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Striking Before/After Aerial Images of Queensland's Devastating Floods

High quality aerial comparison photos show how the worst flooding since 1974 have put huge areas of state capital Brisbane under water.

For those who haven't paid very close attention to the flooding in Australia, it's worth looking at a set of before/after photos of Queensland state capital and river city Brisbane, published by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). The link comes courtesy of a friend in Brisbane who shared with me that his house had 1.8m of water in it - on the second floor.

The Queensland floods are not unprecedented, as an even worse event took place in 1974, as reported by RMS, and a major event was also recorded in 1893. However, steady growth in the Brisbane metropolitan area has ensured that the more recent event will be more costly. AIR Worldwide estimates losses of between $3 and $6 billion U.S.

Those of us who follow natural catastrophes will appreciate the cruel stroke of fate suffered by Australians, who have been told they can expect less and less rainfall as a result of climate change. Consider the following excerpt from a report:

The cruel irony in Australia, of course, is that it has been wracked by a forty year drought, going back to the 1960s. The "worst on record" droughts really took hold in 2003, forcing towns across the continent to ration water and witnessing big cities like Victoria and Melbourne on the verge of going dry. In those days no one was thinking about loading sandbags to keep potential floodwaters at bay; everyone was focused on the construction of desalinators to make drinking water from the ocean.

Using Australia's run of dry luck as example, the World Economic Forum predicted a coming global "water bankruptcy," warning that by as soon as 2025, 1.8 billion people around the world could be living in water-scarce regions, while two-thirds of the world's population could be flooded out.

Anthony O'Donnell has covered technology in the insurance industry since 2000, when he joined the editorial staff of Insurance & Technology. As an editor and reporter for I&T and the InformationWeek Financial Services of TechWeb he has written on all areas of information ... View Full Bio

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