With the cyclone Dineo expected to hit three provinces, Mpumalanga, Limpopo and KwaZulu-Natal, national government must ensure that a clear disaster management plan is in place to ensure that the impact on the most vulnerable is lessened.
The role of national government is to provide guidance and support to the provincial and local governments in developing their capacity for dealing with disasters, and to provide physical assistance if requested. Constitutionally, the national government bears primary responsibility for disaster risk management.
According to the Disaster Management Act of 2002, a National Disaster Management Centre (NDMC) is tasked with promoting an integrated and co-ordinated system of disaster management, and with special emphasis on prevention and mitigation.
Specifically, the NDMC:
· Must act as a repository of and conduit for, information concerning disasters, impending disasters and disaster management;
· Must liaise and co-ordinate its activities with the provincial Department and municipal disaster management centre; and
· Must establish communication links with foreign disaster management agencies including institutions performing functions similar to those performed by the National Centre, to exchange information and to have access to international expertise in and assistance in respect of disaster management.
All appeals for assistance must be directed to the NDMC and the provision of assistance and the mobilisation of resources in response to such requests must be facilitated by the NDMC.
Vulnerable South Africans bear the brunt of severe weather and often homes are destroyed or washed away due to flash flooding, putting lives at risk.
Dineo has already hit Mozambique and has wreaked havoc along the coast and claimed seven lives.
The National government has had enough warning to prepare properly for Dineo and must ensure that all necessary precautions are taken and effective plans are in place to protect those most likely to be affected.