VICTORIA FALLS-The first International Conference on Risk and Disaster Management jointly organised by the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC and the Midlands State University’s Tugwi Mukosi Multidisciplinary Research Institute (TMMRI), seeks to proffer evidence-based solutions to the increasing incidences of disasters in Africa.
Running under the theme, “Investing in Disaster Management for Sustainable Development,” the conference will attract over 50 researchers from across the African continent.
The researchers will present evidence-based solutions to some of the region’s risk and disaster management problems.
Policymakers, disaster specialists, researchers, academia, scholars, think tanks, civil society organisations, business and humanitarian organisations will be afforded the opportunity to exhibit their products and to network under one roof.
The conference comes on the back of devastating social, economic and environmental effects of various interlinked crises, including the COVID-19 pandemic, droughts, famine, cyclones, and numerous global armed conflicts and wars.
TMMRI Executive Director and co-convener of the conference Professor Jephias Matunhu said that disasters negate development and rob society of lives and property, hence the need for an international conference to proffer sustainable solutions.
“The essence of this conference is that it seeks to add a voice as well as forward evidence-based solutions to disaster risks and their management. The conference is an attempt to respond to the UN SDGs as well as our own vision 2030 clarion call for innovative strategies of mitigating the effects of disasters,” said Professor Matunhu.
Presenters will focus on thematic areas such as business continuity, public health risk management, resilient critical infrastructure, indigenous knowledge for disaster risk reduction, disaster modelling, surveillance and remote sensing, the connection between disasters and development, disaster risks, monitoring and mitigation, community response, recovery and resilience building.
The event is an initiative to alert people around the globe that disasters can be prevented because most of them are man-made.
“Labelling disasters as ‘natural’ enables those who create disasters risks by accepting poor urban planning, increasing socio-economic inequalities, non-existent regulated policies, and lack of proactive adaptation and mitigation to avoid detection,” says African Research Fellow in the Developmental, Capable and Ethical State (DCES) research division of the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC), Dr Wilfred Lunga.
Local, regional and international partners including SANTAM, Africa Institute of South Africa, the National Disaster Management Centre of South Africa, and Civil Protection Unit of Zimbabwe, among research and academic centres in the Southern African region.