National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF)

Science and disaster management for social justice

The scale, impact and occurrence of natural, human-made and epidemic disasters are increasing. The recent disasters caused by the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, as well as those caused by the flooding in KwaZulu-Natal province and the very recent disaster when a mine tailings dam broke in Jagersfontein, South Africa, make this a currently relevant and important topic. The impacts of these disasters result in environmental, social and economic imbalances, including a widening of the socio-economic gap. The livelihood of the people in crisis affected areas is immensely impacted, thus it is important to consider social justice when planning for responses to disasters. Evidence based decision making, from evacuation planning, search and rescue, health and safety monitoring, to basic resource provision and environmental restoration, is key to saving lives and limiting damage to the means of livelihoods. Science can also be used in systematic efforts to analyse and manage the causal factors of disasters to reduce the risk of occurrence. Part of the effort of disaster prevention and management is to promote awareness in society including in rural, remote and township communities. Making sure that everyone is included in communication, emergency measures, and prevention of disasters is critical for the success of disaster management procedures. Without preventing, managing and mitigating disasters, there can be no social justice for the marginalised.

NSTF invites you to join discussion session on 5-6 December 2022: 9:00-12:00 at Cape Town International Convention Centre.



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