Risk must be managed before disaster

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Dr Logan Munsamy

Managing the risk of a disaster is more important than managing the disaster itself. This was according to lecturer in the Department of Government Management at the Central University of Technology Free State Dr Logan Munsamy.

Munsamy delivered a presentation at the Nature Inspired Solutions for the built Environment Online Sandpit event hosted by the University of East London.

“When we talk about natural disasters, it’s commonly assumed that it is beyond humanity, but global warming suggests that human behaviour is the cause of climate change resulting in erratic weather patterns which causes mass natural disasters, and the end result is poverty alleviation and sustainable development.

“How ironic that we talk about poverty alleviation and sustainable development when we ourselves are responsible for disasters via global warming and climate change. And be that as it may the most vulnerable communities are the poorest of them all,” expressed Dr Munsamy.

He further explained that disaster risk reduction is a multisectoral and multi-dimensional activity where developing resilience and building on community resilience is essential.

“Most poverty stricken communities do not have a voice or the political connections or access to support and because of that they rely on their own indigenous knowledge systems and developing their own adaptation strategies,” said the lecturer.

“To reduce the risk factors, we need to build on community resilience, we need to make sure that there is a strong institutional base at local and national level with priority being at local level. We need to identify and enhance early warning systems. We need to use the knowledge and innovation to build a culture of safety and resilience at all levels,” concluded Dr Munsamy.

Nomaqhawe Mtebele

nomaqhawe@mahareng.co.za