SOUTH AFRICA: Deadly Storm Likely to Encourage Stronger Contingency Responses

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Summary: Pretoria’s experience with the COVID-19 pandemic and now the effects of one of the deadliest storms on record will almost certainly result in aggressive contingency planning to prevent negative impacts of future crises.

Development: On 18 April, the South African National Defense Force (SANDF) activated 10,000 troops to help with recovery efforts after severe downpours caused flooding and mudslides. The flooding and mudslides resulted in at least 443 deaths and 63 people still missing. Damage includes destroyed roads, homes, and schools. In addition to the structural damage, most people cannot access power and clean water. Premier Sihle Zikalala stated that Pretoria learned from the mistakes made during the COVID-19 crisis and that it planned to handle this crisis differently.

Analysis: Having now dealt with two crises, Pretoria will likely take aggressive preventative measures after recovering from the current crisis. This will likely come in the form of increased assessments of flood zones and regulations on the locations of new buildings within them. Additionally, rebuilding will almost certainly take place with future crises in mind, likely resulting in structures that better withstand the forces of floodwater and water storage more immune to mudslides.

[Savannah Gallop]

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