AR IA ATU S PER PERIT
The internationally recognised annual Disaster Management Conference for Africa. Presented by the Disaster Management Institute of Southern Africa.
DISASTER RISK REDUCTION
AND INFLUENCE Enhancing strategy and execution in disaster, risk and resilience management
DMISA, the voice of the Disaster Management Profession and the SAQA approved professional body for Disaster Management proudly presents:
17 - 18 March
Enquiries: DMISA Office E-mail: email@example.com - Web: www.disaster.co.za
DMISAâ€™s first web-based conference will enable wider audience participation.
Official Journal: Disaster Management Institute of Southern Africa DMISA President's message 2 Mduduzi Lancelot Nxumalo DMISA EXCO and Board member: Journal message 3 Journal and marketing, Shadi Tsebe National Disaster Management Centre 4 Message by the deputy director-general: (head) NDMC, Dr Mmaphaka Tau Disaster management and COVID-19 6 Digital disaster management: moving incident and disaster coordination online – by Dr Johan Minnie 8 The importance of interagency cooperation in pandemic disaster response: a Western Cape perspective – by Colin Deiner 14 The implementation of an integrated information management and communication system at Western Cape PDMC – by Lavenia Nicholson
Volume 3 No 3
Consequence management 21 A consequence management approach to disaster management: more all-hazard preparedness and response: part 8 - by Dr Johan Minnie and Schalk Carstens Informal settlement fires 26 Rushing to judgement: We need to be more circumspect about installing smoke alarms in informal settlements – by Dr Robyn Pharoah and Patricia Zweig Upcoming events 32 Disaster and risk reduction events across the globe DMISA contact details 33 Contact details for the DMISA office
17 Health disaster preparedness and response: the future answers lie in the past - by Niel Rooi 27 Santam group contributes R1,45 billion towards COVID-19 relief efforts 28 COVID-19 coordination and response in the African and international context webinars held by Western Cape PDMC 29 COVID-19 and human behavioural change – by Linda Otto
DMISA Conference 2021 7 DMISA Disaster Risk Reduction Conference 2021: 17 and 18 March 2021 Disaster management mainstreaming 12 Time has come for disaster management ‘mainstreaming’ – by Andries Fourie IDDR webinar 12 Africa International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction webinar held Volume 3
DiSASTER MANAGEMENT | 1
DMISA President's message
DMISA PRESIDENT'S DMISA President Mduduzi Nxumalo Deputy President Owen Bekker Board member: Portfolio - Journal Shadi Tsebe Disaster Management Journal Editor Lee Raath-Brownie firstname.lastname@example.org Cell 082 371 0190 Journalist email@example.com Advertising firstname.lastname@example.org Design and layout Marc Raath email@example.com Finance firstname.lastname@example.org Circulation email@example.com Administration Mirriam Moroane
Contributions Dr Mmaphaka Tau Dr Johan Minnie Schalk Carstens Colin Deiner Lavenia Nicholson Andries Fourie Niel Rooi Dr Robyn Pharoah Patricia Zweig Publisher Lee Raath-Brownie FIRE AND RESCUE INTERNATIONAL Tel 011 452 3135/6 Fax 086 671 6920 Box 8299 Greenstone 1616 www.fireandrescue.co
ear DMISA Members, colleagues and friends in disaster management.
The past few months have seen massive progress and loss, accelerated learning, grave challenges, meaningful victories and painful defeats in disaster management. COVID-19 has changed the world, possibly for ever. If you have lost someone dear to you as a result of the pandemic, we would like to express our sincere condolences and pray that you will find peace in this difficult time. I pray that we all are learning from this experience and will be able to improve our implementation of disaster risk reduction and response based on what we have learned. Every crisis brings opportunity. I take heart from the fact that for the first time, the full utility of the Disaster Management Act was brought into play in South Africa with the issuing of regulations and directions under a national state of disaster. For the first time in the memory of most people on the planet, the full effects of a pandemic could be seen and experienced and the theoretical plans for pandemic response could be tested against cold hard fact and in practice. The pandemic response has provided impetus to considerable progress in the use of technology in dealing with disaster. DMISA has also been impacted by COVID-19. First we had to make the decision to postpone the 2020 conference to 2021 due to COVID-19. Based on expectations, we have now decided to move the March 2021 DMISA Conference online. The annual DMISA Conference in its usual format will be held if possible by September/October 2021.
Mduduzi Lancelot Nxumalo The elections of the DMISA Board have also been disrupted and the Chairperson of EXCO will soon provide information in this regard to the membership. In light of recent events and in order to ensure the continued sustainability of DMISA and its ability to support its members, we have had to make some changes. Most importantly, the DMISA office is now going online and we will no longer have a physical office. Furthermore, we are now able to meet online, which will definitely save money and time going forward. Despite all the changes that has been part of our lives the last few months, DMISA remains as committed as always to support the profession, to provide learning and networking opportunities and to provide a space for building relationships within the community of practice we serve and are part of. We wish you well and hope that you enjoy this issue of Disaster Management, the official DMISA journal. Mr ML Nxumalo DMISA President
Subscriptions 4 editions per annum South Africa R185 per annum incl VAT Non-subscribers R55 incl VAT per issue Southern Africa (airmail) R350 per annum International (airmail) R395 per annum Copyright All rights reserved 2
DMISA EXCO and Board member: Journal and marketing
DMISA EXCO AND BOARD MEMBER: JOURNAL AND MARKETING
ince the declaration of the state of disaster in March, we are finding ourselves in unusual times or should I say our new normal. The Coronavirus outbreak has brought along with it changes in our lifestyle and now with the looming threat of the second wave, I do hope that we are all keeping safe and adhering to the regulations. Currently, we are on level one and hopefully we won’t be going back to level 5. A lot of facilities have opened and with that the threat of increased infection rate especially if the regulations aren’t adhered to. All COVID-19 health and safety protocols must be followed at all times, including observance of guidelines for social distancing, sanitation and hygiene and use of appropriate personal protective equipment, like cloth face masks, including homemade ones to cover nose and mouth, as determined by the National Department of Health and those with co-morbidities are encouraged to take additional precautions when leaving home. The South African Department of Health continues to closely monitor the rapidly evolving developments surrounding the Coronavirus outbreak. The Health minister, Dr Zweli Mkhize, stated that South Africa has reported fewer than expected coronavirus cases in its move to a level 1 lockdown but cautions that the country could still face a second surge in cases. This shows that we, as a country, must still do our best to stay safe and protect ourselves and each other and we must note that scientists continue to work hard to find effective treatment and to develop a vaccine for 2019nCoV.
conditions found to be more likely, dry spell durations lengthening slightly and rainfall intensity increasing. Take necessary precautions when going out in the heat. This year we were unable to host DMISA Conference (opportunity for a diverse range of stakeholders in disaster management from across Africa to gather and share skills, knowledge and experience) but it has been moved to March 2021 as an online event. Please be on the lookout for more information regarding the DMISA Conference on our Facebook page and website.
Let’s make the right choices and adhere to the regulations as stipulated by the Government. God bless you all.
In the words of Tata Madiba, I would like to say, “It always seems impossible until it’s done”.
Ms Shadi Tsebe DMISA EXCO and Board member: Journal and marketing
Reliable, credible information on Coronavirus can be obtained from the WHO website and social media pages, the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) website and social media pages and the Department of Health website and social media pages. Not only has the pandemic affected us, there is evidence that extreme weather events in South Africa are also increasing, with heat wave Volume 3
DiSASTER MANAGEMENT | 3
National Disaster Management Centre
MESSAGE BY THE DEPUTY DIRECTOR-GENERAL: (HEAD) NATIONAL DISASTER MANAGEMENT CENTRE
Dr Mmaphaka Tau
he South African disaster management system remains dedicated to advance the disaster risk reduction course in the face of increasing disaster risks, natural and anthropogenic Countries world-wide experience a variety of disasters of different typologies and varying magnitude, which according to the American Journal of Disaster Risk Management totalled 207 between January to June 2020. These included geological
hazards, meteorological or climate hazards, hydrological hazards and biological hazards. South Africa, like most countries, faces an increasing level of disaster risks as it is exposed to a wide range of hydrometeorological hazards, including drought, floods, cyclones, fires, severe storms and biological hazards. In addition to these natural and humaninduced threats, large numbers of people live in conditions of chronic disaster vulnerability in underserved, ecologically fragile or marginal areas, where they face recurrent natural and other threats that range from drought to repeated informal settlements fires. Currently countries globally are experiencing the effect of COVID-19 pandemic that continue to affect the social, economic wellbeing and will have a negative effect on various institutions and the natural environment. The COVID-19 pandemic has truly tested the countryâ€™s ability to manage large-scale disasters. Compared to countries like the United States of America, India and Italy amongst other countries with the highest levels of infection, South Africa managed to achieve 90 percent recovery rate.
It gives us pride that as a country, we have a progressive piece of legislation that governs the disaster management function, the Disaster Management Act, Act No. 57 of 2002 supported by the National Disaster Management Framework, which serve as our National Disaster Risk Reduction Strategy. The central role of disaster risk reduction planning The Disaster Management Act, 2002 (Act No. 57 of 2002) in sections 25, 38, 39, 52 and 53 places an explicit responsibility on organs of state in the national, provincial and local sphere to develop and implement disaster management plans and submit such to the National Disaster Management Centre, amongst others. These plans and their implementation should encompass strategies to prevent and reduce the risk of disasters, mitigate the severity or consequences of disasters, facilitate emergency preparedness, ensure rapid and effective response to disasters and post disaster recovery and rehabilitation. Apart from putting measures in place to deal with the above, a disaster management plan provides important considerations for development planning in a municipality. These include conducting a disaster
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National Disaster Management Centre risk assessment, identifying and mapping risks, areas, ecosystems, communities and households that are exposed or vulnerable to physical and human induced threats and providing measures and indicate how organs of state will invest in disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation, including ecosystem and community based adaptation approaches. However, an all of society approach is necessary to achieve national disaster risk reduction efforts in the spirit and letter of the Disaster Management Act 2002, due to the fact that Government alone cannot manage daily activities and omissions that lead to the creation of disaster risks. Public awareness and public education therefore play a vital part in disaster risk reduction as informed communities will be able to manage disaster risks. Lessons from COVID-19 pandemic COVID-19 exposed the developmental challenges in South Africa. While emphasis was on the promotion of clinical measures such as public screening, testing, hygiene, wearing of masks, etc, as means of reducing the spread of COVID-19 pandemic, some residential areas did not have access to water and sanitation particularly for compliance with the requisite hygiene practices. The migration of people from rural to urban areas looking for economic opportunities resulted in mushrooming of informal settlements, where informal houses are congested with no basic infrastructure nor municipal services. Some of the schools in both urban and rural areas do not have access to basic services. COVID-19 had a negative impact on the economy of the countries worldwide. Due to the lockdown regulations, industries closed, resulting in loss of income and job opportunities. The lockdown had a serious knock on the tourism sector. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, the 2018 contribution of the tourism sector in South Africa, directly accounted for 2,8 percent of real gross domestic product (GDP), which amounts to R139 billion and this was projected to grow to R145,3 billion for 2019. The indirect contribution of the tourism sector to the economy’s GDP in 2018 stood at an even higher 8,2 percent, which captures the strong economic links to the demand and supply side that the sector has with other sectors of the South African economy (www.gov.za). Volume 3
While COVID-19 had negative impacts in socio-economic conditions, positive lessons were learned, which would bode well for resilience building for enhance disaster risk reduction. The following points are worth noting: • Areas that had no access to basic infrastructure and services were prioritised. Such areas were provided with water tanks and boreholes were drilled and equipped. • Temporary shelters were provided in congested settlements. • The usage of technology was harnessed, as meetings were held virtually. This approach reduced travelling costs and resulted in fewer cars on the streets. • Communication between the Government and the communities improved through the media briefing by the political leadership. • Government responded in an integrated and coordinated manner, speaking with one voice. • Lockdown regulations protected the lives and livelihoods eg gatherings in public spaces and funerals. • Harmonised messaging. Throughout the COVID-19 lockdown period, all public awareness programmes had consistent messaging ie wash your hand for at least 20 seconds, wear masks when in public, keep social
distance and avoid hugs when greeting each other. • Effective public education for disaster risk reduction (DRR) requires sustained repetition of the same messages. Different platforms were used to convey similar messages ie through the radio, word-of-mouth, pamphlets and printed media. • Safety and resilience require dramatic behaviour changes; these only become possible when the public can see that ‘everyone is doing it.’ For behavioural change messages to catch hold, people need to understand the reasons for carrying out specific measures. The road ahead In conclusion, COVID-19 affected all areas of life, schools, churches, businesses and has highlighted the need to reduce disaster risks and most importantly the need to prepare disaster risk management plans by all organs of state and other role players and ensure enhancement of the institutional morphology of the disaster management function. Dr Mmaphaka Tau (PhD) Deputy Director-General (Head): National Disaster Management Centre (NDMC) Department of Cooperative Governance (DCoG) DiSASTER MANAGEMENT | 5
Disaster management and COVID-19
DIGITAL DISASTER MANAGEMENT:
MOVING INCIDENT AND DISASTER COORDINATION ONLINE By Dr Johan Minnie, PrDM, Head: Disaster Operations Centre,Disaster Risk Management Centre, City of Cape Town experienced and it was clear that a technical support person would be required for each meeting to ensure minimum technical (or user) disruptions. A reliance on power and connectivity made meetings during periods of loadshedding very interesting, with people dropping away and re-joining on a regular basis. Even if you have back-up power in your own facility, that is not necessarily the case with the people you want to connect to or with the communication network you are relying on.
efore the social distancing requirements of COVID-19, we were used to having crowded disaster operations centres buzzing with energy and noise dealing with major incidents and disasters. Then COVID-19 came and as we attempted to implement the required social distancing, we found that we simply did not have enough space for such big meetings. The physical paperwork involved in using systems such as ICS or just message pads in a joint operations centre setting becomes extremely complicated when social distancing, sanitising and transmission control becomes necessary. Things had to change drastically and they did. The value of online meetings and digital communication platforms became evident very rapidly. As we moved into hard lockdown the meetings of disaster coordinating committees and joint operations centres moved from the normal crowded affair to a two-or-more-venue meeting connected with video conferencing to a blended meeting in the biggest available meeting venues (often Council Chambers) where social distancing could be practiced and those who were able to could connect through an online platform. Employers scrambled to enable their computer-using workforce to participate in online meetings and be able to work from wherever they put down their laptop. Where staff had their own connectivity in place, employers built on that resilience by implementing virtual private networks so that staff could access their work applications from any internet
connection. Collaboration was improved through developing online dashboards and portals and maps that could be accessed by all participants and used to support decision-making between meetings. Eventually, no-one attended the physical meeting venues anymore and everyone was online when it became clear that such meetings could actually work effectively and efficiently. We moved from discomfort and awkwardness with using online platforms, to heavy reliance on online platforms and efficient online meetings. The advantages of going online went far beyond just being able to comply with social distancing requirements. Staff who were close contacts and had to quarantine and then developed symptoms and tested positive, could continue to work when they felt up to it and made valuable contributions during their convalescence. Staff who had underlying health conditions that put them at increased risk, were also able to participate and contribute working from home. Staff who were close contacts and had to go into government-run quarantine and isolation sites, could continue to work from those sites and support the running of disaster coordinating teams as well as joint operations centres. The text box or chat box or conversation box became a valuable channel for communicating during meetings, as those keeping record of the meeting could copy and paste the text into minutes and situation reports. There were also challenges with online meetings and incident management. Some technical difficulties were often
The rhythm and processes of joint operations and incident management had to be harmonised with the available functionality and communication channels of online platforms. We learnt some valuable practical lessons in the process of going online. The importance of having a unique meeting ID on the online platform for each meeting was underlined when people from different meetings started showing up in meetings they were not attending. The mute and unmute routine is still lost on some participants and the protocol on when to switch on and off the camera feed, is also not universally agreed. It is hard to say exactly how much of what has changed in the last few months and what will stay the same. What the future of work will look like is the content of many discussions. The discussion of how the future of disaster management work, especially emergency coordination, will look like after the experience and learnings of COVID-19 is ongoing and we will need to encourage a serious re-look at established procedures and methodologies. Interestingly enough, it can be said that personal communication with proper precautions may have become less personal than digital meetings. When you can only see half of a personâ€™s face during a personal interaction where you need to mind the distance, personal communication becomes stymied. In contrast, in a digital conversation, the whole face can be seen and very little body language goes amiss. We continue to learn from experience and hopefully we can leverage technology even more to increase our capacity for reducing disaster risk and ensuring rapid and effective disaster response. Volume 3
DMISA Conference 2021
DMISA DISASTER RISK REDUCTION CONFERENCE 2021 17 AND 18 MARCH 2021
fter careful consideration and in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown, this yearâ€™s DMISA Conference scheduled for 30 September and 1 October 2020 has been postponed to 17 and 18 March 2021. The conference will be held virtually as the health and safety of our delegates, dignitaries, exhibitors and speakers is our highest priority.
The Institute is recognised as the mouthpiece of the disaster management profession in Southern Africa. The conference provides an annual opportunity for a diverse range of stakeholders in disaster management from across Africa to gather and share skills, knowledge and experience. Registration fees will be advised shortly.
This will be the first virtual DMISA conference and it will allow for remote participants to access live, interactive networking opportunities and content through their computers, no matter where they are located. Easy to use audience engagement tools will be an added advantage for you to use during this online event.
For further information or bookings, please contact: Pat Adams at DMISA on cell: 084 800 0733 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or visit the Institutes website: www.disaster.co.za.
DiSASTER MANAGEMENT | 7
Disaster management and COVID-19
THE IMPORTANCE OF INTERAGENCY COOPERATION IN PANDEMIC DISASTER RESPONSE: A WESTERN CAPE PERSPECTIVE
By Colin Deiner, chief director, disaster management and fire brigade services, Western Cape Government
In South Africa, the pandemic was declared as a national disaster on 15 March 2020. This announcement led to a number of regulations announced by the national Government, which had to be implemented immediately. Disaster management response Disaster management centres at all levels were faced with enormous challenges in the wake of these regulations. Although many disaster centres had extensive response plans for the disaster risks in their various jurisdictions, very few (worldwide) had plans in place to deal with a global pandemic on this scale. This disaster would affect every single aspect of the community. There was no indication of how long it would endure and what the cost in human life and misery would be. Planning for such a disaster would normally take years. Now it needed to be done in days and hours.
The Western Cape Province has, in recent years, responded to a large number of major disasters
he first case of the COVID-19 virus in South Africa was on Thursday, 5 March 2020 when the National Institute for Communicable Diseases confirmed that a suspected case of COVID-19 had tested positive. A 38-year old male who travelled abroad with his wife as part of a group of 10 people had arrived back in South Africa on 1 March 2020. Soon after his return he started to display symptoms and was subsequently confirmed as the first person in this country to contract the virus. At this stage, the virus that was first identified in December 2019 in Wuhan, Hubei, China, had resulted in an ongoing pandemic, which had already claimed the lives of thousands of people across the world. As of 15 October 2020, 38,5 million cases had been reported across 188 countries and territories but the World
Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that around 800 million people in total may have been infected. At the time of writing, the disease has killed 1,09 million people with more than 26,6 million having recovered. The main international response to the pandemic was for all the countries across the globe to impose an immediate ban on all international travel and announced measures to keep citizens in ‘lock-down’. This implied that, except for critical activities such as seeking medical help or buying food, citizens had to confine themselves to their homes and not move about under any other circumstances. Only people performing essential services were allowed to go to their place of work. This measure, although necessary, led to huge downturn in the economy and forced resulted in many people losing their income. Widespread poverty and hardship resulted from this.
The Western Cape Province has, in recent years, responded to a large number of major disasters, which include the Southern Cape drought in 2009/10, major fires in the Knysna area in 2017, Avian Influenza in 2017 and the 2017-20 drought disaster that affected the entire province. Many lessons have been learned in this time and from a response perspective, the following four areas have become the most important: • Partnerships • Preparation • Systems and • Structures Partnerships The large number of major incidents and disasters that the Western Cape Province has had to deal with over recent years, has in most cases impacted a wide range of services and had a devastating effect on large parts of the community. It has also impacted the work of many national, provincial and local government departments as well as various state owned enterprises and parastatals. Each of these organisations had to respond to a lesser or larger extent, which tested their resilience during times of adversity. Volume 3
Disaster management and COVID-19 Disaster management centres in South Africa are in and of themselves actually coordination platforms whereby all the required line functionaries are drawn together to manage the various impacts of a disaster. The strength of a disaster centre therefore should be its ability to bring people together in an environment where they can all communicate, plan and execute those plans in an integrated way. What is of course crucial, is for these functionaries to know each other and what can be expected of one another well in advance of any disaster occurring. It is not the time to make introductions when the buildings are collapsing! Setting up robust and trustworthy structures during periods when no disasters are taking place, known as ‘peacetime’ in disaster management parlance, could be the most important thing you can do. The Disaster Management Act makes it mandatory for the National Disaster Management Centre to have an advisory forum, however, at provincial level it is recommended but not a requirement. I find that a well-functioning advisory forum is the key to ensuring that all the necessary role-players needed for a specific response will be available when called upon and will be familiar with the structures and procedures of the emergency operations centre when they have to manage their specific area. A disaster management advisory forum should not merely be a talk shop where various experts are invited to do presentations on certain aspects of disaster risk but it should be an integrated planning platform where all identified stakeholders come together to plan and prepare for the risks they have identified. Clearly not all advisory forum members will be required to manage every disaster and it is for this reason that it is necessary to use the risk presented by the event as well as the contingency plan to identify the role players required. In the event of the COVID-19 response the initial risk areas were identified as follows: • Pandemic and potential panic/fear • Social distancing challenges • Impact of any other potential disaster such as floods, fires, drought, xenophobia • Water and food security • Informal settlement exposure • Public disorder/crime • Socio-economic circumstances – unique South African context • At risk population (HIV/immune deficiencies/elderly/underlying illnesses….) Volume 3
• Poverty impacts • Seasonal flu – winter season • Public transport hubs and means. The above risk assessment indicated that a large number of organisations had to be involved in the response. To have each organisation representing themselves, would have made the coordination structure too big and unwieldy. It was necessary to cluster all similar organisations into functional groups, referred to as the ‘cluster system’. This system had worked well for us on previous occasions, specifically when we had to deal with the provincial drought disaster in 2017. The prospect of a city with a population of over four-million people also required a response from a wide range of organisations. It was fresh in our memories and we therefore made the decision to base our structure very much on the drought response structure. We could see that it would have a number of advantages, the most important being the fact that many of the representatives of the various responders to the drought disaster, were well versed in our work methodology and could seamlessly fit in to the COVID-19 structure. We identified the following clusters: • Health • Communication • Business/economy and tourism • Safety and security • Education/social • Government continuity and advisory • Transport and logistics
Being a health-related disaster, the Provincial Department of Health was placed in overall charge of the operation. All activities of the integrated disaster management centre were therefore also aimed at supporting the operations of the Health Department. The primary strategic focus of the Health Department was the management of the outbreak with a specific and prevention/ mitigation (containment). This was obviously in addition to the medical management of infected patients, testing and tracing and ensuring sufficient bed capacity for surging numbers, which was predicted by the modelling programmes. The larger impact on other parts of society also needed attention and this was addressed by the clusters as follows: Education/social cluster: Their main function was contingency planning for education including the Department of Higher Education, agricultural training centres, social development and health. They had to establish clear protocols for different scenarios, promote good hygiene practices in their facilities and ensure clear and concise messaging regarding the developments around the re-opening of the various education facilities. Form a social perspective the identification and support of vulnerable groups and accessing them was the
The strength of a disaster centre should be its ability to bring people together in an environment where they can all communicate, plan and execute plans in an integrated way DiSASTER MANAGEMENT | 9
Disaster management and COVID-19 guideline and ensure communication with local, national and international role-players. Government business continuity and advisory cluster: A crucial element of the COVID-19 response was to ensure a healthy and effective workforce. We needed to protect the essential workers who had to leave their families and loved ones every day and place themselves at risk on the frontlines of the pandemic response. It was decided to implement a cluster that would address these important areas and ensure business continuity of Government. To them also fell the responsibility of facilitating/supporting coping mechanisms and to amend rules and policies to support these mechanisms to address the huge stress to workers brought about by the rule they were playing in the response. Despite its global reach and the inordinate time period over which it occurred, the COVID-19 pandemic also had a real risk for all involved including their families
prime objective. Once the basket of services was determined, they had to develop targeted support initiatives to special groups ie women, children, disabled, elderly and farmworkers. Finally, it was their responsibility to ensure the mental and emotional wellbeing through counselling. Transport/logistics cluster: They had the initial responsibility to ensure a transport strategy for essential workers and affected persons within the confines of the lockdown. Protocols for different modes of transport ie aviation, maritime, road, rail, long distance busses/trucking, needed to be developed and, in order to minimise the risk to the general public, it was important to ensure awareness and education to commuters and to promote good hygiene at all transport nodes and within the public transport system as a whole. All of these activities required a huge logistical support structure. Within this cluster a team was appointed to determine logistics needs of each cluster and then to acquire and manage them. Logistics hubs were identified and assistance was provided with the transportation of emergency goods. Safety and security: This cluster was the primary responsibility of the South African Police Services (SAPS) with their primary responsibility of ensuring law 10
and order is maintained as well as the safety and security of the citizens. Crime prevention was also a big challenge in the lockdown environment, which limited public surveillance and reporting and complicated crime combating in many well-known crime hotspots. The introduction of new regulations under the disaster declaration further added to the workload of the safety and security cluster. A senior SAPS and South African National Defence Force (SANDF) member was permanently available in the provincial disaster management centre 24/7 and this assisted greatly with the communication between the province and the PROVJOC. Any early warnings related to protests or serious crime situations were immediate brought to our attention and this enabled us to warn healthcare workers or schools of any risks to themselves. Business/economy and tourism: The huge economic impact of the lockdown would have a devastating effect on the private sector. Previously, during the drought disaster (201719), a need was identified to support businesses and thereby ensure a resilient Western Cape economy. This was achieved by providing business continuity (BC) support to the economy at each phase. Strategies were further developed to mitigate the impact on tourism, develop a travel
The need to have unrestricted access to expert legal advice became clear when it is appreciated how many decisions that could have massive legal implications, needed to be made rapidly. The centre would become inundated with queries and complaints from the public each time new regulations were published. This required us to have a clear understanding of the content of the regulation and to ‘speak from one mouth’ on a specific interpretation. A system was developed by this cluster whereby both the provincial government’s legal advisors and the SAPS legal unit would agree on a particular interpretation before releasing any information to the public. The importance of having robust emergency procurement procedures in a disaster can’t be understated. An advisory team was set up for this purpose by the Provincial Treasury unit and they would also be available at short notice to assist in any queries related to emergency procurement. Communication: The main function of this cluster was to ensure a pro-active, reactive and reassuring communication strategy to gain the trust of the public. This was achieved by the development of frequently asked questions (FAQs) for all phases, ensuring an overarching message that underpinned all communication to ensure consistency and to facilitate alignment across sectors, business and communities. Preparation Many people involved in this disaster response would agree that this was Volume 3
Disaster management and COVID-19 an extremely difficult operation to manage. Despite its global reach and the inordinate time period over which it occurred, it also had a real risk for all involved including their families. Equally difficult was the fact that noone had ever managed a disaster of this nature. The closest we had come to such a pandemic was the Ebola outbreak in 2014 in East Africa. At the time, the province had developed a pandemic response plan. The state of readiness of emergency medical services, hospitals, the airline industry and shipping along the coastline was rigorously tested with a number of planned and surprise exercises. When the COVID-19 disaster occurred, this was what we consulted. It provided a fair amount of guidance, however, it still became important for us to identify specialist in the science of pandemics and pandemic response. The fact that we had an excellent relationship with our Health Department ensured that we were able to reach these experts. Systems Systems relate to the management as well as the information management systems utilised in a disaster. Effective disaster management information management systems allow you to rapidly identify affected areas as well as the placement of the resources required to manage the incident. The Western Cape Disaster Management Centre has implemented a culture over the years of being “ahead of the game”. This implies that our disaster management centre must have its collective finger on the pulse of prevailing conditions in the province and paying special attention to conditions that could become a disaster. This requires a lot of hard work up front in ensuring that all geospatial information is kept up to date and that contact lists for personnel and resources are always current. The folk in the Risk Reduction directorate identified all owners of the data sets used in the centre and, through the establishment of strong partnerships, ensured that the information we were receiving was current and usable. In early 2020, the Western Cape PDMC procured an information management system specifically designed for the South African disaster management environment. This enabled us to take on a range of varied tasks and build work plans for them. A few examples of these are: Isolation and quarantine The WC PDMC received a request from the Provincial Health Department to Volume 3
assist in the tracking of persons that were placed in quarantine and isolation due to their COVID-19 status. With the help of the system, we were able to map all the identified quarantine and isolation (Q and I) sites and to assign then a specific status dependent on their capacity and state of readiness, which included bed availability, catering, refuse removal and security. When we received a request to place someone in quarantine, we were able to register the affected person on the system with a unique number, thereby negating the violation of any patient confidentiality issues and place that person at the most convenient facility. Tracking patients was made much more effective through this. Repatriation Soon after the lockdown regulations came into power, the Western Cape Provincial Government was inundated by requests from foreign consuls in the City of Cape Town to repatriate their citizens back to their countries. The Western Cape PDMC, together with the Provincial Department of Transport and Public Works, was charged with carrying out this operation. The system enabled us to create a repatriation centre at the Cape Town Stadium from where we were able to process more than 7 000 passengers in five weeks. This included medical checks, immigration and customs services. After being processed at the stadium, passengers would board busses at the stadium and were then transported to the Cape Town International Airport where they were able to board their flight immediately without lingering at the airport. Red Dot Transport System Due to the lockdown regulations it became impossible for essential workers to reach their place of work. It was also necessary to transport people suspected of being infected to isolation sites without overwhelming the provincial emergency medical services. The media centre in the PDMC was repurposed to become a control and observation centre whereby all health workers and persons of interest were transported by private contractors. Cameras were also placed at all high risk transportation nodes and linked to the coordination centre where compliance to COVID regulations was monitored. Structures The Western Cape Incident Command System (ICS) was initially implemented to manage the frequent wildland fires
experienced in the province where incident commanders were often confronted with the challenge of managing large numbers of personnel over a large geographical area for an extended period. Around 2014, it was decided to convert the ICS into an ‘All Hazards’ system where it could be utilised to manage any disaster. The All Hazards system defines the objectives and provides guidance on the activities required to reach those objectives. It identifies the communication, planning, logistics, operational and financing requirements and creates a structure in which to ensure sufficient attention is given to each area. The ICS allowed us to identify our objectives, assign command responsibility to the identified individuals and establish a structure for the prolonged response to the pandemic disaster. A decision was made on the first day of the activation of the disaster centre that we would withdraw all our staff from their normal jobs ie Disaster Risk Reduction, Fire and Rescue Services, Intergovernmental Relations etc and place them on a 24/7 shift system. All staff in the centre, regardless of their role, is familiar with the system and therefore was able to seamlessly hit the ground running. All outside agencies who were deployed into the centre, had worked there at some point eg Southern Cape Floods, Knysna Fires, etc. This experience must be nurtured over years and cannot be created overnight. It turned out to be a valuable asset. Conclusion The COVID-19 pandemic has caused untold destruction on a global scale. It has led to the death of many thousands of people and devastated the economies of most of the countries in the world. It continues to cause havoc in many European countries with no sign of abating. The response by governments across the world has been varied and there have been many debates regarding the role of disaster management agencies in the bigger picture. These debates will no doubt rage on and hopefully we will reach consensus on a more visible role for disaster practitioners in future. The approach of the Western Cape Disaster Management Centre was to identify the operational priorities and establish objectives in managing them. We could only do so because of the very strong partnerships we had built over the years through advisory forums, planning meetings, exercises and responses to other incidents. DiSASTER MANAGEMENT | 11
Disaster management mainstreaming
TIME HAS COME FOR
DISASTER MANAGEMENT ‘MAINSTREAMING’ project, from local municipalities to national government departments. According to Andries Fourie, senior technologist in disaster and risk management at SRK Consulting, a natural phenomenon only becomes a disaster when a community is vulnerable to its impacts.
Andries Fourie, senior technologist in disaster and risk management at SRK Consulting
essons from the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown highlight that South Africa needs to make disaster management an integral element of every public institution and
“A lack of rain is not necessarily a disaster but can become so if water supply and infrastructure has not been well planned, managed and maintained,” he said. “It is this ‘progression of vulnerability’ that needs to be recognised and addressed by mainstreaming disaster management considerations in all projects.”
“The pressure that the pandemic put on our health system showed up how issues like drunk driving, for instance, contributed to our medical vulnerability,” said Fourie. “Weakness in traffic enforcement has meant that drunk driving now causes so many injuries that government felt compelled to prohibit liquor sales as a strategy to free up hospital beds.”
He also emphasised that a disaster is never caused by one factor alone; practitioners increasingly look for a more comprehensive understanding of disaster risk by considering various interrelated components that contribute to vulnerability. These include social, environmental and physical factors such as livelihoods; well-being; self-protection; social protection and governance.
Another example, he said, could be cited in water management where leaking water pipes from lack of maintenance contribute to vulnerability in times of drought and pollution of our vulnerable resources.
“As disaster risks escalate, there is growing agreement in the field that disaster risk reduction must be incorporated into development goals, governance arrangements, policies and
AFRICA INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR DISASTER RISK REDUCTION WEBINAR HELD ON 13 OCTOBER 2020
he Africa International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction Webinar was held on Tuesday, 13 October 2020 and organised by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction Regional Office for Africa and the African Union Commission. The moderator for the first session was Ambassador Amjad Abbashar, chief for the UNDRR Regional Office for Africa, who detailed The Sendai 7 campaign, focusing on this year’s 12
Target E, ’Substantially increase the number of countries with national and local disaster risk reduction strategies by 2020’, which lays the foundation for the implementation of the Sendai Framework and is closely linked with Priority for Action 2: ‘Strengthening disaster risk governance to manage disaster risk.’ Mami Mizutori, special representative of the United Nations Secretary-General (SRSG) for Disaster Risk Reduction said in her opening remarks that disasters do not recognise borders and that early warning must lead to early action. “COVID-19 taught us this as well. COVID-19 could cost the world economy 21 trillion USD”, said Mizutori. She noted that Italy donated three million Euros towards the Early Warning System project for Africa. Ambassador Josefa Leonel Correia Sacko, the commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture for the African Union highlighted Target E of The Sendai 7 Campaign, requesting all African countries to reach this target by year end.
Moderator David Owino of Disaster Risk Reduction Association of Journalists (DIRAJ) and Kenya correspondent for Africa News set the scene, mentioning the current locust infestation and recent drought incidents, stating that 40 percent of drought incidents occurred in Africa, the highest present in the world. Other speakers included Maria Mercedes Martinez, IFRC Disaster Law programme coordinator for the Africa Regional Office who discussed governance in Africa, with Keflemariam Sebhatu, Disaster Risk Management programme coordinator at the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Climate Prediction and Application Centre (ICPAC), Dr Banak J Dei Wal, director-general of Disaster Management and DRR National Focal Point for the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management in South Sudan and South Africa’s Gareth Morgan, director: Resilience for the City of Cape Town, who all shared their progress towards achieving Target E. Volume 3
Disaster management mainstreaming
practice,” he said. “This mainstreaming requires us to analyse how potential hazard events could affect the performance of policies, programmes and projects, helping us achieve risksensitive development.” Fourie noted that South Africa’s National Disaster Management Framework, the legal instrument specified by the Disaster Management Act of 2002, outlines three levels of Disaster Risk Management Plan. Like a ladder, these levels should have been traversed by national and provincial organs of state, as well as municipal entities, in the four years after the Act was passed. “Achieving a Level 1 plan focuses on establishing a foundation of institutional arrangements and contingency plans for known priority threats but is only
an initial step towards creating the capacity to respond to disasters,” he said. “In moving to a Level 2 plan, the institution starts to build the essential supportive capabilities needed to carry out comprehensive disaster risk management activities.” This includes establishing processes for a comprehensive disaster risk assessment and to create formal consultative mechanisms for developing disaster risk reduction projects. It would also introduce a supportive information management and communication system. “At Level 3, the plan must show the institutional arrangements for aligning with other governmental initiatives and must have an informed disaster risk assessment as well as monitoring capabilities,” he says. “It must also show
developmental measures that reduce the vulnerability of disaster-prone areas, communities and households.” Many of these public bodies, however, have not progressed their plans past Level 2 and in many cases are actually sliding back from this level, highlighting the need for re-focused attention on disaster management. He said it has become urgent that organs of state rebuild capacity in this regard. “The value of the mainstreaming approach is that it embeds disaster risk reduction in the day-to-day operations of an institution, giving life to the Disaster Management Plan,” he said. “This application of the plan also means making provision for the financial, human and technical resources necessary for effective disaster management.”
DiSASTER MANAGEMENT | 13
Disaster management and COVID-19
THE IMPLEMENTATION OF AN INTEGRATED INFORMATION MANAGEMENT AND COMMUNICATION SYSTEM AT WESTERN CAPE PDMC: GREATEST TEST OF ALL TIME By Lavenia Nicholson, Deputy Director: Preparedness and Response, Directorate: Disaster Operations, Western Cape Disaster Management Centre
The Western Cape PDMC recently implemented the Uniti integrated information management and communication system
The licensing included a ‘parent’ license for the Western Cape Disaster Management Centre and two ‘child’ licenses for two district disaster management centres in the province. The remaining three district disaster management centres were already utilising Uniti while the City of Cape Town utilises an internal solution developed in-house. After the appointment of SYW.io in January 2020 around the same time in which COVID-19 started to become a discussion point in South Africa, The Western Cape DMC, alongside the team from SYW.io, commenced with Uniti training from February 2020 and had just completed the training in the West Coast District Municipality in early March 2020 when COVID-19 took over every part of our daily lives!
he Disaster Management Act of 2005, as amended together with the National Disaster Management Framework Policy, calls for the establishment of an integrated information management and communication system to ensure that the Key Performance Areas (KPAs) and enablers are achieved.
was duly followed whereby the end result was that SYW.io be appointed in January 2020 to supply, deliver and implement their Uniti solution.
Shortly after this, the Western Cape DMC activated the centre from 14 to 24 March 2020 from 07h00 to 19h00 and from 25 March 2020 to 31 July 2020 on a 24/7 basis. From August 2020 up to the current date, the centre has been on low activation ie official hours, seven days a week. Even though Uniti was newly
The Western Cape Disaster Management Centre undertook a process from 2018 to investigate and draw up a scoping document to layout the requirements of a suitable solution. These specifications were then evaluated by our Departmental Information Technology Committee and the Western Cape Government Information Technology Steering Committee as well as the Provincial Enterprise Architectural Board before the tender was advertised. As anyone working in Government can attest to, appointments of this nature do not happen overnight and many processes must be followed and in October 2019, a tender process 14
The facility capacity overview of identified public isolation and quarantine sites where we tracked the available rooms and beds across the province as well as where individuals were placed Volume 3
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Disaster management and COVID-19 implemented, a decision was taken that it will be used for the management of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Western Cape Province.
If it was not for the managing director of SYW.io, Noel Harrison, who stationed himself in our centre nearly every day from March to June 2020, we
Example of how the district ‘uploads’ their reports, which forms part of the overall Provincial Situation Reports
The live summary dashboard
The historical overview of the quarantine and isolation numbers in state facilities overtime 16
would never have managed to have pulled it off, given all the pressures the pandemic brought upon our team. His assistance and constant support and that of his team was invaluable as we needed to customise, configure and develop additional functionality on the go through all the chaos, taking into consideration that the only data on the system at this stage was contact details as provided when the system was initially implemented. Being based in the centre during this time, we saw rapid turnaround on change requests alongside adhoc training as the new functionality was made available to our teams. The question arises, was Uniti ultimately an enabler in the coordination of COVID-19? We can confidently say, “Definitely”! The centre now has a software solution that enables the integration and is compatible with the other district disaster management systems implemented throughout the Western Cape Province and was not only utilised by the Western Cape DMC but extended to allow users from the below departments, organisations and clusters to acquire, sort, store and analyse data complementary to their own reporting streams, such as: • South African Police Services • Department of Health (EMS, clinicians) in the management of the placement of individuals as referred to the centre for isolation or quarantine as well as tracking of case management details for placed individuals. Automated checklists, screening documentation and release paper work was included in the functionality utilised. • Department of Transport and Public Works in the management of their quarantine and isolation facilities and the placement of individuals in both private and state facilities. Tracking of bed and room utilisation and integration with the provincial RedDot service for transportation of individuals to and from facilities
"The Uniti system provided access to critical information and automatically compiled situation reports from each of the districts as well as the key clusters in the province." Volume 3
Disaster management and COVID-19
HEALTH DISASTER PREPAREDNESS AND RESPONSE: THE FUTURE ANSWERS LIE IN THE PAST
By Niel Rooi, PrDM (DMISA), PhD Candidate (NWU), manager communications, marketing and events, City of Johannesburg Disaster Management Centre
he declared National Disaster brought on by the March 2020 Coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic in South Africa and parts of the world, are indeed one of the biggest health disasters in democratic South Africa. COVID-19, as with other flu-like outbreaks, require of contemporary disaster management departments to review their preparedness and response plans to health-related catastrophic outbreaks. A review would allow for better and more speedily implementation of its plans in anticipation of future outbreaks. When one glance into the past, influenza-like outbreaks are becoming more frequent and have a seasonal footprint similarly to flooding and fires; however, it is more deadly.
around the province. In addition to this, for the verification and auditing of invoices from facilities for the placed individuals. • Department Economic Development and Tourism • National Disaster Management Centre • Private and public quarantine and isolation facilities for the tracking on placed individuals arrival and discharge dates as well as allocation to beds and rooms within their facility.
Where to after COVID-19? Now well adapted to the COVID-19 environment, the Western Cape DMC centre is placing a great deal of focus on the implementation of their all hazard system, the uploading of and review of disaster management plans as well as risk assessments on the Uniti system as well as the capturing of damage assessments and casualties during times of flooding, drought or severe weather, the dissemination of early warning notifications to key role players and the monitoring
and evaluation of recovery and rehabilitation project running within the province. The activation of the centre tested the Uniti solution on all fronts namely functionality, ease of use, ability to customise, stability as well the management of various levels of confidentiality between departments. As a centre, we have dedicated our focus on change management enabling us to maximise our usage of Uniti for our everyday activities.
In addition to this, the Uniti system provided access to critical information and automatically compiled situation reports from each of the districts as well as the below key clusters as established in the province: • Health • Safety and Security • Transport and Logistics • Business, Economy and Tourism • Communication • Social • Education • Local Government Automated data feeds from Uniti have been setup and used by various departments within the province to complement their own reporting streams. Volume 3
Capturing and tracking of all quarantine and isolation admissions in public facilities together with the Transportation (Red Dot Taxi) integration DiSASTER MANAGEMENT | 17
Disaster management and COVID-19 hours for decontamination, removing a valuable resource from service delivery. Consequent to an outbreak, the safety measures that are put in place could not only put demands on already limited resources but it is also a necessary service delivery inconvenience and disruption to weaken the proliferation of a virus.
COVID-19, as with other flu-like outbreaks, require of contemporary disaster management departments to review their preparedness and response plans to health-related catastrophic outbreaks Bringing the past into the future Historically the world has gone through several forms of influenzalike health risks ranging from Ebola, SARS, seasonal flu and swine flu, among others. The first recorded flu outbreak the world has experienced was in 1889, followed by a more catastrophic influenza outbreak in 1918, which killed millions of people internationally. At the time, other than birds, human mass migration, globalisation and climate change were but distant concepts. Human travel was, slow, primitive and mostly geographical. The flu pandemic of 1918 is estimated to have killed nearly 300 000 people in South Africa in about six weeks and nearly 195 000 Americans in about four weeks. Other catastrophic outbreaks post1918 were mainly geographical. The first outbreak was in Asia in 1957, followed by the Hong Kong flu in 1968 in which it is guesstimated that nearly 1,4 million people perished in the individual countries. In the contemporary world, millions of people transit daily through various country borders, ports, airports, rail, bus and taxi hubs enroute to and from their respective destinations. Major South African cities like Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban just need one passenger in transit or visitor with a novel disease to onset a catastrophic outbreak. Unlike, for example, infectious diseases such as Ebola where one must be in physical contact with bodily fluids, secretions, organs or blood of the infected host, influenza and respiratory viruses mutate and generally spread more rapidly through coughing and sneezing and can be lethal. Based on past outbreak patterns, 18
it is relative that future outbreaks could become more frequent, protracted, life-threatening and widespread, potentially putting severe pressure on already stretched resources. Resource demands In South Africa, several government and private medical facilities are, for the most part operating on a near 100 percent daily capacity. An undetected outbreak or delayed response to an outbreak could have disastrous consequences for these facilities and the country. Demands for burial could escalate, mortuaries could overflow and cultural bereavement practices could be suspended. In addition, each ambulance that has transported a suspected contagious virus-host is decommissioned for at least three
Mutation prolifery As seen in recent years, outbreaks are unpredictable and have crossspecies. Between 2000 and 2005 the bird flu pandemic and SARS-CoV, which is believed to have started in China, was spread by migrating birds to domestic birds and poultry around the world. Very soon after, human infections and deaths with similar viral strains as that of bird flu and SARSCoV were recorded in countries such as Vietnam, Toronto (Canada), Singapore, Egypt and Turkey, among other countries, counting it amongst the first array of catastrophic pandemics in the 21st Century. The Ebola pandemic North from South Africa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is struggling since 2001 with the second worse outbreak of Ebola in recent history. Ebola onset presents as flu-like symptoms but is more acute and agonising and is prevalent amongst the poor communities of west Africa. Because of its highly contagious footprint, it can kill a whole family unit and wipe out many community members during a single outbreak. The Ebola virus was first identified in 1976 in parts of Sudan and the then Zaire now the DRC.
Ebola onset presents as flu-like symptoms but is more acute and agonising and is prevalent amongst the poor communities of west Africa Volume 3
Disaster management and COVID-19 The recent outbreak is believed to have started with a family in Mangina before it spread to the provinces of Ituri and north Kiva along the borders of South Sudan, Uganda and Rwanda. The largest outbreak in 2014-2016 in Nigeria, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, since 1976, was primarily contained to the geographical area before its anecdotal spread to the United States (US), Spain, Mali, United Kingdom and Italy. Each of the exported index cases was detected early in the receiving countries. Most of the infected recuperated except for the one case in Mali, who died. Unlike influenza-like outbreaks, Ebola is mainly native to Africa. SARS pandemic Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome or SARS for short emerged around late 2002 in Hong Kong, China. It rapidly spread worldwide but due to quick reaction by the affected countries transmissions were contained within a few months. SARS was transmitted mainly through saliva when the contaminated person talks, cough or sneezes. Contrasting to other secretion pandemics SARS has been dormant since 2004. The swine flu pandemic The Swine flu or H1N1 outbreak in March 2009 in Mexico, on the other hand, affected nearly two billion people worldwide within 12 months. In the US it is estimated that approximately 60 million people were infected during the said swine flu outbreak, about 274 000 was hospitalised and about 13 000 succumbed to swine flu-related conditions, severely straining the countryâ€™s health system at the time. The events in the Americas underscore the rapid and aggressive spread of influenza and respiratory pandemics. According to infectious disease experts, what exacerbates the spread of flu-like pandemics in the main are the adverse conditions and deprivation many find themselves in, particularly poverty, malnutrition, those with weak immune systems and those with increased stress levels. Although influenza and pandemics, in general, do not discriminate, the latter experts are of the view that most living in deprivation conditions are more vulnerable to get infected with influenza and die from the infection and or other preventable and treatable flu-related illnesses. That said, most countries, through various stakeholder agencies, offer influenza vaccinations, which are about 50 percent effective to reduce the chances of a catastrophic flu outbreak. Volume 3
The prevention of wildfires and pre-season mitigation efforts must be a shared responsibility between fire services and landowners
Stakeholder alliances In most instances, society can count on scientists to predict viral behaviour and outbreaks but most cannot predict how humans might behave post a declared scourge. Disaster management tools such as research, communications, community training and awareness are essential to prepare a broad spectrum of the population for eventualities and minimise misconceptions, panic and fear that are frequently associated with health pandemics. To impede an outbreak, the medical fraternity, Government and society ought to work together. None of these stakeholders can tackle a disastrous medical outbreak in isolation. Moreover, more considerable effort needs to be made by the South African Government at all spheres to address and capacitate disaster management centres with the required staffing, skills and stakeholder engagement capabilities. The study conducted by Van Niekerk found that several South African municipalities are underprepared and under capacitated to adequately mitigate, respond or deal with major catastrophic seasonal incidents, let alone health disasters. Concluding remarks It is uncertain where and when the next onset or index patient will emerge from. What is known is that South Africa has been largely spared from the medical emergency onslaught if compared to other countries. However, the next Spanish flu pandemic similarly to 1918, the Ebola outbreak that is simmering for years in the west and northern African regions or COVID-19
might just be one plane flight or boat cruise away. Nevertheless, each of the historical catastrophic pandemics needs to be an opportunity to learn and regroup as we endeavour to find future solutions in past events. In addition, the unfortunate COVID-19 outbreak has potentially brought forward in many respects the enactment of elements of the Fourth Industrial Revolution or 4IR, such as the possible review of business continuity models, business operation models, risk management models, corporate and government social responsibility models and disaster management plans. Disaster management, as one of the obligatory legislative enactments of government at all administration spheres, is to ensure societal resilience and government preparedness and response to disastrous eventualities. Practitioners in the disaster risk management profession ought to prepare themselves and society at large for similar if not worse future healthrelated disasters. All actors (business, government, civil society organisations and communities) have a social, ethical and moral obligation to mitigate the impact of all potential disasters proactively. Based on the historical evidence, it is not a matter of if but when the next national health disaster is declared, would we be ready? This article contains citations and the original is available from the Author or by contacting the publisher, Disaster Management Journal. DiSASTER MANAGEMENT | 19
Disaster management and COVID-19
Table 1 A glance at African flu outbreaks 1994-2020 Compiled by the author (Source: World Health Organisation)
Suspected cases in onset country
Apes, gorillas and chimpanzees
No dead animal carcasses found to test
Ate bush meat
Spread to South Africa (1 person died)
Gulu, Masindi and Mbarara districts
Mostly contained with affected zone
OgoouĂŠ Ivindo Province
Spread to the Republic of Congo
Republic of the Congo
Imported from Gabon
Imported from Gabon and or Congo
Republic of the Congo
Ebola outbreak in Etoumbi, Mbomo and Cuvette Oust Region
The Democratic Republic of the Congo
Ebola outbreak in Kasai Occidental
WHO issues a Global Outbreak Alert
Declared Ebola-free on 20 February 2008
Democratic Republic of Congo
Mweka District, Kasai Occidental province
Declared Ebola-free 17 February 2009
Bulacan and Pangasinan
Ebola Reston was first discovered in 1989. The virus is highly pathogenic for humans, and the 2009 outbreak is the first known transmission from pigs to humans
Declared Ebola-free on 7th August 2004
Luwero and Kibaale Districts
Last known case was discharged 24 August 2012 and Ebola-free declaration issued 4 October 2012
Democratic Republic of Congo
Isiro, Viadana and Dungu Health Zones of Province Orientale
By March 2020 the country experienced continues sporadic flareups
Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone
3453 (3310 confirmed and 143 probable) 7
Include suspected, probable and confirmed Ebola virus disease between 2014-2016.
Deaths in onset country
4 11316* (= to an 45% average fatality rate)
A CONSEQUENCE MANAGEMENT APPROACH TO DISASTER MANAGEMENT: MORE ALL-HAZARD PREPAREDNESS AND RESPONSE By Dr Johan Minnie PrDM and Schalk Carstens PrDM
his article is the eighth article within this series of articles on consequence management. In the previous article we began to focus on the all-hazard preparedness and response approach, a view on preparedness and response that argues for meaningful and reasonable standardisation of preparedness and response to the non-standardised impacts and consequences of hazards.
Because all-hazard preparedness requires coordination among preparedness and response stakeholders, this article will focus on further aspects of all-hazard preparedness and response, namely coordinated emergency organisation and incident and disaster classifications.
Coordinated emergency organisation It is really quite obvious that an emergency organisation should be coordinated with a single purpose. That single purpose can come from an individual or a collective. The military strategist and writer Clausewitz noted that the order of battle depends on the effective
The previous seventh article considered all-hazard preparedness and response in general and specifically the objective and scope of such an approach and also hazard analysis as an indication of the need to an allhazard approach. We discussed the need to rise above the specific, the objective and scope of an all-hazard approach to preparedness, response and consequence management. It was shown that meaningful and reasonable standardisation of preparedness and response to the non-standardised impacts and consequences of hazards is important as we strive towards high levels of preparedness and rapid and effective response. Volume 3
DiSASTER MANAGEMENT | 21
Consequence management it to integrate effectively with other participating services at all levels. In settings where inter-service coordination has reached a level of maturity, each service will ensure that it has identified internally which elements of its chain of command and control will interface at the strategic, tactical and operational level with other services or with a joint incident management structure. The strategic/gold, tactical/silver and operational/bronze management levels are described in more detail in the ICS, MIMMS and other systems or plans. We will now discuss a few coordination structures and concepts related to emergency organisations.
Communications for Unified Command (Laskey, Schlaphoff, Konings, Brown and Minnie, 2005)
span of control by a commander. Too few subunits makes an army unwieldy; too many subunits makes the ‘power of the superior will’ weak and, in addition, every step by which an order has to pass weakens its effect by loss of force and longer time of transmission. While we cannot delve too deep in organisational design theory for emergency organisations, in this article, we can provide some examples of the implementation of coordination. The following figure depicts an example of a multi-disciplinary control and coordination structure for an incident, emergency or disaster based on the unified command and multi-agency coordination concept in Incident Command System (ICS) and the command levels of Major Incident Medical Management and Support (MIMMS). As can be seen above, levels of management (strategic, tactical, operational) are used with coordinating structures at each level, while maintaining the independence of services from each other. It is clear that emergency organisation outside individual services is temporary and dependent on how the situation develops. It is also clear that the permanent structures of services interact with the temporary emergency structures by providing resources and support. The Venue Operations Centre (VOC) sits at the same level as an onsite Joint Operations Centre (JOC). A VOC is normally at a mass event, which can be considered as a planned major 22
incident due the resources required to manage public safety. A Disaster Operations Centre (DOC) is a legislated term in South Africa but is similar to an area command or Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) or jurisdictionlevel JOC or Multi-Agency Coordination (MAC) structure. In order to implement affective emergency or coordination, each service/discipline should develop its internal organisational structures and procedures in order to enable
Unified Command Emergency organisation coordination is supported by the Unified Command (UC) concept in ICS. The unified command concept is not primarily an issue of who is in overall charge of any incident situation – most importantly, it advocates a method/system by which all responders can work together through collaboration, coordination and communication to achieve desired outcomes. Unified Command is a management process, which allows all disciplines/ services/agencies who have jurisdictional or functional responsibility for the incident to jointly develop a common set of incident objectives and strategies. This is accomplished without losing or giving up discipline/ service/agency authority, responsibility
Advantages of using Unified Command • A single set of objectives is developed for the entire incident • A collective approach is used to develop strategies to achieve incident objectives • Information flow and coordination is improved between all jurisdictions and agencies involved in the incident • All agencies with responsibility for the incident have an understanding of joint priorities and restrictions • No agency’s legal authorities will be compromised or neglected • The combined efforts of all agencies are optimised as they perform their respective assignments under a single incident action plan
Single Command Structure
Unified Command Structure
The IC is solely responsible (within the confines of his or her authority) for establishing incident management objectives and strategies. The IC is directly responsible for ensuring that all functional area activities are directed toward accomplishment of the strategy.
The Individuals designated by their jurisdictional authorities (or by departments within a single jurisdiction) must jointly determine objectives, strategies, plans and priorities and work together to execute integrated incident operations and maximise the use of assigned resources.
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SKILLS DEVELOPMENT • Basic Communications and Office Etiquette • NLP Life/Work Coaching • Leadership Programme
INTEGRATED ALL HAZARDS SUPPORT SERVICES • Training and Fire and Rescue Equipment packages (Wildland Fire and Structural Fire) • Establishment/upgrade of Fire Emergency Service (Including Wildland Fire Services) • Established and trained Incident Management Teams
DYNAMIC INCIDENT MANAGEMENT (Pty) Ltd All Hazard Integrated Incident/Event Management Training
Michelle Kleinhans 060 345 5362 firstname.lastname@example.org www.dynamicincident.co.za
LG SETA accredited training service provider
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"The responsibility for assigning warning or incident levels and making declarations should be clearly assigned. The declaration will be made to the public and to stakeholders that may be assisting in such cases."
or accountability. Unified Command is an important feature of Incident Management when dealing with large or even smaller multi-disciplinary Incidents. It allows disciplines/services/agencies having a legitimate responsibility at an Incident to be part of the Incident Command function. Area Command The concept of Area Command and specifically a Unified Area Command, as described in ICS literature, is very close to how disaster management centres and JOCs in South Africa have traditionally functioned as emergency organisation coordination structures during major incidents and disasters. An Area Command can be
Five incident levels
Interpretation of incident levels
activated if necessary, depending on the complexity of the incident and incident management span-of-control considerations. An area command is established either to oversee the management of multiple incidents that are each being handled by a separate incident management organisation or to oversee the management of a very large incident that involves multiple incident management organisations. Area command is also used where there are a number of incidents in the same area and of the same type, such as two or more hazardous materials or oil spills and fires. If the incidents under the authority of the area command are multijurisdictional, then a Unified Area Command should be established.
This allows each jurisdiction to have representation in the command structure. An Area Command oversees management of the incident(s), while emergency operations centres coordinate support functions and provides resources support. Multi-agency coordination A multi-agency coordination (MAC) system is a combination of facilities, equipment, personnel, procedures and communications integrated into a common system with responsibility for coordinating and supporting incident management activities. The primary functions of multiagency coordination systems are to support incident management policies and priorities, facilitate logistics support and resource tracking, inform resource allocation decisions using incident management priorities, coordinate incident related information and coordinate interagency and intergovernmental issues regarding incident management policies, priorities and strategies. Direct tactical and operational responsibility for conducting incident management activities rests with the Incident Command. Multi-agency coordination systems may contain EOCs/JOCs and multi-
Emergency level descriptions
General Emergency – Warning - Uncompensated “We expect or have a general emergency that is likely to significantly affect additional people, property, the environment or economy. We have insufficient resources to deal with the incident and need urgent assistance.” National state of disaster - Provincial level capacity insufficient for one or more provinces, Provincial state of disaster - Capacity of more than one municipal area exceeded Local state of disaster - Municipal level capacity insufficient
Local Emergency – Watch - Compound, Compensated “We expect or have an emergency and there is a possibility that it may significantly affect additional people, property, the environment or economy. We may require additional external assistance and request agencies to be on standby to assist.”
Alert – Advisory - Simple, Compensated “We expect or have an incident which is contained and will not significantly affect additional people, property, the environment or economy. We have sufficient resources to deal with the incident but may require limited external assistance.”
Unusual event - Simple, Compensated “We have had a minor incident which will not significantly affect additional people, property, the environment or economy. Our resources are sufficient and we do not require external assistance.”
Once-off occurrence “We have an occurrence which only affects a small number of individuals and does not significantly affect any additional communities, property, the environment or economy. Our resources are sufficient to deal with the occurrence and we do not require assistance from external role-players.”
Consequence management Early Warning Levels Early Warning Levels
Early Warning Levels
Incident Levels Incident Levels
Major Incident / Disaster
agency coordinating entities, which warrant separate description in another article in this series. When incidents cross disciplinary or jurisdictional boundaries or involve complex incident management scenarios, a multiagency coordination entity, such as an emergency management agency, may be used to facilitate incident management and policy coordination. This may be a legislated role in certain countries. The situation at hand and the needs of the jurisdictions involved will dictate how these multi-agency coordination entities conduct their business, as well as how they are structured. Multi-agency coordination entities typically consist of principals (or their designees) from organisations and agencies with direct incident management responsibility or with significant incident management support or resource responsibilities. These entities are sometimes referred to as disaster coordinating teams, crisis action teams, policy committees, incident management groups, executive teams or other similar terms. In the United States, the National Incident Management System (NIMS) references the Incident Command System (ICS), Resource Management as well as Multi-Agency Coordination (MAC) as the building blocks of NIMS. By virtue of its legislated responsibilities in certain countries, Disaster Management and/or Civil Protection must of necessity have a multi-agency command system in place, which encompasses a way to combine the Volume 3
efforts of all required line and staff functions and their respective incident management and command structures into a unified and coordinated effort. Incident and disaster classifications All-hazard preparedness and response, if well-coordinated, would require standard definitions of incident levels and warning levels, so that all stakeholders would immediately understand what they are facing and what they would be required to do after a first initial impact assessment. The impact assessment process will be described when we discuss an any-hazard response procedure in following articles. It really is advisable that jurisdictions adopt a standard incident and warning level description as well as a formal policy for the declaration of incidents and disasters. Such a policy could use applicable legislation and national guidelines and also international agreed standards in combination with the following table to describe agreed incident levels within a jurisdiction. The table outlines a possible five-level incident declaration methodology coupled to descriptions of emergency or early-warning levels. An incident and disaster level classification as described above can be further nuanced by differentiating between incident and warning levels at various levels or in various spheres of governance. One could for example decide to have local incident and warning levels and then district or metropolitan incident and warning
levels and then provincial and even national incident and warning levels. This is illustrated in the following two tables. The first table indicates that a local level 3 ‘Warning’ would be categorised as a district level 2 ‘Watch’. Please note we use the South African Weather Service alert levels of Alert, Watch and Warning here. The second table indicates incident levels at local municipal and district level, showing that a disaster at a local level could be considered a major incident at a district level. The responsibility for assigning warning or incident levels and making declarations should be clearly assigned. The declaration will be made to the public and to stakeholders that may be assisting in such cases. If these levels are communicated to assisting agencies along with pre-determined rendezvous points and staging areas and if they are addressed in mutual assistance agreements or SLAs that can shape response according to incident or warning level, coordination of allhazard preparedness and response will be supported. Conclusion This article considered the coordinating emergency organisation and the incident and disaster classification elements of all-hazard preparedness and response. This concludes this eighth article in this series of articles about the wider consequence management practice. The next article will focus on a joint response management procedure. DiSASTER MANAGEMENT | 25
Informal settlement fires
RUSHING TO JUDGEMENT:
WE NEED TO BE MORE CIRCUMSPECT ABOUT INSTALLING SMOKE ALARMS IN INFORMAL SETTLEMENTS By Dr Robyn Pharoah and Patricia Zweig, Research Alliance for Disaster and Risk Reduction (RADAR), Stellenbosch University While several dwelling fires occurred prior to the installation of smoke alarms, only three were reported in the following six months. Two fires were reported subsequent to the monitoring period (in 2018) but in both cases alarms saved lives and property.
We cannot eliminate the risk of informal settlement fires. What we can do is to reduce the lethality of fires and their magnitude.
esearch by the Medical Research Council (MRC) in the Western Cape shows that fires are one of the leading causes of death in South Africa, with 300 to 400 fire-related deaths are reported annually. Of South Africa’s metropolitan centres, the City of Cape Town has the highest overall fire-related death rate, at nine per 100 000. Dwelling fires in informal settlements and backyards a particular problem. In addition to avoidable deaths, such fires further impoverish already vulnerable households, indicating an urgent need for interventions to reduce the incidence of fires and proactively protect lives and property. We cannot eliminate the risk of informal settlement fires. What we can do, is to reduce the lethality of fires and their magnitude. Early detection of home fires is critical in preventing deaths and injuries, as most fire deaths are caused by smoke inhalation rather than burns. It is estimated that inhalation injuries, including burns to the respiratory system, cause 50 to 80 percent of fire deaths. Smoke also often disorients and incapacitates people so that they cannot escape. Detecting a fire during its smouldering stage reduces the risk of asphyxiation and provides time to escape or extinguish fires before they burn out of control. Smoke alarms have been used extensively in formal buildings around the world to 26
alert occupants to impending fires but until recently they have not been used informal dwellings. In the Western Cape, the prospect of preventing the suffering created by fires has seen municipalities and nongovernmental organisations, such as the South African Red Cross Society, installing smoke alarms in selected communities. The problem is that the unique challenges associated with using alarms in informal environments have not been adequately interrogated. A pilot project undertaken collaboratively by the Western Cape Disaster Management: Fire and Rescue Services; Stellenbosch University’s Fire Engineering Research Unit (FireSUN) and the Research Alliance for Disaster and Risk Reduction (RADAR) and funded by Santam, suggests a need for caution. The project piloted the use of smoke alarms an informal settlement community in Wallacedene in Kraaifontein, in the City of Cape Town. In addition to testing different kinds of alarm to determine which worked best and installing 1 200 alarms, the project monitored how well the alarms worked in the year following installation. This recorded the frequency and causes of alarm activations, people’s views on the alarms and their effectiveness in reducing firerelated deaths, injuries and property losses. Overall, the results suggest that the alarms reduced the frequency and impact of fires.
But the monitoring also highlighted several threats to the intervention’s long-term effectiveness. Although feedback was initially positive, with residents reporting feeling safer, nuisance alarms increased over time, gradually de-sensitising people to alarm activations. In some instances, repeated false alarms had soured people’s relationship with neighbours, particularly where people were away and could not silence their alarm. By the end of the monitoring period, many households had removed their smoke alarm, while some were either removed or fell off during renovations or structural changes to dwellings and were never re-installed. In addition to faulty alarms, nuisance activations were commonly triggered by steam or smoke generated during cooking, particularly of oily foods and when food burned but also from people smoking and steam from bathing. The gradual increase in false alarms suggests that the devices may have been affected by accumulated dirt or become infested by insects. The monitoring also showed that alarms installed on ceiling beams were more prone to false alarms as smoke and steam naturally accumulate at roof-level. These findings suggest that although smoke alarms promise to be a valuable tool to reduce the risk and spread of fires, alarms designed for formal spaces cannot be applied wholesale to informal ones. In most cases, fairly simple technical modifications could improve their performance, such as incorporating mesh to discourage insects and adjusting the interactivity and the timing of the silence feature. The critical point is that we need to incorporate and test such refinements and provide communities with the information and training needed to keep alarms functioning optimally. A more measured approach is needed to ensure that wellintentioned projects are successful in saving lives and livelihoods. Volume 3
Disaster management and COVID-19
SANTAM GROUP CONTRIBUTES R1,45 BILLION TOWARDS COVID-19 RELIEF EFFORTS
outh Africa’s largest short-term insurer, Santam, has thus far contributed over R1,45 billion towards COVID-19 relief efforts. Despite the challenging year 2020 has been, the short-term insurer has continued to demonstrate insurance good and proper by providing quality service to policyholders, as well as prioritising the safety and well-being of employees during this crisis. Together with MiWay, Santam has provided refunds and discounts on motor policies as well as other premium relief support to personal and commercial policyholders amounting to R310 million. Furthermore, SmartPark, a distance-based vehicle insurance benefit, has enabled Santam policyholders to save up to 20 percent on their monthly premiums during the national lockdown. As a dynamic corporate citizen, Santam is committed to contributing positively to an ever-changing world. Some of the significant COVID-19 relief efforts include a contribution of R1,7 million by staff to the Solidarity Fund. In addition to this, the Group resolved to match the staff contribution and apply these funds to drive targeted initiatives in vulnerable communities affected by COVID-19. Emthunzini Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) Community Trust donated a further R10 million towards the Solidarity fund.
According to John Lomberg, Head of Stakeholder Relations and Corporate Social Investment (CSI) at Santam, R28 million has provided support to small, medium and micro-enterprises (SMMEs) Group suppliers. Lomberg says apart from establishing an employee contribution facility in the form of salary sacrifice towards COVID-19, which the company matched 100 percent, Santam assisted a team of South African doctors with R1,8 million to roll out world-first intu-box and video laryngoscope medical kits to hospitals.
He says the Group also provided funding for innovative and cost-effective development and production of face shields. Additional contributions made by the Group include: • R1,6 million invested in municipalities to provide PPE • R1,18 million invested in other government entities for PPE • R1,81 million invested in nongovernment organisations, mainly for food relief • R0,35 million invested in school PPE.
DiSASTER MANAGEMENT | 27
Disaster management and COVID-19
COVID-19 COORDINATION AND RESPONSE IN THE AFRICAN AND INTERNATIONAL CONTEXT WEBINARS HELD BY WESTERN CAPE PDMC
The various disaster management centres shared their coordination and response experiences, benchmarking key lessons learnt
he Western Cape Department of Local Government together with Western Cape Disaster Management Centre recently held two webinars focussing on COVID-19 pandemic coordination and response. The webinars brought together a number of international and African countries and created a platform for the various disaster management centres to share their coordination and response experiences, benchmarking key lessons learnt and foster future collaboration. Presenters included World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Dr Ngoy Nsenga, team leader for WHO in Eastern and Southern Africa; National Disaster Management Centre (NDMC) chief director for Policy and Compliance, Ané Bruwer; Colin Deiner, head of the Western Cape Disaster Management Centre; Lt Col F Fabian, coordination manager for Disaster Management in Madagascar; Fya Mwafongo, chief relief and rehabilitation officer for Disaster Management Affairs in Malawi; Lt Col Rodrigo Quintino of São Paulo State Civil Defence in Brazil; Sapian Bin Mamat, senior assistant director at the operations coordination section at the Prime Ministers Department of the Malaysia National Disaster Management Agency (NADMA) and María Lorena Bustamante Durán, acting deputy director of Resource Management for Response at the National Institute of Civil Defence (INDECI) in Peru. The first webinar was held on Wednesday, 26 August 2020, with the focus on “The coordination and response to COVID-19 in the African context” and was facilitated by Colin Deiner, head of the Western
The webinars brought together a number of international and African countries
Cape Disaster Management Centre and co-facilitated by Jacqueline Pandaram, director Disaster Operations. Head of Department Local Government for the Western Cape, Graham Paulse, welcomed all attendees followed by the address by the Premier of the Western Cape, Alan Winde. Premier Winde shared the collaborative effort of the Western Cape pre and during the COVID-19 pandemic, saying, “There were key areas of focus that we needed to ensure that we got right and it was crucial that all stakeholders were involved to ensure a comprehensive response occurred. He shared the Western Cape’s response and management criteria including its health, humanitarian and economic response and its management and governance structure. The Premier’s belief was that “if you can’t measure, you can’t manage.” South Africa’s National Disaster Management Centre’s (NDMC) chief director for Policy and Compliance, Ané Bruwer, shared South Africa’s timeline, institutional arrangements, risk-adjusted strategies, coordination and responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic. “Vigilance and collaboration between all spheres of government and citizens is essential to not only remedy the effects of the pandemic but to ensure there is no resurgence of infections”, said Bruwer. This was followed by the address by the minister for Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Developmental Planning for the Western Cape, Minister A Bredell. MEC Bredell highlighted that the COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented time in modern history that has seen countries worldwide scrambling to fight
the virus. “While devastating, the pandemic has been a catalyst for collaboration across the globe and calls for its citizens’ accountability”, said Minister Bredell. A presentation by World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Dr Ngoy Nsenga, team leader for WHO in Eastern and Southern Africa, provided insight, timelines, statistics, trends, response strategies, lessons learned and the way forward on WHO’s response to the pandemic. “The statistics are doubling every 17 days”, said Dr Nsenga. He added, “A paradigm shift from hazardbased to risk-based planning is crucial.” A presentation by Lt Col F Fabian, coordination manager for Disaster Management in Madagascar, followed and detailed the strategies, statistics, coordination, response, best practices, challenges and lessons learned in Madagascar. “Inter-country regional collaboration needs to be fostered and re-enforced”, said Lt Col Fabian. Chief relief and rehabilitation officer for the Disaster Management Affairs in Malawi Fya Mwafongo, shared their current situational update, their coordination structure, challenges, successes and recommendations in Malawi. “We declared a disaster prior to a positive case in Malawi to prevent the spread”, said Mwafongo. He added, “A unified communication strategy on COVID-19 is essential to ensure quality control on information shared with the public, thereby increasing compliance”. The second webinar was held on Wednesday, 4 November 2020, on Volume 3
Disaster management and COVID-19
AND HUMAN BEHAVIOURAL CHANGE By Linda Otto, principal change consultant, Change Folio
nyone having worked as a leader, project manager or change manager will tell you how challenging it can be to get people to change. And it is for this very reason that psychologists, sociologists and anthropologists have dedicated so much time to trying to understand the drivers behind human behavioural change. As change practitioners, we draw from a diverse range of toolkits such as nudge behavioural techniques to other well researched and tested models and theories to help encourage impacted communities to change. We assess the impact of the change. We look at how the change will positively affect individuals and the companies within which they work. We create exciting and compelling campaigns designed to inspire people to move
‘An international perspective on COVID-19: Adaptation and resilience to the new normal’. This second webinar included presentations from Colin Deiner, head of centre at the Western Cape Disaster Management Centre as well as presentations by various representatives from São Paulo State in Brazil, Malaysia and Peru, sharing their COVID-19 coordination and response experiences as well as key lessons learnt in the context of the new normal. The event included a welcoming address from Graham Paulse, head of Western Cape Government: Department Local Government and was co-facilitated by Jacqueline Pandaram, director disaster operations at the Western Cape Disaster Management Centre. Deiner shared South Africa’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic to date, including its timeline since the first case reported, South Africa’s risk adjusted strategy, current statistics and shared the Western Cape’s response strategy, its preplanning phase and objectives, humanitarian and economic response, transformation and adaptation and their current focus, which is the prevention of the second wave. He shared the benefits of the recently installed technology at the Western Cape Disaster Management Volume 3
Centre, the Uniti software system, which was installed prior to lockdown and assisted greatly in the management of the COVID-19 response. Deiner also shared their identified interventions for the short, medium and long term, the opportunities to adapt and innovate and the way forward, saying “The Western Cape remain committed to flatten the curve and is in a state of readiness to deal with any second wave of infections.” Lt Col Rodrigo Quintino of São Paulo State Civil Defence in Brazil shared their COVID-19 statistics, coordination and response experiences and said, “The establishment of the Centre for Humanitarian Logistics (CILogH), played a major role in the initial response as it allowed for the raising, storing and distributing of supplies to the population and alleviated supply chain management challenges.” Sapian Bin Mamat, senior assistant director at the operations coordination section at the Prime Ministers Department of the Malaysia National Disaster Management Agency (NADMA) shared their coordination, responses, challenges, lessons learnt and adaptation to the new normal, saying, “There is a need for enhancement of collaboration
and an improvement in communication plans and SOPs if we are to effectively management of large scale disaster like COVID-19. He added, “We need to appeal to the public that compliance to the new normal is pivotal in the fight against this global pandemic.” María Lorena Bustamante Durán, acting deputy director of Resource Management for Response at the National Institute of Civil Defence (INDECI) in Peru shared Peru’s institutional arrangements, response and recovery, statistics and current situation, saying, “The country is currently implementing a ‘Phase 4’ economic recovery plan, which entails lowering restrictions by increasing the capacity levels of restaurants and other economically stimulating actives, although they are still in a state of emergency. She added, “Effective coordination and interinstitutional arrangements are pivotal to successfully respond to disaster of this nature.” The webinars put the global pandemic in perspective as well as Africa and South Africa’s response and management of this health disaster. One thing is for sure, we are in this together and there is no place in the recovery and way forward for complacency nor ignorance. DiSASTER MANAGEMENT | 29
Disaster management and COVID-19
Leveraging change management principles and practices during a pandemic
from one state to another. We use assessments and data to gain accurate and measurable insights into current perceptions and behaviours, and we then analyse and track changes relating to the effectiveness of how well these initiatives have landed. And yetâ€Ś through it all, we still end up with individuals or teams flat out rejecting the change. This can be a frustrating aspect of the work we do. Resilience and tenacity are key attributes needed for the job. That said, I have taken some degree of comfort in realising that the challenges we face as a change management community are in no way unique. The recently implemented COVID-19 shutdown here in South Africa has illustrated so clearly, that no matter how dire the circumstances, and even in the face of a very real threat to life, people will still resist change. What has been of real interest to me is how the challenges relating to the current pandemic link back so perfectly to the challenges we face as practitioners in our day-to-day delivery. And there are several lessons that we can all take away from this unprecedented modernday pandemic. 30
Important disclaimer I acknowledge the very real socioeconomic challenges that have made it almost impossible for certain disadvantaged individuals and communities within our population to self-isolate, and the purpose of this piece is in no way aimed at trivialising or ignoring these factors. Instead it is to try and identify areas where sound change management principles and practices can be linked back to some of the challenges we are currently facing around the world. 1. Consistent messaging and dispelling of rumours and half-truths One of the biggest contributors to the low adoption levels has certainly been the amount of misinformation, halftruths and conspiracy theories that have muddied the COVID-19 waters. This has created so much doubt and impacted rational, informed decision making. Dealing with inconsistent messaging and the proverbial rumour-mill is something we must deal with daily as change practitioners. Ensuring that there are uniform messages that are used by all leaders and key stakeholders helps to mitigate some
of this risk. Having a comprehensive communications strategy also ensures that the right information is shared at the right time. Lastly, addressing rumours, misinformation and missing information should be dealt with as a matter of priority to ensure that these do not impact the message being communicated out and received. 2. Responsible and ethical leadership The role that world leaders and other religious and social leaders have played in the current pandemic can in no way be underestimated. Many leaders around the globe have been found to be sorely lacking in ethical leadership skills. Uninformed and blasĂŠ comments have had a devastating impact on communities taking the COVID-19 pandemic seriously. This links in very closely with point 1 as these leaders are usually the primary communicators expected to deliver consistent messaging and information. If all leaders are not aligned, the value and impact of the message gets compromised, resulting in resistance and failed behaviour change. Prosciâ€™s annual global benchmarking studies have consistently identified active Volume 3
Disaster management and COVID-19 sponsorship and involved, aligned leaders as one of the most important drivers of successful change. If leaders are not onboard or aligned in terms of the approach, management and communication of the change, your chances of success are slim. 3. The power of influencers We have seen many celebrities and other social ‘influencers’ speaking up and in support of concepts such as social distancing and staying at home. We have also unfortunately seen many influential individuals behaving in ways that completely contradict the desired expected new norms by holding mass gatherings in defiance of the science, the law and general common sense. The theory of social learning and social behaviour proposes that new behaviours can be acquired by observing and imitating others, something that leaders, celebrities and others are well aware of. As change managers, we often employ strategies that leverage off the power and influence of key individuals and leaders to help drive behavioural change. The diffusion of innovation theory is a popular tool that we use, identifying early adopters and innovators and partnering with them to help drive our proposed change. Of equal importance is identifying the laggards, our resistors, and in instances where these individuals wield power and influence, looking at strategies to manage the disruption and noise that they bring. We need to be very aware of the power that both change advocates and detractors have, as failing to mitigate the associated risk may result in the failure of our best change efforts. 4. People not having the skills or the means to change Linking in with my earlier disclaimer, one of the very real challenges facing not only South Africa but also countries like India and Nigeria, is that large segments of the population simply lack the infrastructure or means to socially isolate. Our townships and informal settlements, legacies of the apartheid system, do not allow for people to safely quarantine themselves. Our socio-economic landscape also means that many of these communities lack access to clean water and sanitation or the ability to stockpile food, thereby restricting how often they need to leave the house. Many people want to abide by the lockdown measures yet simply cannot do so. The need to empower and enable people to embrace and adopt change requires Volume 3
that we understand the skills and other requirements that are needed to do so. An example of this could be a company wanting to transition to a more mobile workforce, without ensuring the correct infrastructure has been put in place to enable this ie ensuring employees have the required connectivity and hardware to work from home. We use tools like a change impact assessment to identify knowledge, skills and capability gaps or brand-new requirements and for these to be addressed as part of the change management function. This can take the form of formal training, coaching, organisational redesign, the development of new job profiles and associated performance indicators etc. Failure to do so will again result in the failure of the overall change or cause delays in the speed of adoption and overall benefits realisation. 5. The ask being just ‘too big’ “You want me to give up what?” “I can’t walk my dog?” “What do you mean I can’t go out for a run?” “Surely you don’t expect me to go three weeks without cigarettes!!” These are just some of the statements that we have all seen or heard over the last few weeks. And they really speak back to the requested behavioural change being perceived as being far too great an ask. For many, the grim reality of the virus and its impact on the individual once infected is too far removed, too theoretical… something that is happening to others and therefore not important enough to make them want to change. They may simply be too invested in the old way of doing things. We often use a tool called the Change Commitment Curve (based on Elizabeth Kubler-Ross stages of grief model) to plot people’s emotional and psychological states during a change. In addition to this, Freud’s pleasurepain principle helps us understand how people may either be motivated to change either because they are moving away from a source of pain or towards an opportunity (pleasure) or both. It becomes really important for us as change practitioners to understand why people may be resisting the change. What are they scared of losing? And how do we help create a compelling vision of a future state that they would want to move to. A great example linking back to the current shutdown has been the establishment of a virtual community called the Mzansi Lockdown Marathon, whereby runners have been encouraged to participate in running 42km over the duration of the lockdown, within the confines of their homes. This has given many of us
runners something to focus on, helping reduce the sting of not being able to hit the open road while still getting our endorphin fix! 6. The power of data in driving change Lastly, one of the biggest topics of discussion relating to the COVID-19 pandemic has been the importance of testing and gathering of related data to help inform decision making to curb the spread of the virus. A recent article published in STAT News, a US based health-oriented website by John PA Ioannidis, refers to the challenge facing the global health and science communities tasked with fighting the disease, as decisions are having to be made often without much needed, reliable data (2020). In an age of big data, data science and data analytics, we are well aware of the importance of metrics as enablers of behavioural change. And linking in with point 1, questions around the accuracy of reporting of cases and associated deaths in countries such as China have made modelling and predictions that much more difficult. The use of data, metrics and reporting thereof throughout the change journey forms the backbone of the work of the change management professional. Industry leaders such as Prosci, have long been firm advocates and drivers of change management related research and their annual global benchmarking study continues to identify important trends and insights aimed at helping to shape the industry and its practitioners. Anyone who has ever worked on a project or change initiative where there has been limited, incomplete or inaccurate data can attest to how difficult this has made decision making and the delivery of successful change. In closing, there is much that we can learn from this global pandemic regarding behavioural change that speaks back to the importance of the discipline of change management. We are challenged with turning the mirror both outward and inward. We are all social critics and commentators; it is easy to find fault when looking outwards at the world around us. Let us however not miss this opportunity to look with fresh eyes at our own change management initiatives and identify new ways of working and continuous improvement. Let us be the curious social observers with a keen interest in understanding the ‘how’ and ‘why’ behind behavioural change. And let us take always take heart in the power and opportunity that we have to effect change and transformation at a micro and even macro level. DiSASTER MANAGEMENT | 31
UPCOMING EVENTS DECEMBER 2020 - NOVEMBER 2021
2 - 4 December 2020 2020 FLASH Annual Conference: The Next Generation of Resilience The conference will bring together the USA's foremost voices in the disaster safety and resilience movement to share best practices, inspire, collaborate and create meaningful action Venue: Florida, USA www.flash.org
2021 25 and 26 February 2021 Disaster Management 2021 Conference theme: planning, preventing and managing disasters and crisis in pandemic. This conference aims at bringing together the disaster management teams from each nation along with the government bodies to discuss the possible strategies and techniques that are better than before with the help of advanced technology or AI. The geographical and environmental updates that the AI provides aids the same. The objectives also cover the development of pre disaster management skills and techniques. Venue: Indonesia Email: email@example.com www.disastermanagementconference.com 15 to 16 March 2021 Natural Hazards and Disaster Management 4th International Conference on Natural Hazards and Disaster Management Venue: Webinar www.naturalhazards.conferenceseries.com 17 and 18 March 2021 Disaster Management Institute of Southern Africa (DMISA) Online Conference The conference will be held virtually as the health and safety of our delegates, dignitaries, exhibitors and speakers is our highest priority. This will be the first virtual DMISA conference and it will allow for remote participants to access live, interactive networking opportunities and content through their computers, no matter where they are located. Easy to use audience engagement tools will be an added advantage for you to use during this online event. The Institute is recognised as the mouthpiece of the disaster management profession in Southern Africa. The conference provides an annual opportunity for a diverse range of stakeholders in disaster management from across Africa to gather and share skills, knowledge and experience. Venue: Virtual/online event Contact: Pat Adams on cell: 084 800 0733 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.disaster.co.za
22 to 23 April 2021 International Conference on Disaster and Emergency Management (ICDEM) 2021 ICDEM aims to bring together leading academic scientists, researchers and research scholars to exchange and share their experiences and research results on all aspects of Disaster and Emergency Management. It also provides a premier interdisciplinary platform for researchers, practitioners and educators to present and discuss the most recent innovations, trends and concerns as well as practical challenges encountered and solutions adopted in the fields of Disaster and Emergency Management. Venue: New York, USA www.waset.org/disaster-and-emergency-managementconference-in-april-2021-in-new-york 27 to 28 May 2021 UK Alliance for Disaster Research (UKADR) Conference 2021 The primary motivation for the UK Alliance for Disaster Research (UKADR) is to bring together the UK's rich and diverse disaster research community. This will facilitate collaboration and partnership to aid representation of the research community at government level in the UK, and, where appropriate, help with the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. The Alliance is independent and managed by voluntary contributions from the UK research community. Venue: Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom www.ukadr.org 13 October 2021 International Day for Disaster Reduction The United Nations (UN) General Assembly sees International Day for Disaster Reduction as a way to promote a global culture of risk-awareness and disaster reduction. That includes disaster prevention, mitigation and preparedness. www.un.org/en/events/disasterreductionday/index.shtml 24 to 27 November 2021 World Congress on Disaster Management (WCDM) The World Congress on Disaster Management (WCDM) is a unique initiative of Disaster Management Initiatives and Convergence Society (DMICS) Hyderabad to bring researchers, policy makers and practitioners from around the world in the same platform to discuss various challenging issues of disaster risk management. The mission of WCDM is to promote interaction of science, policy and practices to enhance understanding of risks and advance actions for reducing risks and building resilience to disasters. Venue: India www.wcdm.co.in
THE DISASTER MANAGEMENT INSTITUTE OF SOUTHERN AFRICA (DMISA)
IN SUPPORT OF THE PROFESSION Professional association and community of practice for Disaster Management in Southern Africa. SAQA Approved professional body for Disaster Management in South Africa. The Disaster Management practitioners premier source for learning, networking and alignment opportunities since 1985.
CONTACT DETAILS Email email@example.com Website www.disaster.co.za
Santam, together with the Emthunzini B-BBEE Community Trust has: • Invested R40 million in municipalities. • Protected more than 16 000 lives. • Installed more than 6 000 smoke alarms in vulnerable communities. • Trained more than 200 firefighters to prevent and fight fires. • Invested R1.45 billion in COVID-19 relief.
Santam supports 54 municipalities to increase their capacity, skills and competence to manage disasters and save lives.
Santam is an authorised financial services provider (licence number 3416)