Disasters and Disaster Risk Management in South Africa

  • Christina CulwickEmail author
Part of the World Regional Geography Book Series book series (WRGBS)


The connection between sustainable development and disaster risk reduction is widely accepted. Rapid urbanisation and climate change are both likely to increase the frequency and intensity of disasters, with the urban poor in the Global South at greatest risk. South Africa faces the dual challenge of addressing post-apartheid developmental challenges and increasing disaster risk from climate change and urbanisation. Despite this challenge, South Africa’s disaster risk reduction legislation is globally praised for its strong focus on proactive risk reduction rather than disaster response and recovery. Disaster risk management includes developing an understanding of hazards, reducing disaster risk, and developing capacity to cope with disaster impacts. This chapter uses case studies from South Africa to present the context of natural disasters and how disaster risk management is evolving. It explores how disaster risk management in South Africa can be enhanced through learning from past disasters, ‘building back better’, anticipating and preparing for future disasters, mobilising community-based adaptations, and using mobile technology and social media.


Climate change Disaster risk reduction Everyday risk accumulation Sustainable development Urban environments 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Gauteng City-Region Observatory, a partnership between the University of Johannesburg, the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, Gauteng Provincial Government and organised local government in GautengJohannesburgSouth Africa

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