More thoughts — that I didn’t want to tack on to this post for various reasons.
It was mentioned in the comments of that particular entry that the locals shown on the news tended to be the blustery type — “Evacuation be damned! I’m going to stick it out!” It’s easy to put these people on TV, because they make for good soundbytes — and they make it easier for the masses to care less when they get killed. Why, they practically asked for it! Darwin’s system is at work, and those too stupid to escape got what was coming to ’em.
But the truth is this: people with no resources and no possibility of evacuation would rather look stubborn and angry than helpless and trapped. There is dignity in the appearance of willfullness, and in obstinate defiance of authority. It saves face to say, “Screw you all! I don’t want to leave and you can’t make me!” rather than to admit the truth, which is that they couldn’t go even if they wanted to.