Southern Africa is a region vulnerable to a range of hazards, currently experiencing one of the worst drought disasters and food security crisis in modern history. Subject to development challenges, including economic and human development, the region’s vulnerability to disasters is further exacerbated and threatening already gained development achievements. Features of the twenty-first century – including the sustainable development agenda, climate change, urbanization and migration – are adding new dimensions to existing hazards and vulnerabilities and forcing countries to expand the traditional understanding of risk. Climate change is increasingly affecting the region, causing more extreme weather events and increased frequency and intensity of disaster events. A growing number of factors and dynamics are thus melting together and becoming of relevance to understand the full spectrum of disaster risk and disaster risk management.
To enhance the understanding of the specific disaster risks in Southern Africa, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) conducted a desk review to explore key concepts of hazard, exposure, vulnerability and resilience, taking into account human mobility aspects. This report presents the findings from the review and is divided into a global chapter, a regional overview of Southern Africa specifically focusing on the Southern African Development Community (SADC), and six country chapters elaborating the findings from the six target countries of the desk review, namely, Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Each country chapter includes a hazards and vulnerability map as well as sections on hazards, development challenges and vulnerabilities, migration trends and patterns, and disaster risk management and governance systems. The report ends with an analysis and conclusion as well as recommendations.