What was the Australian government's response to Cyclone Yasi?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that the Australian government's response to Cyclone Yasi can be demonstrated in the fact that there was only one fatality associated with the cyclone and that was an indirect fatality.  The government's response to the Cyclone was impressive.  There was a full out information blitz to alert people to leave the areas that were projected to being in the path of the cyclone. Government officials did not care about public perception and they did not seem afraid to clearly state the reality that the storm was dangerous and the public needed to be on alert:

[Premier] Bligh said people must take the opportunity on Tuesday to stock up on food and other supplies, with a real risk many could be without power for three to five days.   "I think many people will be very frightened by what they're hearing," she said...  "I don't want to frighten people, or panic them, but all the information I'm getting is that we are facing a potentially very deadly event... we have to make sure everybody knows what's in front of them so they can prepare themselves."

Government rescuers made very clear to the public that once the storm hits, they will be unable to outreach to anyone for at least 24 hours due to the intense nature of the cyclone.  In conjunction with businesses, government efforts were geared towards adding additional flights to evacuate people as well as ensuring that people in all areas, in particular low- lying areas, had adequate time to evacuate.  There was a coordinated government response in presuming the disastrous level of the storm.  The government did not hedge bets with their projections, expecting the worst and willing to be proven wrong.  In contrast to other agencies which sometimes act in trying to underestimate natural disasters to not generate any sort of negative press, the Australian government's response was to ratchet up intensity to ensure that all citizens were adequately prepared.  The fact that there were no direct fatalities in the storm has to be seen as a result of government response to one of the worst storm on record in Australian History.

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