response. “Our team has developed a mobile app called Z-Alert, which can be downloaded for free in the AppStore and Google Play. Users will be able to locate disasters around them, ranging from floods, traffic accidents and even power outages,” said Suryana.”

The June 2016 Australian East Coast Low: Importance of Wave Direction for Coastal Erosion Assessment

by Thomas R. Mortlock, Ian D. Goodwin, John K. McAneney and Kevin Roche.

In June 2016, an unusual East Coast Low storm affected some 2000 km of the eastern
seaboard of Australia bringing heavy rain, strong winds and powerful wave conditions. While wave
heights offshore of Sydney were not exceptional, nearshore wave conditions were such that
beaches experienced some of the worst erosion in 40 years. Hydrodynamic modelling of wave
and current behaviour as well as contemporaneous sand transport shows the east to north-east
storm wave direction to be the major determinant of erosion magnitude. This arises because of
reduced energy attenuation across the continental shelf and the focussing of wave energy on coastal sections not equilibrated with such wave exposure under the prevailing south-easterly wave climate. Narrabeen–Collaroy, a well-known erosion hot spot on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, is shown to be particularly vulnerable to storms from this direction because the destructive erosion potential is amplified by the influence of the local embayment geometry. We demonstrate the magnified erosion response that occurs when there is bi-directionality between an extreme wave event and preceding modal conditions and the importance of considering wave direction in extreme value analyses.

Click on the link to read entire article:  http://www.mdpi.com/2073-4441/9/2/121


Estimating building vulnerability to volcanic ash fall for insurance and other purposes

This paper by R. J. Blong, P. Grasso, S. F. Jenkins, C. R. Magill, T. M. Wilson, K. McMullan and J. Kandlbauer was published on 26th January 2017 in the Journal of Applied Volcanology.


Volcanic ash falls are one of the most widespread and frequent volcanic hazards, and are produced by all explosive volcanic eruptions. Ash falls are arguably the most disruptive volcanic hazard because of their ability to affect large areas and to impact a wide range of assets, even at relatively small thicknesses. From an insurance perspective, the most valuable insured assets are buildings. Ash fall vulnerability curves or functions, which relate the magnitude of ash fall to likely damage, are the most developed for buildings, although there have been important recent advances for agriculture and infrastructure.  Read more

Scientists expect sand flow on East Coast to slow

The following news pieces have been picked up by various sources from a paper published late last year in the Journal of Geophysical Research, Oceans titled “Tropical and extratropical-origin storm wave types and their influence on the East Australian longshore sand transport system under a changing climate” by Ian Goodwin, Thomas Mortlock and Stuart Browning. Thomas Mortlock is a member of the Risk Frontiers’ team and Ian Goodwin and Stuart Browning are members of the Marine Climate Risk Group at Macquarie University.  Click here to read entire article.

Aerial view of Byron Bay. Source: Swellnet Analysis

Scientists expect sand flow on East Coast to slow. Swellnet Analysis. https://www.swellnet.com/news/swellnet-analysis/2016/07/27/scientists-expect-sand-flow-east-coast-slow

Why Qld beaches will lose their sand to NSW. The Chronicle. http://www.thechronicle.com.au/news/why-qld-beaches-will-lose-their-sand-nsw/3084034/#/0

Gold Coast at threat of severe erosion and property damage, research shows. Gold Coast Bulletin. http://www.goldcoastbulletin.com.au/lifestyle/beaches-and-fishing/gold-coast-at-threat-of-severe-erosion-and-property-damage-research-shows/news-story/46326698783e430830f4e668b0086191

Stationarity of major flood frequencies and heights on the Ba River, Fiji, over a 122-year record

Paper by John McAneney, Robin van den Honert and Stephen Yeo published in International Journal of Climatology.

ABSTRACT: The economic impact of natural disasters on developing economies can be severe with the recovery diverting scarce funds that might otherwise be targeted at development projects and stimulating the need for international aid. In view of the likely sensitivity of low-lying Pacific Islands to anticipated changes in climate, a 122-year record of major flooding depths at the Rarawai Sugar Mill on the Ba River in the northwest of the Fijian Island of Viti Levu is analysed. Reconstructed largely from archived correspondence of the Colonial Sugar Refining Company, the time series comprises simple measurements of height above the Mill floor. It exhibits no statistically significant trends in either frequency or flood heights, once the latter have been adjusted for average relative sea-level rise. This is despite persistent warming of air temperatures as characterized in other studies. There is a strong dependence of frequency (but not magnitude) upon El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phase, with many more floods in La Niña phases. The analysis of this long-term data series illustrates the difficulty of detecting a global climate change signal from hazard data, even given a consistent measurement methodology (cf HURDAT2 record of North Atlantic hurricanes) and warns of the strong dependence of any statistical significance upon choices of start and end dates of the analysis.

Click here to read entire paper.

Earthquake Scenario, Melbourne, Mw 5.5, 6.0 & 7.0

Report by Dr Valentina Koschatzky, Dr James O’Brien, Prof. Paul Somerville for Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC. 

Despite its low seismic activity, Australia is more vulnerable to earthquakes than one would expect due to the concentration of population and the large stock of buildings which are structurally unable to withstand even moderate seismic shaking. This was demonstrated by the 1989 M5.6 Newcastle earthquake, one of the costliest natural disasters in Australia, despite its low magnitude. One question elicited by these circumstances is: what would happen if one of Australia’s main cities were hit by an earthquake similar to the Newcastle earthquake? An example of a near miss is the 1954 M5.6 Adelaide earthquake, whose epicentre, far from developed areas at the time, would lie in densely developed areas were it to occur today. Providing realistic estimates for natural disaster scenarios is essential for emergency managers. A systematic approach to developing such scenarios can reveal blind spots and vulnerabilities in planning. Following the Adelaide Scenario delivered in 2015 we now look into a series of realistic disaster earthquake scenarios for the city of Melbourne.

click here to read entire report

Australia’s unique approach to understanding natural disaster risks

Article by Kevin Roche published in Asia Pacific Fire,  January 5, 2017. 

Five of Australia’s six most costly natural hazard events have come from different perils: a tropical cyclone, an earthquake, a flood, bushfire and a convective storm. Over the last 20 years, a unique approach to understanding these risks has developed in Australia through a close relationship between the insurance and academic sectors. And by doing so Australia has been at the cutting edge in applying advances in technology and science to the benefit of the broader community. Here we explore a little of this history and explain how it has helped communities and emergency services better manage the risks they face.

Click here to read entire article.

Researchers are studying the effects on wave direction as the tropics spread south

Thomas Mortlock is interviewed for this article in Forge Magazine.

Macquarie University at forefront of marine science.

Macquarie University’s pioneering research in marine science is helping planning authorities and coastal communities to better understand the threat of storm-related beach erosion.

The university’s Marine Climate Risk Group is fusing paleoclimatology (the study of past climates) with cutting-edge coastal modelling techniques to understand how the predicted southward expansion of the tropics will affect storm activity, wave patterns and sand movement.

The Marine Climate Risk Group is led by Associate Professor Ian Goodwin, and its research is now part of Macquarie University’s Marine Research Centre (MQ Marine).  Established in July 2015, MQ Marine is driving multidisciplinary research on oceans and marine ecosystems, and is adding to Macquarie University’s outstanding global reputation in marine science.

Click here to read entire article.