Original Research

Dissemination and participation in early warnings and disaster risk reduction in South Africa

Collins Muhame, Alice Ncube, Yonas T. Bahta
Jàmbá: Journal of Disaster Risk Studies | Vol 16, No 1 | a1566 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jamba.v16i1.1566 | © 2024 Collins Muhame, Alice Ncube, Yonas T. Bahta | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 18 July 2023 | Published: 31 January 2024

About the author(s)

Collins Muhame, Disaster Management Training and Education Centre for Africa (DiMTEC), Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa
Alice Ncube, Disaster Management Training and Education Centre for Africa (DiMTEC), Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa
Yonas T. Bahta, Department of Agricultural Economics, Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa

Abstract

Governments cannot effectively manage and handle disasters, particularly at the local community level, without actively engaging vulnerable people. The key to achieving sustainability in disaster recovery is community participation and information dissemination. The informal settlements’ lack of access to information and public engagement hampered their ability to recovery, thus prompting this study. Therefore, many cities and intervention partnerships faced information and participation gaps in disaster risk reduction (DRR). The study’s rationale was to determine the participation and communication of Khayalitjha household heads, regarding DRR information dissemination for sustainable human settlement, using a cross-sectional household survey of 295 household heads from Khayalitjha in situ informal settlement in the Free State provinces of South Africa. The security of dwelling unit tenure concept was an indirect indicator used to measure social resilience. The key findings revealed that community volunteers, ward committee members and most of the respondents, were responsible for initiating the DRR and disaster preparedness planning process. This indicated that local government needs to strengthen the human resource capacity building for DRR management information dissemination at a local level. The church, school, WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram were the preferred modes of communication for early warnings of disaster information.

Contribution: Despite advocating for a multidisciplinary stakeholder approach, urban DRR studies tend to ignore communities in high disaster-risk areas. Employing social resilience, it aims to extend the DRR information dissemination strategy to in situ informal settlements beyond the communication and public participation advocacy strategies of local municipal urban cities.


Keywords

metropolitan; non-metropolitan cities; ward committee; disaster preparedness; sustainable human settlement; urban resilience; informal settlement

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 11: Sustainable cities and communities

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