There is no doubt
that Australia is better prepared and organised that most countries to
deal with such a crisis, both by temperament and capability, but this
will stretch them economically and industrially as well.
I have to say I was
struck by a remark made by an Australian spokesperson from the affected
region on the BBC News this morning. We can rebuild the houses and the
infrastructure, he said, but the human loss is tragic and
irreplaceable. I realise some people may be surprised at what I have to
say, but while this may be the case to a degree in Australia, in much
of the world both developed and under-developed, the reverse is the
When the homes,
businesses and infrastructure and agriculture of a country are
destroyed but nearly all the people who depend upon them are left,
there is a greater problem than the other way around, a fact that has
been proven beyond doubt in many recent instances where the resulting
problems are so far insoluble. People are designed to last very much
less long than buildings and are replaced continuously. We expend
millions in national treasure to maintain buildings of value and merit,
from the Colosseum and St Peters in Rome to the stately homes of Europe
and America built in more recent centuries, not to mention the great
Cathedrals, the City of Venice, the palaces of Russia and the vital
subway systems of many a great metropolis. People are by definition
replacable and a good thing too or we would be stuck with them for far
too long past their use-by-date. It is an emotional wrench when we lose
them in their youth, prematurely, that much I will concede, but try
replacing the pyramids, or rebuilding the sewers of London or
installing a new gas, electric or water system in a modern connurbation
and you will get the point. The societies of our great world cities are
In World War II,
there was an extensive destruction of buildings and infrastructure. The
reconstruction, which took many decades and relative
financial aide beyond our wildest dreams today, also took human and
material resources we would now have a problem mustering, not for numerical lack
of humans but for a surplus of humans unadapted and unskilled for the
task and at the same time unadapted for self-sustaining survival, being
these days dependent on the sophisticated centralised production and
distribution systems we have developed in our boastful insistance on
proving Malthus wrong, and to which we are now in hock.
fortunately, less proportionately in hock than other countries when
it comes to realistic notions of survival but I still maintain the
human losses, sad though they may be, are the least of their worries
JANUARY 14th 2011
Scientists are unclear as to any linkage with the Australian and Brazilian floods. The circumstances are notably different with a massive amoint of rain falling in a very short time.
Rescuers are trying to find survivors in cut-off areas of south-eastern Brazil hit by deadly floods that have left at least 480 people dead.
FEBRUARY 1st 2011
Now what? A typhoon (cyclone, as they call it there) on the scale of Hurricane Katrina is headed for Oz.
FEBRUARY 3rd 2011
There is happiness that this cyclone has caused no deaths, due to both luck and excellent organisation. But the damage is extensive.