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Susceptible Towns and Cities

August 14, 2021

Recent disasters such as the Western Cape drought, the 2017 Knysna fires and floods in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng in 2019 illustrate just how susceptible our cities and towns are to these dangers and weather patterns. Five months into 2021, all nine provinces have experienced floods on top of a series of devastating fires in the Western Cape and at the cusp of July it was snowing in the Drakensberg.

As of Thursday, 12 August 2021 high winds, and the increased snowfall, have affected road conditions and the flow of traffic, causing congestion and delays in parts of the Eastern Cape and KZN.

Without urgent adaptation measures, South African cities and towns will be hard hit, leaving millions exposed and vulnerable to climate change.

The International Disaster Database recorded 90 noticeable weather-related disasters in South Africa since the early 1980s. These events caused R95 billion in associated economic losses and directly affected around 22 million South Africans.

Current projections are for a further population growth of 24 million people over the next three decades, most of which will occur in urban areas. This expected increase coupled with poor land-use practices, housing backlogs and slow economic growth will expose even more people to the impacts of floods, wildfires and droughts.

South Africa has a well-developed National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy (NCCAS).

The actions have been outlined but implementation is slow and ad hoc. Although the private sector and civil society are mentioned throughout the strategy, their roles are critically undervalued. To achieve a level of adaptation that will safeguard communities and infrastructure, these two sectors must be more involved.

From → Mzansi

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