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  • The Australian Natural Disaster Resilience Index: Volume I – State of Disaster Resilience Report
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The Australian Natural Disaster Resilience Index: Volume I – State of Disaster Resilience Report

Source(s):  Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre (BNHCRC)

Australian communities face increasing losses and disruption from natural disasters.  Disaster resilience is a protective characteristic that acts to reduce the effects of, and losses from, natural hazard events.  Disaster resilience arises from the capacities of social, economic and government systems to prepare for, respond to and recover from a natural hazard event, and to learn, adapt and transform in anticipation of future natural hazard events.  This assessment of disaster resilience estimates the status of these capacities and shows how they are spatially distributed across Australia.

Composite indices are frequently used to summarize and report complex relational measurements about a particular issue.  The Australian Natural Disaster Resilience Index measures disaster resilience as a set of coping and adaptive capacities.  Coping capacity is the means by which available resources and abilities can be used to face adverse consequences that could lead to a disaster.  Adaptive capacity is the arrangements and processes that enable adjustment through learning, adaptation and transformation.  Eight themes of disaster resilience encapsulate the resources and abilities that communities have to prepare for, absorb and recover from natural hazards (social character, economic capital, emergency services, planning and the built environment, community capital, information access) or to adapt, learn and solve problems (social and community engagement, governance and leadership).  Across the eight themes, 77 indicators were used to compute the Australian Natural Disaster Resilience Index in 2084 areas of Australia, corresponding to the Statistical Area Level 2 divisions of the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The index was then used to undertake the first nationally standardised assessment of the state of disaster resilience in Australia.  Disaster resilience is reported at three levels: an overall disaster resilience index, coping and adaptive capacity sub-indexes and themes of disaster resilience that encapsulate the resources and abilities that communities have to prepare for, absorb and recover from natural hazards and to adapt, learn and solve problems (social character, economic capital, emergency services, planning and the built environment, community capital, information access, social and community engagement, governance and leadership).

Volume I (this volume) assesses the state of disaster resilience in Australia, using the Australian Natural Disaster Resilience Index. Volume I gives a brief overview of the design and computation of the index, then assesses the state of disaster resilience in Australia at different levels: overall disaster resilience, coping and adaptive capacity, and the eight themes of disaster resilience. Volume I also presents a typology of disaster resilience that groups areas across Australia that have similar disaster resilience profiles.

Readers interested in the results of the assessment of disaster resilience in Australia should focus on Volume I.



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  • The Australian Natural Disaster Resilience Index: Volume I – State of Disaster Resilience Report
  • Publication date 2020
  • Author(s) Parsons, M; Reeve, I; McGregor, J; et al.
  • Number of pages 229 p.

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