Archive for the ‘Natural disaster’ Category

Focus: Nepal and the relief effort

The recent earthquakes in Nepal have been devastating to a country already plagued with problems such as fuel, water and electricity shortages, political instability and uncertainty, and unemployment or rather lack of employment opportunities for its youth.

Pic: AP.

Pic: AP.

I’ve written a number of articles about the ongoing relief effort and needs in Nepal, which are, as with many disasters, not always what one envisages. One article highlighting more practical ways to help was for Asian Correspondent:

But the reality is that numerous problems existed in Nepal before these tragedies, and they will linger long after the international aid effort ceases. And all these issues such as health, education, town planning, traffic management, political stability and fuel supplies will contribute in some way, big or small, to tackling other disasters like this in the future.

It’s a common knee jerk reaction to send $50 or to rush in and assist in a disaster and there’s nothing wrong with that. Aid is required in all forms at this time and much is needed. However the need for sustainable development and rebuilding will be vital in Nepal in the months and years ahead.

Sadly these twin earthquakes have perhaps highlighted those needs in a way nothing else could. For instance there has long been a need for better infrastructure planning, tighter building construction codes and other industry issues affecting architecture in Nepal.

Continue reading at Asian Correspondent.

I have had contact through my Cameras for Asia program with a number of community groups in Nepal. Fortunately all the children and staff at these centres are safe, although they have sustained damage to their buildings. However it’s been encouraging to see them seeking to help others even though they are challenged with resources and funds themselves all the time, earthquake or not.

As I received a few requests for details on where would be a good place to send funds, I recommend either CWC ( or ITEEN ( who I know personally and are genuinely involved in the local relief effort beyond their regular work. See their pages for bank details. ITEEN (also involved in lobbying for human rights and freedoms in Nepal) is planning to rebuild homes and also has a Go Fund Me Link ( Alternatively in the article above were links to more big budget organisations involved in Nepal.

Do note I am currently travelling and posting photos primarily to Facebook. Please see these links: Visited Planet photojournalism and Cameras for Asia.


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In pictures: Celebrating Australia Day

When I was young I always regretted that I wasn’t born a day earlier, on Australia Day. When I was a teenager and learned the history of white settlement and what that had meant, and still means, to Aboriginal people, my regrets disappeared. Today I can appreciate Australia Day for what it means in the sense of acknowledging the freedom we have to celebrate a modern, democratic state free of war and fear while still remembering the past and seeking to make the future one of inclusion, acceptance and opportunity for everyone on these shores.

With that in mind, here are some images of what it means to be an Australian on January 26. Happy Australia Day to everyone!

Feel free to add your own “Australia Day means … ” comment below.


Australia Day means… taking the time to learn from our elders.

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On flood alert in Brisbane – images from January 2013

Mother Nature was on our side in Auchenflower this week when flood waters didn’t rise as high as first anticipated. Still it created a lot of work for us sandbagging low lying areas, evacuating furniture and electrical appliances and making preparations.

While we grieve for those that have lost everything, those in flood prone suburbs in Brisbane heaved enormous sighs of relief when it was all over.

I wrote a longer piece about it for Asian Correspondent here: Australia: Flooding déjà vu for Queensland.

To contribute to the recovery efforts see this website for how to make a donation or volunteer. The government’s Queensland Flood Appeal is being coordinated with Red Cross.

Wellington boots the best way to get through the Auchenflower flood waters.

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A year on since the 2011 Brisbane floods

Police tape goes up as the streets start to flood. Pic: Joanne Lane,

This week it’s a year since the base for Visited Planet went underwater in the 2011 floods. While we’re sitting high and dry here now, repairs to the house as yet are still unfinished, although nearing completion.

It’s incredible to reflect back on what we were doing a year ago – madly evacuating computers, photographic and personal items out of the house as the waters rose around us and up into the property. It was a dreadful time; exhausting and debilitating in many ways but also an incredible time of community and friendship as people came to help and assist – many whom we didn’t even know. Read more

Photo gallery: Mt Merapi the mountain of fire

Mt Merapi is one of the 76 active volcanoes in Indonesia. In fact it’s the most volatile of all with smoke billowing from the summit 300 days a year and frequent eruptions that often claim lives.

In October 2010 the volcanic activity on the mountain escalated as lava, smoke and ash erupted into the surrounding region killing 353 people and displacing 320,000.

Project work I visited in this region in May 2011 has been multi-fold:
* assisting in the rebuild of homes destroyed by lava flow, fire, ash and flood waters
* restoring cattle herds and farming land to residents reliant on these industries for food/business
* re-establishing drinking water sources
* replacing destroyed/lost school uniforms and books

The smoking culprit - Mt Merapi.

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