Disaster Information

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About Disaster Information

Disaster Information contains records of natural and non-natural disasters within Australia, or directly impacting on Australians, dating from 1753 to the present day.


The Australian Emergency Management Glossary (Commonwealth of Australia 1998) defines a disaster as:

"A serious disruption to community life which threatens or causes death or injury in that community and/or damage to property which is beyond the day-to-day capacity of the prescribed statutory authorities and which requires special mobilisation and organisation of resources other than those normally available to those authorities."

Searching Disaster Information

Disaster Information can be searched by disaster type, location, number of injuries, number of fatalities, insurance cost and date range. You can search for a specific event using the free text field and you can export your search results using the Create Report button.


The map contains data overlays providing additional information for events e.g. rainfall, temperature, the number of dwellings and people affected.

How we decide which events are captured in Disaster Information

To be included in Disaster Information, natural, technological and human-caused events must meet at least one of the following criteria:

 

  • three or more deaths
  • 20 injuries or illnesses
  • significant damage to property, infrastructure, agriculture or the environment; or disruption to essential services, commerce or industry at an estimated total cost of A$10 million or more at the time the event occurred.

 

If you know of an event that meets this criteria but does not appear in Disaster Information, please let us know: EMKnowledge@ag.gov.au.

Additional information

For information about disasters outside of Australia, please visit the The International Disaster Database.

Further information about transport disasters can be found by visiting the Department of Transport in your state.

For information specifically about arson, please visit the Bushfire Arson Prevention website.

Sourcing of cost information

We obtain cost data from several sources including Government Departments, Disaster Assist and the Insurance Council of Australia. The Insurance Council's Disaster Statistics contains details of insurance losses from disaster events. The cost provided shows the insured loss totals of the disaster itself and, for some events, a 'normalised cost' that converts losses recorded in the past to 2011 values, to allow for comparison with past and more recent data.

Costs not accounted for in these figures include:

 

  • costs incurred by emergency services; local, State, Territory and Commonwealth governments; non-government organisations; and by local governments during clean-up
  • remedial and environmental damage costs (including pollution of foreshores and riverbanks and beach erosion)
  • costs associated with community dislocation
  • costs associated with job losses
  • costs associated with rehabilitation/recovery
  • medical and funeral costs associated with injuries and deaths.

GLIDE number

A GLobal IDEntifier number is a globally common unique number assigned to disaster events by the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters. Some events in Disaster Information have a GLIDE number.

Disclaimer

Every effort is made to ensure that the information is accurate and valid; however, many of the early records are understandably incomplete. The cost of disasters is determined over time. Disaster Information is updated regularly. For further information please refer to the Disclaimer page.