RADAR RESEARCH PROJECTS

For over 10 years, RADAR has been focused on conducting research on hazards, vulnerabilities and risks within South Africa as well as engaging with partners to research risks elsewhere on the continent. Since it's days as DiMPRADAR has given priority to building understanding of disaster risks, particularly in the Western Cape province of South Africa, through extensive applied research into informal settlement risks, as well as the impacts resulting from recurrent extreme weather events. RADAR believes is of vital importance to address these underlying issues and contributing to risk reduction and building foundations towards more resilient and sustainable societies.

Below one can view the various research projects that RADAR has conducted or been involved with over the years. Most of these research projects are downloadable from this page, however several research articles may only include their abstracts with links to the full article.

 


 

OFF the RADAR - Synthesis Report: High Impact Weather Events in the Western Cape, South Africa 2003 - 2014

Authors: Robyn Pharoah, Alisa Holloway, Gillian Fortune, Arthur Chapman, Elisabeth Schaber and Patricia Zweig

Published: 2016

Between 2003 and 2014, South Africa’s Western Cape Province sustained costly flood losses in 12 disasters triggered by cut-off low (COL) pressure systems. In cooperation with the Western Cape’s Disaster Management Centre, RADAR completed   a two-step study, including  a detailed,  ‘end-to- end’ analysis of the COL-associated disasters from 2011- 2014, as well as a cumulative study of all COL-related disasters reported from 2003- 14.​

Download full report here

 


 

The Environment & Risk Reduction: Focus on Urban Risk: Input Paper Prepared for the IUDF Panel of Experts

Authors: Robyn Pharoah, Gillian Fortune, Vimbai Chasi and Ailsa Holloway

Published: 2013 (as Disaster Mitigation for Sustainable Livelihoods Programme - DiMP)

Urban areas are increasingly recognised as hotspots of disaster risk. They concentrate people, buildings and infrastructure, increasing exposure to hazards such as floods, fires, droughts or disease. Rapid urbanisation puts pressure on infrastructure and frequently outpaces both urban planning and service delivery, amplifying the potential for hazard events to become disasters.  This paper examines the nature of the urban risk environment in South Africa, the relevance of risk to urban development and the challenges of integrating risk issues into the urban agenda. It shows that urban populations experience a range of natural and human-induced threats, from poor sanitation and disease to dwelling fires, seasonal flooding and crime and violence. They also face a range of emerging threats, including communal violence and unrest, water scarcity, acid mine drainage and food insecurity, with inevitable GEC likely to extend and compound many of these problems. As elsewhere, it argues that these are likely to reduce and erode developmental gains.  
 
 
 

 

Eden & Central Karoo Drought Disaster 2009 - 2011: "The Scramble for Water"

The period 2008-2011 was reflected in exacting meteorological, hydrological and agricultural drought conditions across the Eden and Central Karoo District Municipalities in the Western Cape province of South Africa. The drought emergency generated a huge, complex operation by civil society, national, provincial and local governments which resulted in R 572.04m being allocated for drought response. This study by RADAR, commissioned by the Provincial Disaster Management Centre (PDMC) of the Western Cape, seeks to provide a comprehensive review and analysis of this devastating drought.

Download full report here

 


 

Severe Weather Compound Disaster: June 2007 Cut-off Lows and Their Consequences in the West Coast, South Africa

Authors: Gillian Fortune,  Ailsa Holloway, Michael Drowley & Leigh Sonn

Published: 2007 (as Disaster Mitigation for Sustainable Livelihoods Programme - DiMP)

The West Coast floods were the result of a cut-off low lasting from the 6th to the 11th of June, and a mid-latitude cyclone which persisted from the 25th to 26th of June. The combination of these two extreme weather events had devastating effects upon the West Coast District Municipal area. While deaths and displacement associated with the severe storms remained limited, the direct economic losses from the two events amounted to R128 million. This report consolidates the findings of research undertaken following the ‘cut-off low events’ of June 2007, as commissioned by the National Disaster Management Centre, and departments of Local Government and Housing, as well as Public Works and Transport of the Western Cape Provincial Government.

Download full report here

 


 

Severe Weather Compound Disaster: August 2006 cut-off lows and their consequences in the Southern Cape, South Africa

Authors: Gillian Fortune,  Ailsa Holloway, Michael Drowley & Leigh Sonn

Published: 2006 (as Disaster Mitigation for Sustainable Livelihoods Programme - DiMP)

In August 2006, two cut-off low weather systems severely affected the Southern Cape, resulting in widespread damage and hardship. The impacts sustained in these events reflect the fifth experience of severe weather losses within the Western Cape since 2003 and which cumulatively total close to a billion rands in direct economic damage. While deaths and displacement associated with severe storms thankfully remain limited in the Western Cape, the direct economic losses from the 2006 events exceeded R 509 million, more than double those sustained in 2003. This report consolidates the findings of research undertaken following the ‘cut-off low events’ of August 2006, as commissioned jointly by the National Disaster Management Centre, and the Departments of Local Government and Housing, as well as Public Works and Transport of the Western Cape Provincial Government.

Download full report here

 


 

Disaster Debriefing December 2004 Cut off Low. Cape Winelands, Eden and Overberg District, Central Karoo (Western Cape, South Africa)

Published: 2005 (as Disaster Mitigation for Sustainable Livelihoods Programme - DiMP)

The December 2004 Cut off Low triggered widespread flooding and rain damage across the Western Cape, specifically affecting the Overberg, Cape Winelands, Central Karoo and Eden District Municipalities. The extreme weather and subsequent flooding had severe direct and indirect impacts to local municipal infrastructure, the agricultural sector and vulnerable communities, such as households adjacent to riverine environments, low income housing and informal settlements. This extreme event was however not classified a disaster as was the case with the similar event which occurred in March 2003, when a cut off low triggered widespread damage and hardship to the Western Cape. The December 2004 Cut off Low therefore provides an important case study to assess institutional mechanisms to recover, reconstruct and rehabilitate following an extreme weather event, without the classification of a disaster.

Download full report here

 


 

African Urban Risk Analysis Network (AURAN): Final Report

Published: 2006 (as Disaster Mitigation for Sustainable Livelihoods Programme - DiMP)
 
The AURAN project placed an explicit emphasis on informal settlement fires, as these are an increasing priority risk in the City of Cape Town. The project specifically aimed at strengthening understanding of the drivers of risk in informal settlements as well as lowincome formal housing areas. It resulted in the updating of the MANDISA disaster events database2 from 1999 to 2004 – providing fifteen years of consolidated disaster incidents for the City of Cape Town. This provided an invaluable opportunity to obtain greater insight into the city’s risk profile, and has resulted in consolidation and geo-referencing of more than 19 000 incidents from 1990-2004. This initiative was implemented with an explicit emphasis on informing and strengthening prospective disaster risk management efforts in fire-prone informal households, communities and areas – as is required both by South Africa’s disaster management legislation and the Hyogo Framework for Action.
 
 
 

 

Monitoring and Mapping of Repeat Disasters in the Cape Town Metropolitan Area

Published: 2006 (as Disaster Mitigation for Sustainable Livelihoods Programme - DiMP)

In 1999 the Disaster Mitigation for Sustainable Livelihoods Programme (DiMP) at the University of Cape Town developed an approach for tracking recurrent urban disaster losses, known as MANDISA (Monitoring, Mapping and Analysis of Disaster Incidents in South Africa). This approach, developed in collaboration with a range of local partners, aimed to monitor both declared ‘disasters’, as well as large, medium and small scale incidents. MANDISA consolidates information in text as well as GIS formats, allowing for both spatial and temporal analysis of many different disaster types, with differing impacts and scales. This report aims to focus on the process of collecting and capturing data for MANDISA. This would include reflecting on information gathered through informal discussions with fire fighters. The challenges to them and to the project team are looked at. A consultative meeting was held with officials from the City. Suggestions from this meeting are included.

 
 

 

Monitoring and Mapping of Repeat Disasters in the Cape Town Metropolitan Area A Focus on Informal Settlement Fires

Published: 2006 (as Disaster Mitigation for Sustainable Livelihoods Programme - DiMP)

Downolad full report here

 
 

August 2004 Severe Storm Post Flood Assessment: Prepared for Directorate of Transport, Roads and Stormwater, City of Cape Town

Published: 2005 (as Disaster Mitigation for Sustainable Livelihoods Programme - DiMP)

On the morning of Thursday the 5th of August 2004 a severe storm event moved over the City of Cape Town Metropole. It was followed by a second storm that resulted in widespread and serious flooding in a number of areas that included both formal suburbs and informal settlements. The rain also resulted in significant tributaries in the Salt River catchment bursting their banks. Quantifiable, direct losses incurred as a result of the event exceeded R6.5 million. This includes the relief provided to affected households, losses by the private sector as well as government departments. The report is intended to show the relationship between the physical hazard process and social vulnerability. Furthermore, the role of institutions in the dissemination of early warning and response is investigated.

Downolad full report here

 


 

March 2003 Cut-off Low: Consolidated Report

Published: 2004 (as Disaster Mitigation for Sustainable Livelihoods Programme - DiMP)

In the third week of March 2003, a powerful weather system swept across the South Western Cape triggering widespread loss, damage and human hardship. With national attention focused on the Montagu-Ashton area, a national state of disaster was declared by the State President on 4 April, in the Magisterial Districts of Montagu, Robertson and Swellendam. The weather system, a powerful ‘cut-off low’, is attributed with three deaths in Hermanus and Knysna, as well as major impacts on agriculture and the roads network. An estimated R212 million in direct economic losses were attributed to the weather system and the riverine floods that followed. Moreover, hundreds of rain-affected households were temporarily evacuated, and in the months following the extreme weather event, significant increases in child illness were recorded in health facilities in the areas affected by the cut-off low. The report is intended to illustrate the interrelationships between the physical aspects of the hazard process (i.e. the cut-off low and floods), patterns of social vulnerability and the role of intervening institutional mechanisms to mediate the impact of extreme weather events.

Download full report here

 


 

Evaluation of The Fire Mitigation Programme in Joe Slovo Informal Settlement, Cape Town: A Cape Argus/Santam Ukuvuka Operation Fire-Stop Funded Initiative

Published: 2002

The Joe Slovo informal settlement in Cape Town has faced the recurrent threat of fire over the past decade, a risk aggravated by poverty, inadequate infrastructure and the ongoing influx of informal residents. By 2000 the number of dwellings had grown to 4 300 - a staggering 100% increase between 1998 and 2000. While informal settlements typically face a high risk of fire, the hot, dry, low -rainfall conditions in the La Ninã year of 2000 resulted in an increased frequency of fire events in Joe Slovo. Of particular significance was a major day-time fire in November 2000, which led to the destruction of 950 informal dwellings, The devastation wrought by this disaster provided the impetus to develop and implement a Fire Mitigation Plan in Joe Slovo, which has been evaluated by the Disaster Mitigation for Sustainable Livelihoods Programme (DiMP) in this report.

Download full report here

 

 

 

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