The recent devastation in Christchurch in has brought home the terrible destruction of earthquakes. Disasters such as the massive earthquake that hit Haiti also received worldwide attention, though it claimed many more lives the Christchurch quake, the Christchurch event is significant for Australians due to its proximity and the similarity of the country. Australia and New Zealand have a very close relationship in many respects.
While New Zealand is known for being located along a fault line, Australia is on the other hand being in the middle of a tectonic plate is perceived to have a much lower risk, however devastating earthquakes have and inevitably will also strike Australia, and intracontinental earthquakes of a massive magnitude have happened elsewhere. The 1989 Newcastle earthquake was a disaster in recent memory which claimed many lives and caused extensive damage and required the coordination of numerous agencies. Older building codes rarely provisioned for earthquakes in Australia, yet Christchurch has shown that even strong building codes cannot fully mitigate the damage of a powerful quake. So any major earthquake in Australia could just as likely cause extensive damage to buildings and loss of life. Even if such quakes only occured once every hundred years the fact that it could happen to any major city or town with similar risk means that government agencies would be irresponsible not to have it somewhere on their risk management radar.
Emerging technology in emergency management means advances in preparation and response for earthquakes. Social media, for example also played a large role in the Christchurch earthquake. Simulated tests and plans show that Datalink's MECC Central emergency management software will perform in the event of a major Australian earthquake just as it has shown flexibility during bushfires, floods and other events.
A History of Earthquakes in Australia
As a case in point, here is a list of earthquakes in Australia that have caused damage or loss of life (source Wikipedia).
|1883||Gayndah, Queensland||5.9||Caused major damage in the Gayndah region.|
|1886||Yass, New South Wales/ACT||5.5||Damage caused in Yass, felt strongly in Queanbeyan.|
|1897||Beachport - Robe, South Australia||6.5||Several serious and numerous minor injuries. Severe damage to homes, buildings, power lines, and railways.|
|1918||Bundaberg - Rockhampton, Queensland||6||Caused "serious damage" to Rockhampton, Bundaberg andGladstone.|
|1925||Boolaroo, New South Wales||5.3||Damage and panic in Hunter Street (particularly at the Theatre Royal).|
|1934||Gunning, New South Wales||5.6||Damaged a majority of the buildings in Gunning.|
|1935||Gayndah, Queensland||5.4||One fatality. Caused considerable damage to the town of Gayndah.|
|1941||Meeberrie, Western Australia||7.2||Severe shaking, burst water tanks and cracked ground at Meeberrie homestead. Minor damage reported in Perth, 500 kilometres (311 mi) away.|
|1949||Dalton and Gunning, New South Wales||5.5||Significant damage in Dalton and Gunning, minor cracks in some buildings in Canberra.|
|1954||Adelaide, South Australia||5.5||Damage totaling $90 million|
|1961||Robertson and Bowral, New South Wales||5.6||Damage totaling $4.1 million|
|1968||Meckering, Western Australia||6.9||20 injuries, no deaths. 60 buildings destroyed. Minor damage in Perth. Total damage $5 million.|
|1973||Picton, New South Wales||5.6||Damage totaling $2.8 million|
|1979||Cadoux, Western Australia||6.1||25 buildings in Cadoux were damaged. Damage cost $3.8 million.|
|1986||Marryat Creek, Northern Territory||5.9||Damage was minor, cracked walls observed in DeRose Hill andVictory Downs stations.|
|1988||Tennant Creek, Northern Territory||6.3 - 6.7||Two buildings and 3 other structures damaged, damage caused to natural gas pipeline. Total damage $2.5 million.|
|1989||Uluru, Northern Territory||5.7||Minor damage was reported at Yulara resort|
|1989||Newcastle, New South Wales||5.6||13 fatalities, 160 people hospitalised, 300,000 people affected. 50,000 homes damaged, 300 buildings demolished. Damage estimated at $4 billion.|
|1994||Banda Sea||6.8||No injuries, 20 buildings damaged, minor damage to old homes, all in Darwin.|
|1994||Ellalong, New South Wales||5.4||5 people injured. 1,000 homes and 50 other buildings damaged, Total damage $36 million.|
|2002||Warooka, South Australia||6||2 deaths by heart-attack have been attributed to this earthquake.|
|2003||Warrnambool, Victoria||5.3||Extensive minor damage in Warrnambool|
|2010||Kalgoorlie-Boulder||5||In the earthquake numerous buildings damaged, mainly in Boulder, two people were injured.|