Monday, January 09, 2017

Blaming Nature for Disasters can blind us to our role

It will be twenty years this year since the many deaths from 2 building failures at Thredbo created Australia's biggest Coronial enquiry. 
The photo shows the now empty site from the Alpine way above the 2 buildings involved. I wrote a suggested and finally proved correct basis for the tragedy to that Coronial enquiry. 
My work is in remote sensing ( predictions based on geology soils slopes, landscapes runoff, infiltration and vegetation from maps/ photos ;
As its very hard to get real " landslides" in weathered granite ( which this was ) I just couldn't see how the slope failure would happen without negligence of some kind. I knew many examples of both " "natural "and man made "slope failures" ( the proper term)
In 1997 when it happened, I had been looking after the prediction and remediation of landslides in the biggest landslide area in Australia.. You win some you lose some .
While many want to call it Australia's biggest natural disaster ( and blame nature not ourselves? ) , I wrote in 1997 that it was probably an avoidable planning disaster - which is what it proved to be .
Even today, there is still a high risk of slope failures simply because we don't plan the use of soils and water runoff very well.

 Clearly there are more disasters not only waiting to happen , but people and politicians unwilling to admit their role in playing wolf

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