Authorities need to put in place measures and plans to mitigate the impact of disasters. So says the Climate Justice Coordinator at the Southern African Faith Communities Environment Institute – Gabriel Manyangadze.
He was one of the panellists at a webinar hosted by the University of KwaZulu-Natal on the role of the faith community in disasters and the approach to assisting disaster victims.
According to Manyangadze, research has shown that southern Africa is already experiencing more tropical cyclones. He says KwaZulu-Natal and the northern part of the Eastern Cape can expect more frequent and severe storms and flooding in the future.
This is after the devastating floods of April, that was the worst in a century. More than 400 people died and thousands were left homeless, while damage to infrastructure such as roads and bridges is estimated at R25 billion. Says Manyangadze Government and civil society must become more proactive.
“Therefore we are calling on all people and those in authority and those who can help to actually change the facility that we have in KZN and also in the northern part of the Eastern Cape, because we are witnessing this more and more and we say warn about the choice of places where they will build their homes to help people before disaster strikes. We will have to live with that in the next few years and that is why we have to be prepared.”
KwaZulu-Natal has experienced wet conditions:
Yasmin Rajah, director of social services for refugees in Durban, says foreign refugees in the country are often the last to be helped when disaster strikes. She says even many refugees in KwaZulu-Natal have not received any help after the April floods due to xenophobic sentiment in some circles or because they are not properly documented.
“Let me start with COVID, the first thing that happened during COVID was that our customers were not considered for assistance because their documents were not the same as South Africans. Some of them were undocumented. People we work with are not considered needy. During those floods, for example, it came after a lot of xenophobic and anti-immigrant sentiments emanated from Operation Dudula and basically either migrants and refugees were affected, some of them didn’t go to shelters and didn’t provide for them, seek refuge with friends or try to figure out how to deal with it.”
The humanitarian organization Gift of the Givers has many years of experience in providing global relief after disasters. Imtiaz Sooliman from the organization explains the help they have provided after the floods in KwaZulu-Natal.
“We have already drilled 15 wells there in Tongaat and LA Mercy and also in other areas that had no water before the floods, parts of Verulam, Umzinto, Harding and in the modernization of schools that have been damaged to address stormwater drainage to clean the schools. The Health Department has asked us for support, damage to health facilities and also to the M4 worth R180million.
Meanwhile called Dr. Khosi Kubeka from the University of Cape Town encourages youth to take an active part in programs aimed at mitigating the effects of climate change.
Expert advises authorities to take action to mitigate impact of disasters – SABC News
Source link Expert advises authorities to take action to mitigate impact of disasters – SABC News