Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Sunday called for more dams to be built to boost the country’s flood resilience, acknowledging the role of climate change in the catastrophic flooding that has hit the country’s northeast.
However, he said that instead of focusing on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, more needed to be done to mitigate the impacts of future floods and fires, reports Xinhua news agency.
At least 20 people have died and thousands of buildings have been destroyed in floods that began late in February when parts of Queensland and New South Wales received a year’s worth of rain in a matter of days.
“Dealing with climate change isn’t just about getting emissions down, it’s about resilience and adaptation,” he told Nine Network television.
“You want to deal with resilience on bushfires, you have to do fuel load management,” he said.
“You want to deal with floods, you have to build dams.”
The federal government has been criticized for failing to immediately deploy resources including the Australian Defense Force (ADF) to the flood zone.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has rejected federal assistance, saying it was offered too late and criticizing Morrison for funding only three of the 20 flood mitigation measures she has proposed since November 2020.
In response, Morrison said the federal government deployed resources as quickly as it could.