KZN floods: Govt adapting disaster plans to prevent more catastrophic weather damage

  • The government is strengthening the development of, and implementation of, disaster management plans.
  • This is in response to the severe weather conditions that have wreaked havoc in parts of KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape.
  • The disaster management plan will also be adapted to climate change realities.

Developing disaster management plans and adapting them to climate change realities are just some of the measures the government is pushing to prevent a repeat of the devastating KwaZulu-Natal floods.

According to Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, several plans are being implemented, especially in KwaZulu-Natal, to better deal with severe weather conditions.

READ | 'The damage is huge' - KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala visits flood-hit areas in Durban

This was contained in Dlamini-Zuma's response to a written parliamentary question from EFF MP Mathibe Rebecca Mohlala.

According to Dlamini-Zuma, the government's plan includes:

  • Developing and implementing a disaster management plan as per the regulations of the Disaster Management Act 57 of 2002.
  • The assessment of submitted disaster management plans to check the level of compliance with the Disaster Management Act as well as the alignment with the guidelines on, "... development and structure of a disaster management plan".
  • Whether these plans incorporate disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change adaptation measures for inclusion into municipal programmes and projects as required for by the priorities and targets of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (2015-2030).
  • Engagement sessions with municipalities and Provincial Disaster Management Centres within respective provinces to discuss the respective assessment feedbacks.

Furthermore, Dlamini-Zuma said there would be more engagement with other departments.

She said Cogta "will continue to collaborate with the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment (DFFE) in supporting the district municipalities to develop the district climate change adaptation plans as well as providing capacity-building programmes to the district municipalities on climate change with the view to facilitate mainstreaming of climate consideration into the municipal planning system."

She said this will be done with the development of various tools such as Greenbook and Lets-respond Toolkit, which are aimed at offering the municipality with tools that could be used in planning for climate change response, she said.

In April, flooding left more than 400 dead and 40 000 people displaced, with billions of rands worth of damage caused to homes and infrastructure.

READ | Hundreds evacuated as KZN floods wreak havoc while 3 bodies, 2 with 'gunshot wounds', found near river

At the weekend, there was more flooding causing havoc and damage to infrastructure.

Dlamini-Zuma said inter-departmental support complements the current and planned work on disaster management planning and impact-based early warning training with the South African Weather Service.

Local residents move to safety after they were trapped following heavy rains and winds in Umdloti north of Durban, in yet more flooding in KZN.

"The National Disaster Management Centre (NDMC) and the South African Weather Service will conduct impact based training for all districts in KwaZulu-Natal for the 2022/23 financial year."

The South African Weather Service and the NDMC will continue issuing weekly impact-based early warnings for approaching severe weather systems, especially in the eastern coastal area.

"The NDMC will continue to distribute seasonal plans to all disaster management stakeholders highlighting hazard-prone areas for medium-term planning and informed decision-making," she said.

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