Disaster risk management in local government : a case study of Foreman and Kennedy Road informal settlements, eThekwini Municipality, KwaZulu-Natal
Ngcamu, Bethuel Sibongiseni
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Disasters have inflicted a heavy cost on human, materials and physical resources, and degradation to the environment. Furthermore, disasters have negative physical impacts (which include casualities and property damage) and social impacts (which include psych-osocial, socio-demographic, socioeconomic, and socio-political). A comprehensive review of the literature has revealed that the development of disaster management strategies must be undertaken before the event strikes. Moreover, disaster management requires effective community-based strategies which will include programmes and measures to prevent, prepare, mitigate and recover from the impacts of disasters. The purpose of the study is to contribute to the formulation of a robust disaster management framework and plan including the creation of a fully equipped disaster management centre within the eThekwini Municipality. Moreover, to enable the disaster management department within the eThekwini Municipality to function effectively and efficiently by applying new systematic strategies in disaster risk reduction. Futhermore, to add value to the body of knowledge in South Africa as there are limited number of research on disaster management, and to add value to policy, protmote investment and protect vulnerable communities by implementing disaster prevention, preparedness and mitigation. The research was undertaken at Foreman and Kennedy Road informal settlements located in Clare Estate within Ward 25. A disaster management survey was self-administered to the population size of 220 respondents from which 140 respondents completed the questionnaires thereby generating a response rate of 63.6%. Interveiws were also conducted amongst eThekwini Municipality officials dealing mainly with disaster reduction. The dimensions of the study are disaster preparedness, prevention, response, recovery and rehabilitation, financial implications and future expectations. The data was analysed using Statistical Packages for Social Scientists (SPSS). Associations between variables were determined using Pearson chi-square. This study presents the research findings on disaster management by using frequency iv tables, graphs and cross-tabulations tables which have been compiled for each question. Analysis of the data revealed significant differences between the biographical variables (age, gender, marital status, education, occupation, income, number of children, number of dependants, race and tenure) and the five dimensions (disaster preparedness, mitigation, response, recovery and rehabilitation, financial implications and future expectations) respectively. Interpretation of results indicated that there exists significant relationships amongst the key variables of the study relating to disaster management. This study contributes to various academic disciplines, local government and society at large as it suggests strategies and recommendations that may be implemented to overcome disaster management challenges and attain disaster risk reduction. The study recommends that eThekwini Municipality should comply with the Disaster Management Act 57 of 2002 which requires the establishment of a disaster management centre, disaster management framework and the plan. Furthermore, the study recommended that the council should develop a system to classify hazard mitigation strategies in terms of five categories which are hazard source control, community protection works, land-use practices, building construction practices and building contents protection. The study recommends that the eThekwini Municipality should recognise recovery period mitigation and incorporate this objective into recovery planning. On the financial implications aspect, the study recommends that eThekwini Municipality should provide financial assistance on the disaster management prevention and preparedness strategies.