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- Volume 5, Issue 2, 2013
Jamba : Journal of Disaster Risk Studies - Volume 5, Issue 2, 2013
Volume 5, Issue 2, 2013
Governance of disaster risk reduction in Cameroon : the need to empower local government : original researchSource: Jamba : Journal of Disaster Risk Studies 5, pp 1 –10 (2013) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/jamba.v5i2.77More Less
The impact of natural hazards and/or disasters in Cameroon continues to hit local communities hardest, but local government lacks the ability to manage disaster risks adequately. This is partly due to the fact that the necessity to mainstream disaster risk reduction into local governance and development practices is not yet an underlying principle of Cameroon's disaster management framework. Using empirical and secondary data, this paper analyses the governance of disaster risks in Cameroon with particular focus on the challenges local government faces in implementing disaster risk reduction strategies. The hypothesis is that the governance of disaster risks is too centralised at the national level, with huge implications for the effective governance of disaster risks at the local level. Although Cameroon has reinvigorated efforts to address growing disaster risks in a proactive way, it is argued that the practical actions are more reactive than proactive in nature. The overall aim is to explore the challenges and opportunities that local government has in the governance of disaster risks. Based on the findings from this research, policy recommendations are suggested on ways to mainstream disaster risk reduction strategies into local governance, and advance understanding and practice in the local governance of disaster risks in the country.
Synergies across the natural resources management fields in Southern Africa : Disaster Risk Reduction and One Health : research articleSource: Jamba : Journal of Disaster Risk Studies 5, pp 1 –10 (2013) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/jamba.v5i2.74More Less
For various reasons, Southern Africa may be considered the playground as well as the thinking tank for many theories and practices in the natural resources management field. History has contributed to reshape conservation practices through colonial times, and recent wars have led to the relocation of people from their homelands and the appropriation by people of previously protected areas due to socio-economic pressures. Contemporary practices stemming from sustainable development have not yielded the expected results in resolving critical socio-economic stresses that impact on environmental health. Furthermore, human health has deteriorated in remote rural areas due to the failures of governance systems and the perpetration of non-participatory models for natural resources management, especially conservation. This paper seeks to explore how two relatively new approaches, Disaster Risk Reduction and One Health, can together tap into the theoretical and practical gaps left by previous paradigms in order to instill a sustainable development approach that can benefit both people and natural resources in remote and poor rural areas.
Disaster Risk Management : disciplinary status and prospects for a unifying theory : original researchAuthor Gerrit Van der WaldtSource: Jamba : Journal of Disaster Risk Studies 5, pp 1 –11 (2013) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/jamba.v5i2.76More Less
The purpose of this paper is to explore the disciplinary status of Disaster Risk Management (DRM) as an emerging, applied, social science and to consider prospects for the establishment of a unifying theory or philosophical underpinning for the discipline. The exploration of the disciplinary status is facilitated by content analyses of knowledge products of the discipline, including study material, research reports, and completed postgraduate research to determine the typical categories or specialist areas or domains (curricula) of the discipline as well as a subsequent content analysis of Jàmbá articles. The research findings are then plotted on a focus area maturity model to facilitate opinion formulation regarding the disciplinary status of DRM. The findings reveal surprisingly high levels of maturity and set the parameters for a continuous discourse regarding the current disciplinary status of DRM in South Africa. The paper further proposes steps to establish a unifying theory as overarching paradigm for theory development and testing.
Analysing risk and vulnerability of South African settlements : attempts, explorations and reflections : original researchSource: Jamba : Journal of Disaster Risk Studies 5, pp 1 –8 (2013) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/jamba.v5i2.80More Less
With the world's urban population now estimated to be at 52% (United Nations 2012:1), towns and cities are increasingly becoming the stage where disaster risk has to be managed and mitigated. Understanding the risks and vulnerabilities in these complex socio-ecological systems thus becomes of utmost importance to be able to intervene in the underlying root causes, dynamic pressures and unsafe conditions. In this paper, the authors share their experience in, and reflect on, recent attempts at exploring integrated and place-specific risk and vulnerability analyses of settlements in South Africa. An overview is first provided of the attempt to develop multi-criteria indicators for integrated assessment of socio-economic vulnerability at a regional level. Secondly, an indication is provided of some first steps in interpreting projections for environmental risks and hazards in terms of possible implications for settlements at this regional level. The paper concludes with some reflections on the challenges and breakthroughs experienced in this exercise, as well as implications for on-going and future research.
Author Isak D. Jansen van VuurenSource: Jamba : Journal of Disaster Risk Studies 5, pp 1 –8 (2013) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/jamba.v5i2.72More Less
Geographical Information Systems (GIS) technology is a powerful tool that can support decision-making in all the facets of disaster risk management. Being at the centre of all disaster risk management functions, GIS activities such as data acquisition, processing, analysis and visualisation should be seamless from planning to prediction, preparation, response and recovery. A case study of devastating wildfires that destroyed thousands of hectares of agricultural land during August 2011 in the North-West province, South Africa, identifies the lack of a comprehensive framework within which information-based disaster impact assessments are undertaken and which is integrated with the larger context of disaster risk management. Problems relating to the availability, quality and integration of data are typical of the ad hoc approach to the implementation of information technologies, indicating the need for an integrated and coordinated approach. The aim of this paper is to establish a framework for rapid impact assessment, with specific reference to geospatial data management. The framework is put into the theoretical context of disaster risk management and information management, with data acquisition and processing functions being anchored in the principles of information systems theory.
Source: Jamba : Journal of Disaster Risk Studies 5, pp 1 –6 (2013) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/jamba.v5i2.73More Less
Disaster information informs disaster risk management interventions. However, it is the systematic management of this key resource that has not yet been fully embraced. In some cases, information is still haphazardly collected, analysed, managed and disseminated. This paper, utilising mainly secondary literature sources, explores the importance of disaster information and its systematic management in disaster risk management programming. It presents challenges associated with information management in disaster situations and critiques the trend whereby the collection, management and dissemination of information are usually limited to disaster situations. This only serves to further marginalise post-disaster recovery processes, which are integral with regard to generating knowledge essential for the formulation of future disaster mitigation strategies. The paper concludes by arguing for the integration of disaster information management into current disaster risk management curriculum.
Land tenure insecurity, vulnerability to climate-induced disaster and opportunities for redress in southern Africa : original researchSource: Jamba : Journal of Disaster Risk Studies 5, pp 1 –8 (2013) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/jamba.v5i2.79More Less
Land tenure is an important variable impacting on vulnerability to climate-related disaster. Land tenure insecurity is widespread in southern Africa and manifests itself in a number of ways that accentuate vulnerability to climate change impacts. Insecure tenure is seen to heighten vulnerability against growing demand for land for residential purposes and working space in urban areas while in the rural areas insecure tenure militates against diversified livelihoods and hinders investment in appropriate technologies and uptake of sound environmental management practices. Using the focused synthesis method, this article (1) maps the intersections between land tenure insecurity and vulnerability to climate-induced disaster in southern Africa; and (2) identifies the opportunities tenure reforms hold for vulnerability reduction in a region predicted to suffer widespread impacts from climate change. The paper contends that land tenure is a critical component of the milieu of factors - economic, social, cultural, institutional, political and even psychological - that are known to shape vulnerability and determine the environment that people live in. The study finds that land tenure reforms can help to reduce vulnerability and enhance community resilience to climate change. In this regard, the article outlines how tenure reforms can help build diverse household livelihoods, improve environmental management, particularly in the rural areas, and encourage investment in robust housing and safe neighbourhoods among the urban poor - all of which are integral to the region's response to climate change.
Author Tanya Le RouxSource: Jamba : Journal of Disaster Risk Studies 5, pp 1 –9 (2013) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/jamba.v5i2.67More Less
'The critical component in crisis management is communication', but somehow the vague concept of 'communication' is always cited as a problem in in-crisis situations. Furthermore, available corporate communication literature mainly focuses on pre- and post-crisis reputational communication, relying only on following lists or a linear one-way push of information for the in-crisis stages. The exploratory method of reflective or interpretive action research of a hazardous material emergency desk-top simulation exercise was used to examine (1) what is meant by the term communication in the in-crisis situation, and (2) the contribution that corporate communication and the corporate communication practitioner can make during an in-crisis situation. This study found that there is confusion regarding the term communication, but even more, that each person involved also interpreted the term slightly differently, which could easily lead to confusion and/or the creation of an unclear common operating picture. The extent of the contribution that the corporate communication practitioner, as conduit of the corporate communication discipline, can make is also discussed. This paper comes to the conclusion that the contribution of corporate communication to the in-crisis situation will greatly add to the successful clearing up of an emergency situation.
Parallel structures for disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation in Southern Africa : original researchSource: Jamba : Journal of Disaster Risk Studies 5, pp 1 –5 (2013) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/jamba.v5i2.68More Less
During the last decade, the interest of the international community in the concepts of disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation has been growing immensely. Even though an increasing number of scholars seem to view these concepts as two sides of the same coin (at least when not considering the potentially positive effects of climate change), in practice the two concepts have developed in parallel rather than in an integrated manner when it comes to policy, rhetoric and funding opportunities amongst international organisations and donors. This study investigates the extent of the creation of parallel structures for disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region. The chosen methodology for the study is a comparative case study and the data are collected through focus groups and content analysis of documentary sources, as well as interviews with key informants. The results indicate that parallel structures for disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation have been established in all but one of the studied countries. The qualitative interviews performed in some of the countries indicate that stakeholders in disaster risk reduction view this duplication of structures as unfortunate, inefficient and a fertile setup for conflict over resources for the implementation of similar activities. Additional research is called for in order to study the concrete effects of having these parallel structures as a foundation for advocacy for more efficient future disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation.
Preliminary assessment of the gender aspects of disaster vulnerability and loss of human life in South Africa : original researchSource: Jamba : Journal of Disaster Risk Studies 5, pp 1 –11 (2013) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/jamba.v5i2.84More Less
South Africa has reached a medium level of human development and has a heterogeneous situation with respect to disaster risk management. In this article, a preliminary assessment of the gender aspects of disaster vulnerability and fatalities is presented. The United Nations, the Health Systems Trust and Statistics South Africa were used as data sources for the following gender-segregated values: the life expectancy at birth, unemployment rates, the human development index values, the maternal mortality rates and the number of deaths from unnatural and non-natural causes. The relevant inequality indices were then calculated and used to draw conclusions regarding the gender aspects of disaster risk management in South Africa. Results of the calculations indicate that between 1980 and 2011 men were 10% more vulnerable with respect to their health status. However, the gender differences have been decreasing in recent years. Access of women to healthcare is decreasing with time,potentially decreasing the recovery potential of whole families. Women are more economically vulnerable than men in South Africa, as they are 16.3% - 33% more likely to be unemployed than men. Educational status of both genders in South Africa is comparable based on literacy and enrolment rates at primary and secondary level. On the other hand, men are five times more likely to suffer fatal injuries during disasters.
Source: Jamba : Journal of Disaster Risk Studies 5, pp 1 –12 (2013) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/jamba.v5i2.78More Less
Mining activities throughout the Southern African Development Community (SADC) have impacted on the health and safety of mining communities for many decades. Despite the economic contribution of mining to surrounding communities, a huge amount of social and environmental harm is associated with the industry. In this regard, mining companies have, on the one hand, contributed toward improved social development by providing jobs, paying taxes and earning foreign exchange. On the other hand, they have been linked publicly to poor labour conditions, corruption, pollution incidents, health and safety failings, as well as disrespect of human rights. The objectives of this study are to give an overview of social and natural factors relating to health disasters in selected communities in the mining environment. Regarding the findings, this paper focuses on the social and natural factors involved in the creation of health disasters. The social factors include poverty, unemployment, poor housing and infrastructure, prostitution and a high influx of unaccompanied migrant labour. Major health issues in this regard, which will be highlighted, are the extraordinary high incidence rate of HIV and STIs (sexually transmitted infections), addiction and mental illness. The environmental (natural) threats to health that will be discussed in the study are harmful particles in the air and water, excessive noise and overcrowded and unhygienic living conditions. In conclusion, the paper also finds that communities need to be 'fenced in' in terms of health disaster management instead of being excluded. Specific recommendations to mining companies to reduce health and safety disasters will be made to conclude the paper.
Managing corporate identities of non-profit organisations in the social welfare sector : original researchAuthor Lida HoltzhausenSource: Jamba : Journal of Disaster Risk Studies 5, pp 1 –8 (2013) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/jamba.v5i2.88More Less
Present-day South Africa is characterised by many societal and developmental issues, such as HIV awareness and prevention, child-headed households, environmental protection, poverty alleviation, violence and victim aid. However, it is widely acknowledged that government alone cannot address these issues effectively. The role of non-profit organisations (NPOs) in addressing social and development issues is increasingly emphasised. NPOs work at grassroots level and they can therefore, on the whole, identify societal vulnerabilities and risks earlier than the government sector. However, due to the economic recession, NPOs operate in a competitive environment where an increasing number of NPOs rely on a small number of donors and other resources. NPOs should therefore differentiate themselves from the competition in order to obtain public legitimacy and funding. Corporate identity management is important for NPOs to fulfil their role in social welfare and thus contribute to disaster risk reduction. The exploratory nature of this study dictates a qualitative research approach.Semi-structured interviews with management of five NPOs in the social welfare sector were conducted in order to provide an answer to the study's research question: 'To what extent do NPOs in the social welfare sector practise corporate identity management, in order to prevent and address social welfare risks?' The research found that NPOs do not realise the full potential of managing their corporate identities. NPOs therefore do not take advantage of a strong and distinct corporate identity which would allow them to ensure their ability to assess, address, reduce and/or alleviate vulnerabilities and disaster risks.
Views from the Frontline : a critical assessment of local risk governance in South Africa : original researchSource: Jamba : Journal of Disaster Risk Studies 5, pp 1 –10 (2013) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/jamba.v5i2.82More Less
In 2005 the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction introduced the 'Hyogo Framework for Action' (HFA) aimed at mainstreaming disaster risk reduction. Subsequently, the 'Global Network for Disaster Reduction' (GNDR) was formed to support the implementation of the HFA. The GNDR initiated a country-based, international research project called 'Views from the Frontline' (VFL) in order to measure progress at local level in terms of compliance with the HFA. The VFL 2011 project focused on local risk governance, which is critical for effective implementation of policy and provision of resources at grassroots level. This article provides insight into the findings for South Africa. The project made use of quantitative and qualitative data. Quantitative data was gathered by means of a survey and/or questionnaire consisting of 20 questions on 'indicators' which assessed progress toward the goals of the HFA. The surveys also provided for qualitative commentary. The target population for this research consisted of local government officials and community representatives. Based on the quantitative scores for all the different indicators, the research showed that South Africa could still improve significantly in terms of compliance with the HFA. More attention must be given to operationalise the HFA at local level, a culture of safety must be fostered, local actors and communities must be involved directly and consulted, indigenous knowledge must be recognised, and significant capacity development for disaster risk reduction is necessary.
'Prevention is better than cure' : assessing Ghana's preparedness (capacity) for disaster management : original researchAuthor Martin Oteng-AbabioSource: Jamba : Journal of Disaster Risk Studies 5, pp 1 –11 (2013) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/jamba.v5i2.75More Less
This article examines and contributes to the debate on Ghana's capacity and preparedness to respond to disasters and build safer communities. Having witnessed a series of catastrophic events in recent times, many have questioned the capacity of the National Disaster Management Organisation, an institution mandated to manage disasters in Ghana and whose operations have historically been shaped by external pressures, particularly the populist tendencies of the Provisional National Defense Council government in the 1980s. Analysing the results from the fieldwork and placing them in the context of contemporary disaster management strategies, this article gives an overview of Ghana's preparedness for emergencies in the face of increasing urbanisation. It finds that the organisation is fixated on a top-down approach with low cooperation, collaboration and coordination with stakeholders, leading to situations where devastation and destruction occur before action is taken. Today, the consensus is that practitioners wean themselves from managing disasters and take to managing risk. Such a redirection of attention calls for the adoption of an appropriate institutional framework: an approach that unites the putative nation beyond competing loyalties to ethnicity, tribe and political entity.
Awareness campaigns as survival tools in the fight against gender-based violence in peri-urban communities of Bulawayo in Zimbabwe : original researchSource: Jamba : Journal of Disaster Risk Studies 5, pp 1 –5 (2013) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/jamba.v5i2.83More Less
Most of Zimbabwe's urban settlements owe their existence to mining activities; hence most peri-urban communities around Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second largest city, are mining communities. However, research in these mining communities has shown that there is little focus on the strengthening of community dynamics that help members to cope with the challenges associated with Gender-Based Violence. Psychosocial support rarely arrives in time to effectively cover gaps left by traditional coping strategies. This paper presents and discusses experiences and insights accumulated from awareness campaigns meant to sensitise people about the nature and scope of gender-based violence. This article is a culmination of focus group discussions, informal interviews and participant observation as efforts were made towards capacity building for community members' abilities to identify forms of risky behaviour associated with gender-based violence, and the appropriate actions members could take should they find themselves in such situations. In short, this article discusses the conceptualisation of domestic and gender violence as a risk, forms of gender-based violence, the rationale behind campaigns to reduce the internalisation of gender-based violence, and challenges faced in inculcating behaviour change efforts.
A rights-based analysis of disaster risk reduction framework in Zimbabwe and its implications for policy and practice : original researchSource: Jamba : Journal of Disaster Risk Studies 5, pp 1 –11 (2013) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/jamba.v5i2.81More Less
This paper examines closely the institutional arrangements for disaster risk reduction from a rights-based perspective. In Zimbabwe, the disaster risk reduction framework and the ensuing practice have not yet accommodated some of the most vulnerable and excluded groups, especially the terminally ill, people with disabilities and the very poor. Top-down approaches to disaster management have largely been blamed for lack of resilience and poor preparedness on the part of sections of society that are hard hit by disasters. Often, disaster risk reduction has also been modeled along the needs and priorities of able-bodied people, whilst largely excluding those with various forms of impairments. Against this background, this paper is based on field research on people's disaster risk experiences in four districts of Zimbabwe, with a special emphasis on the disaster risk reduction framework. It provides a critical analysis of the disaster risk reduction framework in Zimbabwe, focusing on the various forms of disadvantages to different categories of people that the current framework has tended to generate. The paper thus examines the current disaster risk reduction framework as largely informed by the Civil Protection Act and the Disaster Risk Management Policy Draft as revised in 2011. Crucial at this stage is the need to interrogate the disaster risk reduction framework, right from formulation processes with regard to participation and stakeholders, particularly the grassroots people who bear the greatest brunt of vulnerability, shocks, stresses and trends. In conclusion, the paper stresses the potential benefits of adopting an inclusive, rights-based thrust to disaster risk reduction in Zimbabwe.
Communication management during the veld fires of 23 August 2011 in the Tlokwe Local Municipality : a cautionary tale : original researchAuthor Magrita N. WiggillSource: Jamba : Journal of Disaster Risk Studies 5, pp 1 –9 (2013) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/jamba.v5i2.85More Less
Background : A veld fire disaster in the Tlokwe Local Municipality on 23 August 2011, resulted in an estimated monetary loss of over R43 million. The veld fire disaster was characterised by a lack of strategic management and a subsequent lack of planned, coordinated communication between all role players involved. The lack of strategic communication management indirectly contributed to the losses suffered during the disaster, and afterwards relationships between many role players were strained.
Objectives and method : The objectives for the qualitative research project were to determine the different role players' perception of communication management during the veld fires of 23 August 2011, and in what way relationships between role players were affected by the lack of communication management during the veld fire disaster. Data were gathered by means of semi-structured interviews with the relevant role players.
Results and conclusion : Most of the role players were convinced that communication was not managed effectively on 23 August 2011. It resulted in, most especially, a loss of trust and perceived lack of commitment between some of the role players. It is recommended that emergency services and other role players receive more training (also focusing on communication management), participate in simulations and incorporate a communication and relationship management approach to disaster risk management.
Disasters in 'development' contexts : contradictions and options for a preventive approach : original researchAuthor Kenneth HewittSource: Jamba : Journal of Disaster Risk Studies 5, pp 1 –8 (2013) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/jamba.v5i2.91More Less
The relations of development and disaster offer a starting point for an overview of disaster risk reduction (DRR) in African contexts. A social vulnerability approach is adopted with its goal of improving conditions for persons and places most at risk. However, this approach faces serious contradictions in both the disasters and development scenes. Disaster events and losses have grown exponentially in recent decades. So have advances in disaster-related knowledge and the institutions and material resources devoted to disaster management. Evidently, the latter have not reduced disaster incidence or over all losses. Similar contradictions appear in development. By some measures, in most developing countries the economy has grown much faster than population. Yet, indebtedness, unemployment and insecurity seem worse in many countries. Poverty, the avowed target, remains huge in urban, peri-urban and rural areas singled out by disaster losses. Problems also arise from separate treatment of development and disaster. Climate change and the global financial crises challenge some of the most basic assumptions. The promise of 'developed nations', built around massive use of fossil fuels, puts global and African economic growth on a collision course with environmental calamity. The 2008 financial crisis has undermined the safety of global majorities, as well as reliance on development assistance. The case for alternatives in development and DRR is reinforced, including the vulnerability-reducing responses highlighted in the Hyogo framework for action. However, this is being undermined by a return to a civil defence-type approach, an increasingly militarised, and for-profit, focus on emergency management.
Dynamics of configuring and interpreting the disaster risk script : experiences from Zimbabwe : original researchSource: Jamba : Journal of Disaster Risk Studies 5, pp 1 –10 (2013) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/jamba.v5i2.93More Less
People in Zimbabwe have been faced with disasters in different forms and at various levels. When people experience hazard events and disasters, they perceive these phenomena through lenses that are largely shaped by their local day-to-day experiences and some external influence. As they do this, they develop their own local conception of hazards and disasters, and they tend to model their response or preparedness through this. This article argues that on the basis of this premise, each society therefore develops its own unique and localised way of interpreting the disaster, which comes in the form of a 'script', that needs to be deciphered, read, analysed and understood within local priorities and knowledge systems. The hazard may be the same, say, fire, but as it occurs in different communities, they configure and read the fire script differently, hence spawning different response and prevention strategies. The way people anticipate, prepare for, and respond to a particular disaster stems from their perception of it, based on their own local conceptions of reality. The article argues that effective disaster risk reduction must focus on people's holistic understanding of the unfolding scenario, thereby feeding into disaster risk early warning systems. For effective understanding of the utility of early warning systems, the socio-cultural processes involved in the ideation of the disaster cannot be ignored. It is also critical to examine people's past experiences with external early warning systems, and how much faith they put in them.