An integrated model for disaster risk assessment for local government in South Africa
The intensifying nature and extent of disasters together with the associated devastation and astronomical costs required to manage the rippling effects of disasters, enunciates the national and international focus on disaster risk reduction. Further the ever evolving and complex dynamics of risk as the decisive contributor to disasters has heightened the urgency to pursue effective disaster risk assessment as a prerequisite to inform the disaster risk management planning and disaster risk reduction intervention processes. A structured and systematic approach to disaster risk assessment assists in maintaining rigour thus promoting the quality and validity of the process and its outcomes. Appropriate models serve as valuable tools in enabling this methodological perspective to undertake disaster risk assessment. The nonexistence of an appropriate disaster risk assessment model in South Africa has initiated the emphasis and purpose of this study thereby underscoring the critical need for the development of an effective, holistic and integrated disaster risk assessment model for local government in South Africa. In spear heading the process towards the development of an appropriate disaster risk assessment model, the research commenced with establishing and asserting the fundamental link between disaster risk assessment and disaster risk reduction as an avenue to contextualise and ground the key issues in effective disaster risk reduction. The exploratory analysis engaged in presenting a theoretical construct of disaster risk assessment examined the core components informing the disaster risk assessment process. This discussion led to the comparative review of three disaster risk assessment models viz the Community-Wide Vulnerability and Capacity Assessment (CVCA) Model, the Community-Based Risk Reduction Model and the South African Disaster Risk Assessment Model interrogating the significant characteristics, structure and application of the models. The results of the comparison of the above three models provided the necessary insight for the development of the disaster risk assessment model for local government in South Africa. Further influenced by the outcomes of the applied research on the critical analysis of the current disaster risk assessment practice within the four selected municipalities representing local government in South Africa; viz eThekwini Metropolitan, Ekurhuleni Metropolitan, Bojanala District and Stellenbosch local Municipalities. Through the data coding, classification and interpretive process, constructive and correlated research findings were immanent guiding the final development of the integrated disaster risk assessment model for local government in South Africa.
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