Disaster relief

national context in disaster relief image

● The Western Cape has been severely affected by ongoing drought. According to the City of Cape
Town, annual major dam levels almost halved, from 53% in July 2016, to 28% in July 2017. Useable
water stored in dams is approximately 10% less than actual dam levels. The City of Cape Town is
exploring water reclamation, aquifer extraction and desalination, among other measures.
● According to the Department of Water and Sanitation, of the 211 dams across the country that were
monitored by the Department in 2017, 13 were below 10%, 33 were between 10% and 40%, and 57
dams were over 100% full.
● According to Western Cape government reports, the Knysna fires led to the evacuation of approximately
10 000 people. These fires were the first in South Africa to be declared a Type 1 incident, as they
required the largest ever deployment of over 1 000 firefighters.
A Policy Framework for Disaster Risk Management in South Africa, 2005
This is the legal instrument specified by the Disaster Management Act, 2002, to address the need for
consistency across multiple interest groups, by providing a coherent, transparent and inclusive policy on
disaster management. It recognises the numerous opportunities to avoid and reduce disaster losses through
the concerted efforts of all relevant stakeholders (i.e. government, civil society and the private sector).
Drought Management Plan, 2005
This document aimed to develop an effective and integrated risk and disaster management system to
minimise the impacts of drought, by setting up a system for information management, implementing
and improving early warning systems, and establishing priority programmes for risk reduction. This was,
however, a discussion document released for public comment, which has not been updated.
Integrated National Forest Protection Strategy, 2015
This strategy looks at possible ways of safeguarding South Africa’s forests. Strategic goals include
educating communities about fire; ensuring efficient prevention and mitigation measures; improving
capacity development and cooperation with various stakeholders at regional and national level; ensuring
speedy rehabilitation and restoration of timber plantations; controlling and managing fire outbreaks
efficiently and effectively; and assessing the impact of fires and fire risks.
● Corporates should set aside budget and clarify decision-making processes so that they can respond
to distasters quickly and effectively.
● Most disaster relief funding goes towards attending to the immediate needs of those affected by
disasters. While this is essential, funders should consider the long-term impact of disasters. Funds can
be put aside for reconstruction and rehabilitation programmes following a disaster.
● Although efforts are made to deal with disasters once they have occurred, less emphasis is placed on
preventive strategies aimed at saving lives and protecting assets before they are lost. Programmes
that prevent or minimise damage, and therefore save costs, may be the best investment.

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