Media

No Aquatic Mad Max in Australia

|

Writing in spiked, Tim Black contrasts the coverage of the Queensland floods with the actual conditions on the ground:

Chasin' the ark

as the coverage of Queensland's misfortune has unfolded, the hype and fear-stoking has increased: the number of people in need of evacuation is supposedly in the thousands; myriad unscrupulous looting types are waiting in the watery wings; saltwater crocodiles have supposedly been sighted making their way into Rockhampton; and, as a headline in the UK's Daily Telegraph declared, residents are 'facing a plague of deadly snakes as waters rise'. Given the Old Testament tone of some of the coverage, it is little wonder Queensland treasurer Andrew Fraser told reporters that 'in many ways, it's a disaster of biblical proportions'….

The reality, however, has been a little different. People have not panicked. And many have not fled. It is telling that in Rockhampton, the largest town severely affected by the flooding, an evacuation centre was established for a possible 1,500 people. On 2 January, it housed just 50. In fact, according to Queensland premier Anna Bligh, so far around 4,000 people have been evacuated. This is certainly not an insignificant number—about the population of a biggish village—but it is certainly not the mass exodus reporters were forecasting.

The same goes for the anticipated epidemic of looting. Rather than people seizing an opportunity to nick stuff, as some commentators disparagingly assumed, the police revealed that thefts and break-ins are actually below average for the New Year period.

Queensland residents, despite the taxing conditions, have simply been far more reasoned and composed than many in the media and the authorities seemed to anticipate.

For more on human resilience in the face of disasters, go here, here, here, and here.

NEXT: Grandpa Killed in Drug Raid

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Rockhampton, the largest town severely affected by the flooding, an evacuation centre was established for a possible 1,500 people. On 2 January, it housed just 50

    What a puny plan.

    1. Children of the Wasteland, I am disappoint

      1. Actually, the water will stop flowing when Premier Bligh answers the question:

        Who run Rockhampton?

      2. Just walk away. I will give you safe passage in the wasteland. Just walk away.

  2. It’s not Mad Max, it’s Waterworld. Dennis Hopper is riding around on a jetski killing people.

  3. The same goes for the anticipated epidemic of looting. Rather than people seizing an opportunity to nick stuff, as some commentators disparagingly assumed, the police revealed that thefts and break-ins are actually below average for the New Year period.

    It’s hard to loot stuff from submerged stores. Theft is in the blood of those Aussies …

    1. Jemaine: It doesn’t matter what country someone’s from, or what they look like, or the color of their skin. It doesn’t matter what they smell like, or that they spell words slightly differently…some would say, more correctly.

      Sinjay: Yeah…

      Jemaine: Let me finish. I’m a person. Bret’s a person. You’re a person. That person over there is a person. And each person deserves to be treated like a person.

      Sinjay: That’s a great speech. Too bad New Zealanders are a bunch of cocky a-holes descended from criminals and retarded monkeys.

      Jemaine: No, you’re thinking of Australians.

      Bret: Yeah, that’s Australians.

    2. Piss off, Bogan.

  4. I still think they should do a Mad Max Meets Waterworld movie “based on a true story”.

    It would star aging Kevin Costner and aging Mel Gibson reprising their roles, but now teamed up to fight off the mutant kangaroos, tarantulas, snakes, water buffaloes, dingos, etc. And Koch Industries?, of course.

    Working title: Mad Aqua Buddha World.

    Who’s with me?

    1. Only if Gibson wears Costner’s skin. Without that, it would be too hollow an exercise.

    2. Only if you get Ice-T to play the lead mutant kangaroo.

  5. You don’t evacuate people, you evacuate buildings. The exception is White Castle.

    1. After a half-gallon water enema, I evacuate my bowels.

  6. “Queensland residents, despite the taxing conditions, have simply been far more reasoned and composed than many in the media and the authorities seemed to anticipate.”

    Get FEMA involved. We’ll panic those Aussies yet!

  7. No one likes their shrimp swimming off the barbie.

  8. I’m always gratified when, in covering a disaster, the press reports incredulously that people haven’t resorted to cannibalism and destruction. Could it be that Lord of the Flies isn’t a factual reporting of human response to times of crisis??

  9. You call that a flood? This, is a flood!

    And I should know, I lost my career in it.

  10. About 48 hours after Katrina hit N’awlins, there was a commentator on the Huffington Post who claimed that desperate black people were eating corpses to survive. I realize HuffPo doesn’t count as journalism, but I still lol whenever I think about it.

    1. Yes! Here it is:

      link

  11. I just got back from Nashville and it’s amazing how quickly they put things back together after the May flooding, at least from a visitor’s perspective.
    The Opry is back, as is the Opryland Hotel, Country Music Hall of Fame, symphony hall — some of which had 10 feet of water.
    BTW — If you’re in Nashville on a Tuesday night, go see the “Doyle and Debbie Show” at the Station Inn. It’s like a country Spinal Tap, only Doyle and Debbie go to 12.

    1. That flood didn’t faze us, man. Before the river even crested there were private orgs mobilizing volunteers. Our mayor started giving inspirational speeches and putting together task forces long after an army of people were wrapping up the bulk of the work.

  12. Scaremongering is such a niche professional establishment with the Oz media, that it’s enough to give full time employment to both Andrew Bolt and Tim Blair, who spend most of their time and columns pointing and snickering at how oft wrong the doom-mongers usually are. And they are hardly under-employed (although Blair does occaisionally write about Cricket and Formula 1 racing).

    Some of the same chicken little journalism from a couple of years back was busy wailing that Aussies were all going to die from lack of water, due to massive droughts caused by Global Warming.

    Pretty indicative that it isn’t an American only phenom that the most useless people around are the cream of the average J school crop.

    1. In a cess pool the biggest turds rise to the top.

      1. Depends on how much fiber you eat.

  13. Reporters have a hard enough time accurately reporting things that have actually happened. They need to stop trying to predict what will happen because they never get it right.

  14. In 1953, the British author Nevil Shute wrote a novel called ‘In the Wet’ which centres upon the flooding that occurs in this exact area of Australia – every year. Without fail. His descriptions of the nature and extent of the flooding, and the measures that the locals had to take to deal with it, are in many ways indistinguishable from the current news coverage.

    IOW – Business as Usual. It’s the coverage that has become more dire – not the flooding.

    llater,

    llamas

  15. Well actually got the Leaked copy of mad max already
    http://reelsmash.com/movies/480-mad-max-fury-road

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.