The Australian floods have impacted thousands of people living in Queensland and New South Wales, and forced them out of their homes. Farms, animals, and people’s livelihoods were lost in the process. People within the flooded regions have lost access to power and internet, making it difficult to contact family and emergency services. Over $1.3 billion in insurance claims have been made as of March 7th, with the total number of claims at the time being 86,703. 

On top of this, the Australian floods have impacted food logistic routes and online shopping deliveries, making it more difficult for growers and suppliers to get their much needed goods to the end consumer outside of the affected regions. This logistical challenge caused frustration among all of those affected by the natural disaster, in particular those in desperate need of essential supplies and services. 

Online shopping deliveries have been affected by the floods through road damage and road closures, causing logistical nightmares on Australia’s roads. It’s estimated that wait times can exceed upwards of 12-days for purchases made online. Inter-city deliveries as well as city-wide deliveries were also impacted by the flood affected areas. 

While some customers can wait until their luxury goods arrive, daily necessity goods such as safe drinking water, food and other essential goods are harder to purchase due to demand as well as losing their freshness quickly. Supply trucks were unable to access key distribution centres and shops making it hard for consumers to fill their cupboards as the shelves were quickly emptied.

These food shortages were also further exacerbated due to consumers panic buying what was left in grocery stores, reflecting the same panic buying that was seen during the first Covid-19 outbreak. The shortage has shown the fragility of Australia’s commercial industry, especially in the essential goods sector. 

The extreme circumstances of the flooding has highlighted the infrastructure and logistical challenges that we face when it comes to all consumer goods. Although the severity of the floods are waning, the question still remains – how will Australia handle future natural disasters, or more importantly, how can emergency services and essential service supply chains still operate during these tough times.