Khwezi Science Report

PODCAST | We're in a pandemic — but other extreme events are also on their way

10 June 2021 - 07:36 By tanya farber
Clouds gather but produce no rain as cracks are seen in the dried up municipal dam in drought-stricken Graaff-Reinet, South Africa, November 14, 2019.
Clouds gather but produce no rain as cracks are seen in the dried up municipal dam in drought-stricken Graaff-Reinet, South Africa, November 14, 2019.
Image: Mike Hutchings

According to the Institute for Security Studies, by the end of May this year, all nine provinces in the country had experienced a drought in 2021 while the Western Cape had also seen a series of devastating wildfires.

LISTEN | Five key tips: We're in a pandemic — but other extreme events are also on their way

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SA has had 90 noticeable weather-related disasters since the early 1980s
The International Disaster Database

The International Disaster Database has also reported that the country has had “90 noticeable weather-related disasters since the early 1980s” and that these events have caused about “R95bn in associated economic losses” while directly affecting around 22 million South Africans.

This is a 57% increase from the previous two decades.

With the country and the world now battling the Covid-19 pandemic, countless strengths and weaknesses have been revealed in how prepared we are for dealing with such a crisis.

For environmental expert Gina Ziervogel, an associate professor at the University of Cape Town, it is dangerous to think of any disaster as happening in a vacuum: there is always the potential for another disaster to strike at the same time, inequality still plagues the country and globe, and any “preparedness” should have the capacity to deal with several different types of disasters.

She recently spoke to Tanya Farber for the Khwezi Science Report, and shared five key insights and tips for our journey into a troubled future.

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