Original Research

The December 2004-January 2005 floods in the Garden Route region of the Southern Cape, South Africa

Johan Tempelhoff, Dewald van Niekerk, Elize van Eeden, Ina Gouws, Karin Botha, Rabson Wurige
Jàmbá: Journal of Disaster Risk Studies | Vol 2, No 2 | a18 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jamba.v2i2.18 | © 2009 Johan Tempelhoff, Dewald van Niekerk, Elize van Eeden, Ina Gouws, Karin Botha, Rabson Wurige | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 25 April 2009 | Published: 25 April 2009

About the author(s)

Johan Tempelhoff, Professor of History, School of Basic Sciences North-West University, Vaal Triangle Campus, South Africa, South Africa
Dewald van Niekerk, Director: African Centre for Disaster Studies, North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus, South Africa
Elize van Eeden, Professor of History, School of Basic Sciences, North-West University, Vaal Triangle Campus, South Africa, South Africa
Ina Gouws, Lecturer in Political Science, School of Basic Sciences North-West University, Vaal Triangle Campus, South Africa
Karin Botha, Subject Group Tourism Management, School for Business Management North-West University Potchefstroom Campus South Africa
Rabson Wurige, Post-doctoral fellow Water research group, CuDyWat North-West University, Vaal Triangle Campus, South Africa

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Abstract

The December 2004-January 2005 floods in the Garden Route region of the Southern Cape in South Africa have had a significant impact on local development and economic activities, tourism products andlocal institutions. This article aims to capture the dynamism between a number of related fields within the context of transdisciplinary research. Qualitative research methods were used to target a representative sample of the affected population. This article considers the history of the flooding events of December 2004/January 2005 along the Garden Route, as well as the manner in which emergency/disaster management personnel responded to the crisis. The effect of the floods on the tourism sector along the Garden Route was researched in general and the effects of the floods on tourists, local residents, and particularly communities in disadvantaged areas were specifically determined. The research reflects on the disaster risk management strategies that were in place at the time of the floods to determine what local authorities could have done to cope with the potential conditions of crisis. The research found that although some tourism products were severely affected, the 2004/2005 floods did not have a significant impact on the number of tourists frequenting the area. In terms of disaster risk management, concerns remain regarding the lack of the following factors: capacity, adequate early warning systems, proper infrastructure maintenance, local institutions, and an in-depth understanding of the disaster risk profile of the area.

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