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Document published on 13 June 2014
Disasters and emergencies such as bushfires, floods and heatwaves can affect all Australians, no matter what their background or status – but they don’t affect us all equally.
Experience and research tells us that disasters are in ‘profoundly discriminatory’, both in where they strike, and in the way they affect people.
Yet we still do not adequately prepare and plan for the needs of vulnerable people before, during and after emergencies.
This report, Disaster and disadvantage: Social vulnerability in emergency management, makes a series of recommendations on how to better prepare for and deliver enhanced emergency response, relief and recovery measures that specifically support socially vulnerable people.
While much has been done in Victoria in recent years to improve disaster prevention, preparation, response and recovery arrangements, there remain significant policy gaps around building the resilience and meeting the needs of socially vulnerable people. It is now time to fill these gaps.
Policy makers, emergency management planners, the community sector and emergency services need to work together to prepare for and deliver enhanced emergency response, relief and recovery measures that specifically support socially vulnerable people. We must also communicate better with people who are socially vulnerable and at increased risk during the disasters and emergencies that are an all too common part of Australian life.