Flood deaths in Australia

E. Linacre


Flood deaths per 100,000 population vary between the states of Australia, i.e. 256 between 1947-1996 in New South Wales, 102 in Queensland, 16 in the Northern Territory, 12 in Victoria, 6 in Tasmania, 3 in South Australia and 1 in Western Australia (1). It is interesting to speculate on possible reasons for the differences between States. Landfalling tropical cyclones or quasi-stationary tropical depressions are the main cause of flooding in Queensland.

In all, records show that some 2213 people were drowned by floods in Australia during 1788-1996. Over that period there has been a decrease in the deaths per 100,000. The male fatalities were four times those of females.


(1) Coates, L. 1997. Floods in Australia - who is most at risk? Natural Hazards Quarterly (Macquarie University, Sydney) 3, 2-3.