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- Jamba : Journal of Disaster Risk Studies
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- Volume 5, Issue 1, 2013
Jamba : Journal of Disaster Risk Studies - Volume 5, Issue 1, 2013
Volume 5, Issue 1, 2013
Translating disaster resilience into spatial planning practice in South Africa : challenges and champions : original researchAuthor Willemien Van NiekerkSource: Jamba : Journal of Disaster Risk Studies 5, pp 1 –6 (2013) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/jamba.v5i1.53More Less
It is highly likely that hazards and extreme climatic events will occur more frequently in the future and will become more severe - increasing the vulnerability and risk of millions of poor urbanites in developing countries. Disaster resilience aims to reduce disaster losses by equipping cities to withstand, absorb, adapt to or recover from external shocks. This paper questions whether disaster resilience is likely to be taken up in spatial planning practices in South Africa, given its immediate developmental priorities and challenges. In South Africa, issues of development take precedence over issues of sustainability, environmental management and disaster reduction. This is illustrated by the priority given to 'servicing' settlements compared to the opportunities offered by 'transforming' spaces through post-apartheid spatial planning. The City of Durban's quest in adapting to climate change demonstrates hypothetically that if disaster resilience were to be presented as an issue distinct from what urban planners are already doing, then planners would see it as insignificant as compared to addressing the many developmental backlogs and challenges. If, however, it is regarded as a means to secure a city's development path whilst simultaneously addressing sustainability, then disaster resilience is more likely to be translated into spatial planning practices in South Africa.
Source: Jamba : Journal of Disaster Risk Studies 5, pp 1 –6 (2013) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/jamba.v5i1.64More Less
This study reports about disaster risk assessment undertaken at Roburnia Plantation, Mpumalanga Province, South Africa. Both quantitative and qualitative approaches were followed to collect data. A total of eight experienced foresters and fire fighters were purposively sampled for interview at Roburnia Plantation. A questionnaire survey was also used to collect the data. Risk levels were quantified using the risks equations of Wisner et al. (2004) and the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR 2002). Data were analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics. Analysis of variance (ANOVA, single factor) was also applied. This study found that Roburnia Plantation is highly exposed to fire risks. The mean (± s.d.) output from the Wisner risk equation shows that fire is the highest risk at 7.7 ± 0.3, followed by harsh weather conditions at 5.6 ± 0.4 and least by tree diseases, pests and pathogens at 2.3 ± 0.2. Similarly, the mean (± s.d.) output from the UNISDR risk equation also shows that fire is the highest risk at 2.9 ± 0.2, followed by harsh weather conditions at 2.2 ± 0.3 and least by tree diseases, pests and pathogens at 1.3 ± 0.2. There was no significant deference in the risk analysis outputs (p = 0.13). This study also found that the number of fire incidents were low during summer, but increased during winter and spring. This variation is mainly due to a converse relationship with rainfall, because the availability of rain moistens the area as well as the fuel. When the area and fuel is moist, fire incidents are reduced, but they increase with a decrease in fuel moisture.
Source: Jamba : Journal of Disaster Risk Studies 5, pp 1 –9 (2013) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/jamba.v5i1.65More Less
Namibia often experiences heavy rains in the north and north-eastern parts of the country, which results in severe flooding. For this reason, the country has endorsed the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) which seeks to develop the resilience of nations and communities to disasters and to assist countries to move away from the approach of emergency response to one of integrated disaster risk reduction. The aim of this article is to assess the resilience of the communities within the identified regions. A quantitative questionnaire was designed to assess people at risk of disaster related impacts. The questionnaire used 20 indicators to measure the level of progress at local level and how local governance plays a role in the mitigation and management of disasters. Analysis of data was done on a limited number of descriptors such as age, gender and local governance involvement, amongst others. There was generally a very high perception of threat (38%) in the study regions. Women perceived threat more accurately (mean = 4.09) than men. The community perceived threat more accurately than local government and civil society (mean = 4.08).
Assessing the impact of sea-level rise on a vulnerable coastal community in Accra, Ghana : original researchSource: Jamba : Journal of Disaster Risk Studies 5, pp 1 –8 (2013) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/jamba.v5i1.60More Less
Climate change and its associated sea-level rise are expected to significantly affect vulnerable coastal communities. Although the extent of the impact will be localised, its assessment will adopt a monitoring approach that applies globally. The topography of the beach, the type of geological material and the level of human intervention will determine the extent of the area to be flooded and the rate at which the shoreline will move inland. Gleefe, a coastal community in Ghana, has experienced frequent flooding in recent times due to the increasing occurrence of storm surge and sea-level rise. This study used available geospatial data and field measurements to determine how the beach topography has contributed to the incidence of flooding at Gleefe. The topography is generally low-lying. Sections of the beach have elevations of around 1 m, which allows seawater to move inland during very high tide. Accelerated sea-level rise as predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will destroy homes of the inhabitants and inundate the Densu wetlands behind the beach. Destruction of infrastructure will render the inhabitants homeless, whilst flooding of the wetlands will destroy the habitats of migratory birds and some endangered wildlife species such as marine turtle. Effective adaptation measures should be adopted to protect this very important coastal environment, the ecology of the wetlands and the livelihoods of the community dwellers.
Source: Jamba : Journal of Disaster Risk Studies 5, pp 1 –10 (2013) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/jamba.v5i1.99More Less
Disasters have been predominantly construed as destructive events causing loss of lives, livelihoods and hard-won development. Much less attention has been paid to the constructive nature of disasters as creating potential windows of opportunities to address the overlooked and neglected aspects of disaster risk reduction. Using material from Zimbabwe, this article examines whether the humanitarian crisis, as manifested in the cholera disaster of 2008-2009, created a window of opportunity to accelerate the implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action. The findings suggest that the humanitarian crisis did not necessarily create a window of opportunity to accelerate the implementation of the framework, owing to (1) inadequate authority and power of the agency responsible for disaster risk reduction, (2) an inadequate legal and institutional framework that outlines clear coordination, accountability mechanisms, resource mobilisation, community participation, and integration of development with regard to disaster risk reduction and (3) a lack of an integrated evidence-based approach to advocate disaster risk reduction in Zimbabwe.
Source: Jamba : Journal of Disaster Risk Studies 5, pp 1 –8 (2013) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/jamba.v5i1.95More Less
With the increasing frequency, magnitude and impact of disasters, there is growing focus on contingency planning as a tool for enhancing resilience. Yet, there is little empirical evidence that reflects on the practice of contingency planning systems within the context of disaster risk reduction. This article explores the practice of contingency planning in southern Africa, focussing on Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. A qualitative comparative analysis informed by fieldwork was used. The findings show that (1) there was a wide gap between theory and practice in contingency planning, (2) response activities rarely reflected projected scenarios and (3) resources were inadequate for effective contingency planning. We conclude that unless these issues are addressed, contingency planning is likely to remain a theoretical rather than a practical tool for building disaster-resilient communities in southern African countries. Although a generalisation cannot be made on the status of contingency planning and practice in southern Africa without a wider analysis of more examples, the findings may apply beyond the examined contexts and also offer insights into research gaps.
Perceptions of water access in the context of climate change by rural households in the Seke and Murewa districts, Zimbabwe : original researchSource: Jamba : Journal of Disaster Risk Studies 5, pp 1 –8 (2013) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/jamba.v5i1.71More Less
The objective of the study was to assess perceptions of rural household heads with regard to various aspects of water access and climate change, and to evaluate whether there were significant differences in perceptions of respondents from female-headed and male-headed households. The study is based on a cross-sectional survey of 300 respondents conducted in the Seke and Murewa districts of Zimbabwe in 2011. The analysis included mainly descriptive statistics. The majority of both female-headed and male-headed households relied on rainfall for their crops, rivers were cited as the main water source for their livestock and protected wells supplied water for household use. Households experienced water shortages, which were attributed mainly to reduced rainfall. The general perception was that there would be less water available in future, with a greater proportion of female-headed than male-headed households perceiving such difficulties. However, very few respondents indicated that they would consider emigrating, although female-headed households were more likely to consider emigrating than male-headed households. A considerable number of respondents indicated that they did not have any means to overcome the water shortages. This highlights the need for interventions such as training and empowerment of individuals with regard to sustainable water use and management.