Natural disasters in African countries : what can we learn about them?
Problems posed by disasters have become increasingly important for all African governments. Every year a variety of disasters occurs in Sub-Saharan Africa and these are becoming more prevalent. This article presents an analysis of statistical surveys for natural disasters in different regions of Africa over a 30-year period from 1974 to 2003. It shows that disaster frequency is increasing on the continent. The investigation of the data demonstrates that the East Africa region is under the greatest threat from natural disasters. In 2008, climatological disasters, notably droughts, claimed many victims in the eastern part of Africa, with more than one third of the population affected in Djibouti, Eritrea, and Somalia. The region has experienced the highest recorded number of disaster events for the past 30 years, followed by the West Africa region. The Southern Africa region is placed third as far as the frequency of disaster events in sub-Saharan Africa is concerned. The least disaster prone region is central Africa. The observations made in this analysis relate to the economic losses in different regions from the impact of natural disasters. In some instances, recovery from economic loss could not be recouped because of stunted growth and other internal problems in these countries. In addition, this article suggests some strategies to mitigate the problem of natural hazards in sub-Saharan Africa.