DMISA Disaster Risk Reduction Conference 2019
The Disaster Management Institute of Southern Africa (DMISA) held its annual conference on 18 and 19 September 2019 at the ATKV Resort in Hartenbos, Mossel Bay in the Western Cape and was supported by the South African National Disaster Management Centre (NDMC), Santam and the South African Weather Service (SAWS). This year’s conference was aptly themed ‘Adapting to extremes and limiting disaster loss: Pathways to integrated resilience and sustainability for basic services, critical infrastructure and thriving communities.’ The two-day conference is the biggest disaster management conference in Africa and provides an annual opportunity for a diverse range of stakeholders in disaster management from across Africa to gather and share skills, knowledge, expertise and experience.
Dr Mal Reddy led the customary candle lighting ceremony and a minute of silent reflection for those who had lost their lives and livelihoods during the past year to disasters followed by the introduction by DMISA President, Mduduzi Nxumalo.
Mossel Bay Municipality’s Clr Anton Dellemijn spoke on behalf of the Executive Mayor of Mossel Bay, Alderman Levendal, welcoming all to Hartenbos.
Dr Mmaphaka Tau, Head: National Disaster Management Centre (NDMC), South Africa delivered the keynote address and official opening on behalf of Dr Nkosozana Dlamini Zuma, National Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs.
DMISA Board Member, Dr Johan Minnie, shared the current status quo on Professionalisation, recent DMISA achievements and an overview of the conference approach and theme.
NDMC head, Dr Mmaphaka Tau, provided an overview of Disaster Management in South Africa from the perspective of the NDMC and Mnikeli Ndabambi, acting CEO of the South African Weather Service (SAWS), discussed the weather/climate enterprise under the Fourth Industrial Revolution: Opportunities for adapting to extremes.
The majority of presentations focussed around the recently launched Green Book by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) with an overview and introduction to the Green Book provided by Willemien van Niekerk, senior researcher at the CSIR. Greg Forsyth, senior project manager at the CSIR shared an insightful presentation on ‘Wildfire risk in South Africa - now and in the future’. Dr Johan Malherbe, senior researcher at the CSIR discussed the impact of climate change on drought and Dr David la Maitre, principle researcher at the CSIR shared the ‘Development of a practical decision support tool for improved flood risk management at the settlement level’. Willemien van Niekerk furthermore explained ‘The impact of climate change and urbanisation on South Africa's settlements in 2050: Why we need to start adapting now’. Nabeel Rylands, director, district and local municipal performance monitoring and ICT for the Western Cape Government presented on ‘Linking the Green Book, risk assessments and geographic information system (GIS) to the Integrated Development Plan (IDP) – a case study from the Sarah Baartman District Municipality’.
Greg Forsyth also shared the research findings and lessons learned from the Knysna Fires of 2017 while Lebogang Makgati, senior forecaster at SAWS discussed the lessons learnt from Cyclone Idai.
A panel discussion on ‘Adapting to extremes and limiting disaster loss, insurance perspectives’ followed with Dr Johan Minnie of the Disaster Risk Management Centre of the City of Cape Town as facilitator. Panel members included Thabiso Rulashe, Strategy at Santam, who discussed the risk protection gap and Cedric Masondo, CEO of South African Special Risk Insurance Association (SASRIA) who shared information on escalating social unrest and implications for state insurance.
Mr K Harald Drager, President of The International Emergency Management Society (TIEMS), discussed trends in international emergency management and shared an overview of TIEMS. He provided feedback of emergency management around the world and highlighted the challenges and lessons learned during and after major disasters, outbreaks and events.
Francis Hoets of DMS NPC discussed ‘Dynamic ‘real-time’ disaster risk profiling for a resilient future’ after which a number of plenary sessions followed.
We will be publishing an indepth overview of the DMISA 2019 Conference in the Disaster Management Journal, which is the official journal for DMISA.
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