HAMNET Report 1st May 2022

By Tuesday this week, the Global Disaster Alert Coordination System was starting to report on the newly formed Tropical Storm JASMINE which was moving eastwards over the Mozambique Channel, towards the south-western coast of Madagascar. On 26 April at 4.00 UTC, its centre was located about 240 km east of Toliara City, with maximum sustained winds of 116 km/h.

JASMINE was forecast to make landfall in the afternoon of 26 April in an area close to Toliara, with maximum sustained winds up to 105 km/h. After the landfall it was expected to weaken, dissipating on 27 April over Atsimo-Andrefana Region.

According to the Madagascar National Bureau of Disaster Risk Management (BNGRC)’s latest provisional damage report of April 27th, three people had died, 7 people were missing, 197 people had been affected in 56 households, and 88 people were displaced in an accommodation site. Some 57 houses had been totally or partially destroyed.

Relief efforts for those affected by the recent floods in KwaZulu-Natal are continuing, with the Social Protection, Community and Human Development Cluster especially giving thanks to the community groups that have volunteered and donated in assistance.

In a media briefing led by the Minister of Health, and including Ministers of Basic Education, and Social Development, the departments provided an update on the relief efforts.

The ministers in the cluster have at various times this week visited different parts of the provinces in the affected areas to assess the damage caused and to seek ways of assisting those in need.

The priority, they said, was placed on providing immediate support to women, children, older persons and persons with disabilities.

Providing a run-down of the numbers, Dr Joe Phaahla reported that there are 98 shelters where over 8 400 people are being housed in community halls, religious facilities, and other temporary structures within communities.

The majority of the people housed in shelters are women, 4700 in fact, 1 700 are children under 10 years of age, 1 000 are older persons and there are 217 people with disabilities.

“Working with the province and local municipalities, where shelters are identified, the DSD teams have been providing cooked meals, blankets and dignity packs, working with NPOs, churches, corporates and committee members, to displaced individuals. Our Community Nutrition and Development Centres (CNDCs) have also been providing this support on a daily basis. Specific focus has been on children who have been displaced from schools and those who have lost family members or belongings,” Dr Phaahla said.

He added that the teams have also been providing much needed psychosocial support and debriefings with families and individuals in affected communities. Social Workers have reached over 15 983 people in this regard, and these services are ongoing. Sassa has provided Social Distress Relief (SDR) to more than 3 000 people to the tune of almost R5 million, and purchased uniforms for learners to the value of R372 000, targeting flood victims in eThekwini and iLembe Districts.

Human activity and behaviour is contributing to an increasing number of disasters across the world, putting millions of lives in danger, together with a wide range of social and economic gains over recent decades, a new UN report published on Tuesday warns.

The Global Assessment Report (GAR2022), released by the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) ahead of next month’s Global Platform on reducing risk, reveals that between 350 and 500 medium to large-scale disasters took place every year over the past two decades.

The number of disaster events is projected to reach 560 a year – or 1.5 each day, statistically speaking – by 2030.

The GAR2022 blames these disasters on a broken perception of risk based on “optimism, underestimation and invincibility,” which leads to policy, finance and development decisions that exacerbate existing vulnerabilities and put people in danger.

“The world needs to do more to incorporate disaster risk in how we live, build and invest, which is setting humanity on a spiral of self-destruction,” said Amina Mohammed, UN Deputy Secretary-General, who presented the report at the UN headquarters in New York.

“We must turn our collective complacency to action. Together we can slow the rate of preventable disasters as we work to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for everyone, everywhere.”

The report entitled, Our World at Risk: Transforming Governance for a Resilient Future, found that the implementation of disaster risk reduction strategies, as called for in the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction agreed in 2015, had reduced both the number of people impacted, and killed by disasters, in the last decade.

However, the scale and intensity of disasters are increasing, with more people killed or affected, in the last five years, than in the previous five.

And disasters disproportionately impact developing countries, which lose an average of one percent of GDP a year to disasters, compared to less than 0.3 per cent in developed countries.

Thank you to moderndiplomacy for these notes.

After all this doom and gloom, allow me some latitude to attempt to put some humour into the bulletin.

If you haven’t been disconnected from all forms of news in the last 10 weeks or so, you’ll know of the major conflict playing itself out in Eastern Europe. We watch with horror, and listen to many reports of all sorts of military horror taking place there.

Now, my role is not to be political, so I will say nothing about that, but one has to wonder at all the military and technical cleverness happening in the air and on the ground. I certainly don’t support war, and I’m sure you don’t either, so any attempt on either side to make life difficult for the other faction has to be lauded, because it retards the violent actions of the opposition.

I also recognize that the kind of reporting we hear is biased, and one-sided, and the opposing nations can probably describe stories of all sorts of cruelty and demoralising activities on the part of A against B, and of course, B against A.

But in the face of it all, and in the presence of all the tanks, artillery, troop carriers, aircraft, drones and what-not, built of high quality steel, I find it ironic and darkly humorous, that the one side is trying to jam the other side’s radio transmissions with music described as “heavy metal”..

Quite appropriate, don’t you think?

This is Dave Reece ZS1DFR reporting for HAMNET in South /Africa.