Disaster relief

  • Government allocated R6 billion in 2018/19 for disaster relief.


  • According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks of Highest Concern for Doing Business, water crises is the fourth most notable risk for undertaking business in South Africa (preceded by unemployment and underdevelopment, failure of national government and state collapse).


  • In January 2018 it was announced that Cape Town would run out of water within 90 days due to drought.
    At the height of the drought, daily water usage was capped at 50 litres per person in the Western Cape, while the City of Cape Town sought to source in excess of 100 million litres of water per day from the Cape Flats and Table Mountain aquifers. Winter rainfall averted Day Zero, but water restrictions will only be reviewed once dam levels reach 85%. The drought also severely impacted the Northern Cape and the Eastern Cape.


  • On average, Cape Town experiences between 6 000 and 9 000 vegetation fires during the summer months. Due to the drought, the City of Cape Town’s Fire and Rescue Service used an air foam system to contain fires.


  • According to a 2018 paper by the Research Alliance for Disasters and Risk Reduction, titled Investigating Energy Usage Among Low Income Households and Implications for Fire Risk, about 67% of low income households in South Africa used energy stacking, even though they had access to electricity, and alternated between electric and non-electric (mainly paraffin) energy sources to meet their daily energy needs.
● Corporates should set aside budget and clarify decision-making processes so that they can respond
to distasters quickly and effectively.
● Most disaster relief funding goes towards attending to the immediate needs of those affected by
disasters. While this is essential, funders should consider the long-term impact of disasters. Funds can
be put aside for reconstruction and rehabilitation programmes following a disaster.
● Although efforts are made to deal with disasters once they have occurred, less emphasis is placed on
preventive strategies aimed at saving lives and protecting assets before they are lost. Programmes
that prevent or minimise damage, and therefore save costs, may be the best investment.