Natural Disasters in New Orleans and South Term Paper

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¶ … Natural Disasters in New Orleans and South Africa

Environmental Science

The objective of this work is to compare the natural disasters of New Orleans and South Africa in terns of survival statistics and in relation to children of natural disasters in terms of symptomology, interventions and resources in rebuilding the urban places after disaster. Lessons have been learned by both South Africa and New Orleans humanitarian aid work efforts both in terms of what could have been perceived both in mitigation of disaster and all the superstorms to come on for these and other areas throughout the world. There is however, a silver lining in the clouds behind the devastation and disaster of the storms in that awareness now exists about what can be done proactively to prepare for and reduce the potentialities of these natural disaster.

INTRODUCTION

This work examines both South Africa and New Orleans from the aspect of a critical analysis of what might have been done to mitigate some of the damage inflicted by the natural disasters in these two instances and further to envision what might be done in retrospect to strengthen the response of humanitarian efforts in these two occurrences of a natural disaster.

I. DISASTER ASSESSMENT of SOUTH AFRICA & NEW ORLEANSGet full Download Microsoft Word File access
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Term Paper on Natural Disasters in New Orleans and South Assignment

The work entitled: "The Role of Institutions in Reducing Vulnerability to Recurrent Natural Disasters in sustainable livelihoods development: Case Study South-Africa" relates the incidence in March 2003 when: "...a powerful weather system swept across the South Western Cape triggering widespread loss, damage and human hardship. " (Department of Social Services and Poverty Alleviation of the Provincial Government of the Western Cape. & United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and the Provincial Development Council of the Western Cape, 2005) the study of the Department of Social Services and Poverty Alleviation of he Provincial Government of the Western Cape, along with the Provincial Development Councils and the United Nations Food and Agricultural organization in a research partnership that recorded flood levels in the incidence and in a multidisciplinary method in the team formed to address this research area. The research was inclusive of involvement of specialists in climate research, flood hydrology, land-use, social risk assessment, disaster management and disaster impact analysis..." (Department of Social Services and Poverty Alleviation of the Provincial Government of the Western Cape. & United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and the Provincial Development Council of the Western Cape, 2005) an extensive report is said to have been written concerning disease management and disaster impact analysis. The focus of the report states an intent of illustrating "the interrelationships between the physical aspects of the hazard process, patterns of social vulnerability and the role of intervening institutional mechanisms to mediate the impact of extreme weather events." (Department of Social Services and Poverty Alleviation of the Provincial Government of the Western Cape. & United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and the Provincial Development Council of the Western Cape, 2005) it is reported in the work of the Department of Social Services and Poverty Alleviation of the Provincial Government of the Western Cape that:

The weather system, as it crossed the Western Cape, was indeed extreme. Heavy rainfalls were recorded in Montagu, Ashton and Barrydale. Gale-force winds were recorded in the Southern Cape. Unseasonally low temperatures were recorded from Montagu (10oC) to Port Elizabeth (5.9oC). This combination of heavy rainfall, strong winds and cold temperatures resulted in a diversity of impacts on infrastructure, the agricultural sector, livestock, electricity services and people - depending on which elements were vulnerable and exposed to the weather system." (Department of Social Services and Poverty Alleviation of the Provincial Government of the Western Cape. & United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and the Provincial Development Council of the Western Cape, 2005)

Those most affected were individuals who lived in homes that were constructed poorly. Identification of areas and communities that were affected had no uniformity. The results show that some communities received relief while others did not. Relief agencies were not well represented insofar as informing these individuals of what relief they were entitled to with many failing to miss such relief funding as Social Security for water-damaged property replacement. The report states: "...In these communities, rain or flood-affected households managed their losses alone or, in the case of many farm-workers residing on farms, repaired their homes with the farmer's assistance." (Department of Social Services and Poverty Alleviation of the Provincial Government of the Western Cape. & United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and the Provincial Development Council of the Western Cape, 2005) the rebuilding effort relates:

The function of the committee was to source building materials, which included 400 bags of cement, bricks, sand and water-resistant paint. All these materials were bought in bulk to save overall costs. The Swellendam Municipality facilitated the building and provided technical assistance from the engineering department in the municipality. To complement this, local builders in Suurbraak were asked to volunteer their expertise. The municipality also provided storage for all the building materials, which were delivered to Suurbraak on 19 June, and facilitated transportation from the storeroom to various points within Suurbraak. It was intended that the community begin rebuilding on Monday 23 June 2003. This case illustrates how collaborative partnerships between the local residents, local institutions and the local authorities can strengthen community ownership of risk in constructive and capacity-building ways that achieve long-term risk reduction." (Department of Social Services and Poverty Alleviation of the Provincial Government of the Western Cape. & United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and the Provincial Development Council of the Western Cape, 2005)

The problem here was however, that most of the residents of Suurbraak did not join in the Building Committee but instead "opted to replace household belongings such as carpets and cupboards as well as pay-off municipal debts and purchase needed food." (Department of Social Services and Poverty Alleviation of the Provincial Government of the Western Cape. & United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and the Provincial Development Council of the Western Cape, 2005) a needs assessment conducted in Ashbury shows the following statistics in terms of what was needed and claims were filed for in reality.

Needs Assessment

Social Relief claims

Wet walls

Walls are wet/cracked

Leaking roof

Swollen door

Broken window (Source: Department of Social Services and Poverty Alleviation of the Provincial Government of the Western Cape. & United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and the Provincial Development Council of the Western Cape, 2005)

Disaster Costs in South Africa

Source: Case Study Rapid Onset of Natural Disasters in South Africa (2007)

Case study findings on long-term implications relating to a reduction in the future purchase of building materials results in the "...increasing the vulnerability of these households to not only extreme weather events, but also normal seasonal winter rainfall. As it is reported that houses leak every winter and that this is an ongoing problem, which is made more acute and more obvious by the extremeness of the rains, the long-term implications for simply managing normal winter rainfall are similarly problematic. The following figure lists the percentage of total loss by organization and administration in South Africa due to natural disaster and specifically flooding.

Impact Reports

By Organization / Administration

No. Of Recorded Impacts

Losses

Total Loss

Provincial Government*

Dept. Of Water Affairs and Forestry

Dept. Of Agriculture

Dept. Of Education

Nature Conservation (Dept. Of Environmental Affairs and Tourism)

Emergency Services

Roads

Subtotal

District and Local Municipalities**

Breede River/Winelands

George ***

Kannaland

Knysna ***

Langeberg

Swellendam

Haarlem (under Eden District Municipality)

Subtotal

Private Sector****

Eskom

Agricultural land and infrastructure

Irrigation Boards

Private Insurance

Bellair Dam

Subtotal

Social Relief

National Dept of Social Development

Total (Source: Department of Social Services and Poverty Alleviation of the Provincial Government of the Western Cape. & United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and the Provincial Development Council of the Western Cape, 2005)

The conclusions of this work states that research on post-disaster events can "accurately 'capture' and consolidate otherwise lost information on disaster events. Disaster research can provide a platform for change, building on lessons learned." (Department of Social Services and Poverty Alleviation of the Provincial Government of the Western Cape. & United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and the Provincial Development Council of the Western Cape, 2005)

II. FLOODING GREATEST RISK in SOUTH AFRICA & NEW ORLEANS

The greatest risks faced by the South African countries and the New Orleans area are the risk of flooding and associated weather devastations. In fact, this risk is so much greater that it becomes glaringly clear that these areas desperately needed structural housing reform in poverty areas that were destroyed which would have served to save homes, communities, schools and lives.

Natural Disaster Risk Hotspots: Flood

Source: World Bank (2005)

The same map shows that mortality risks are almost nonexistent in New Orleans and medium to some high risks in South Africa. However, the damage to homes and communities is an extremely high risk. During Hurricane Katrina, a devastating path was cut across Mississippi damaging a 30-mile… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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