Each year we pay tribute to the heroes in blue who have paid the highest price. This year was no exception. We tell you a short story about each of these latest heroes – refer to our article published from p 32 in the October 2017 issue of Servamus.
The weather has caused havoc in large parts of the world in recent times – resulting a huge loss of lives. Ever thought about how you would react during a disaster? Read our article published from p 14 in the October 2017 issue of Servamus.
When a disaster strikes, the affected community is dependent on men and women who are willing to leave everything at home to search for survivors and treat the injured. Such are the men and women from Rescue SA – we tell you more about these heroes in our article published from p 22 in the October 2017 issue of Servamus.
Compiled by Kotie Geldenhuys
Photos courtesy Centrum Guardian project
Whenever a disaster strikes, such as the fires that resulted in massive destruction in Knysna during June 2017, an earthquake in Italy or a tsunami in Japan, thousands of people need help. Apart from those who collect food, clothes, blankets or money for the victims, there are others who organise firefighting or search and rescue equipment and go to the disaster area.
Volunteering often plays a pivotal role in the pre-disaster risk reduction phase and post-disaster recovery efforts following disasters. The types of disasters to which volunteers respond are natural disasters which include hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, tornados, floods, tropical cyclones, wildfires, mud slides and snow storms as well as human disasters which include terrorism attacks, warfare, casualty/liability events and displacement crises (DMISA, 2016).
Article by Kotie Geldenhuys
Photos provided by Rescue SA
On 11 March 2011 at 14:46, an 8.9-magnitude earthquake, so powerful that it shifted the earth on its axis by 10 cm, struck Japan. Less than an hour later, the first of many tsunami waves hit Japan's coastline. These waves reached run-up heights (the distance that the wave surges inland above sea level) of up to 39 m at Miyako city and travelled inland as far as 10 km in Sendai. The tsunami flooded an estimated area of approximately 561 km2 in Japan. The electrical power and backup generators at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant were overwhelmed by the tsunami and the plant lost its cooling capabilities. This resulted in a level-7 nuclear meltdown and the release of radioactive materials into the Pacific Ocean (www.livescience.com/39110-japan-2011-earthquake-tsunami-facts.html). In 2017, six years after the earthquake and tsunami, the final death toll stood at 15 893, with 2553 people unaccounted for (www.asahi.com/ ajw/articles/AJ201703110042.html).
- Are you and your family prepared for disasters and extreme weather conditions?
Compiled by Annalise Kempen
Photo courtesy of Rescue SA
June 2017: Knysna and its surrounding areas - devastating fires.
August 2017: Houston, Texas - extreme floods.
Disasters don’t discriminate - they can happen at any time and any place and often when we least expect them. And worst of all, apart from the possibility of losing all our material possessions in the blink of an eye, we might have to bid a loved one goodbye in the process. The question to answer is whether there is anything that we can do to be better prepared for disasters.
There is a general principle that the likelihood of recovering from an emergency/disaster in future, depends on the planning and preparation we do today (Disaster management, Cape Town, Nd). Although the details may differ depending on the type of disaster, ie a wind storm versus a devastating fire, the principles of preparation remain similar.
By Kotie Geldenhuys
Photos © 2016 GroundUp
"In many countries, climate change is magnifying risks and increasing the cost of disasters, a trend seen in South Africa given the current drought, the severe weather events and flooding experienced each year." - 2015 Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction.
When speaking about natural disasters, we tend to think about earthquakes, such as the August 2016 earthquake in Italy in which at least 247 people were killed (www.telegraph. co.uk/news/2016/08/24/italy-earthquake-at-least-73-dead-including-many-children-as-apo); Hurricane Matthew, which hit Haiti and the Bahamas in October 2016 and in which more than 500 people were killed; and the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan in March 2011 during which more than 15 000 people were killed (http://india-today.into-day.in/education/ story/japan-earth-quake-and-tsunami-of-2011/1/429914. html). But disasters do not only happen in faraway countries - we recently saw a number of disasters hitting South Africa with devastating effects.