Original Research

Preliminary assessment of the gender aspects of disaster vulnerability and loss of human life in South Africa

Roman Tandlich, Tatenda G. Chirenda, Chandra S.S. Srinivas
Jàmbá: Journal of Disaster Risk Studies | Vol 5, No 2 | a84 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jamba.v5i2.84 | © 2013 Roman Tandlich, Tatenda G. Chirenda, Chandra S.S. Srinivas | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 17 January 2013 | Published: 18 March 2013

About the author(s)

Roman Tandlich, Division of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Faculty of Pharmacy, Rhodes University, South Africa
Tatenda G. Chirenda, Division of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Faculty of Pharmacy, Rhodes University, South Africa
Chandra S.S. Srinivas, Division of Pharmacy Administration and Practice, Faculty of Pharmacy, Rhodes University, South Africa


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Abstract

South Africa has reached a medium level of human development and has a heterogeneous situation with respect to disaster risk management. In this article, a preliminary assessment of the gender aspects of disaster vulnerability and fatalities is presented. The United Nations, the Health Systems Trust and Statistics South Africa were used as data sources for the following gender-segregated values: the life expectancy at birth, unemployment rates, the human development index values, the maternal mortality rates and the number of deaths from unnatural and non-natural causes. The relevant inequality indices were then calculated and used to draw conclusions regarding the gender aspects of disaster risk management in South Africa. Results of the calculations indicate that between 1980 and 2011 men were 10% more vulnerable with respect to their health status. However, the gender differences have been decreasing in recent years. Access of women to healthcare is decreasing with time, potentially decreasing the recovery potential of whole families. Women are more economically vulnerable than men in South Africa, as they are 16.3% – 33% more likely to be unemployed than men. Educational status of both genders in South Africa is comparable based on literacy and enrolment rates at primary and secondary level. On the other hand, men are five times more likely to suffer fatal injuries during disasters.


Keywords

disaster-related fatalities; gender-adjusted death rates; South Africa; literacy inequality; maternal healthcare

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