About 200,000 people are affected by the Australian floods to an extent of 2 life-months, or 33,000 life-years. Damage may be about US$1 billion, or about 20,000 years of the average Australian salary. If working full-time is equivalent to spending one-third of life, then the $1 billion loss is equivalent to about 7000 life-years. The total number of life-years lost is thus about 40,000.
Human News aims to devote 1 character to each 40,000 life-years, or 1000 average lives. Thus, the number of characters could be 1.