Hazards and Disasters by decree

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									ICSU Regional Office for Africa

Natural and Human-induced
Hazards and
in sub-Saharan Africa
September 2007
ICSU Regional Office for Africa
TITLE:	                Natural and Human-induced Hazards and Disasters in sub-Saharan Africa
AUTHORS:	              Genene Mulugeta [Chair] [Sweden/Ethiopia]
                       The	Baltic	University	Programme,	Uppsala	University,	Sweden

                       Samuel Ayonghe [Cameroon]
                       Department	of	Geology	&	Environmental	Science,	University	of	Buea,	Cameroon

                       Deolall Daby [Mauritius]
                       Department	of	Biosciences,	University	of	Mauritius

                       Opha Pauline Dube [Botswana]
                       Department	of	Environmental	Sciences,	University	of	Botswana

                       Francis Gudyanga [Zimbabwe]
                       Research	Council	of	Zimbabwe

                       Filipe Lucio [Mozambique]
                       National	Institute	of	Meteorology,	Mozambique

                       Ray Durrheim [Secretary] [South Africa]
                       Rock	Engineering	Research	Group,	Council	for	Scientific	and	Industrial	Research	(CSIR),	South	Africa

REQUESTED BY:	         ICSU	Regional	Office	for	Africa

	                      Science	plan	approved	by	the	ICSU	Regional	Committee	for	Africa,	on	5–6	March	2007	in	the	Seychelles.

All correspondence concerning this science plan should be addressed to: Dr	Achuo	Enow	email:	a.enow@icsu-africa.org	
	                                                                       Kathy	Potgieter	email:	k.potgieter@icsu-africa.org
The International Council for Science (ICSU) is a non-governmental organization
with a global membership that includes 112 National Scientific Bodies (24 of
which are from sub-Saharan Africa), 29 International Scientific Unions, and
affiliated bodies.
The long-term ICSU strategic vision is for a world where science is used for the
benefit of all, excellence in science is valued, and scientific knowledge is linked
effectively to policy-making.
The ICSU Strategic Plan 2006–2011 shows its contribution in strengthening
international science for the benefit of society to be focused on three overlapping areas:
(i)     International research collaboration – ICSU plans and coordinates
        major research programmes in key areas such as (a) global environmental
        change; (b) monitoring and observation of the Earth System; (c) collection,
        preservation, and dissemination of scientific data and information.
(ii)    Science for policy – ICSU seeks to ensure that science is integrated into
        international policy development and that relevant policies take into
        account both scientific knowledge and the needs of science. Consequently,
        ICSU represents the science community in important intergovernmental
        forums, such as the (a) 2002 (Johannesburg) World Summit on Sustainable
        Development; (b) 2003 (Geneva) and 2005 (Tunis) World Summits on the
        Information Society; (c) UN Commission on Sustainable Development, and
        (d) Earth Observation Summits.
(iii)   The universality of science – The principle of the universality of science is
        embodied in ICSU’s statutes: “The practice of science should be equitable
        and without discrimination.” Thus the primary aim of ICSU is to enhance
        the pluralism of science and reach out to all countries, by (a) ensuring that
        scientists can associate and communicate freely; (b) providing equitable
        access to data and information; (c) enabling equitable access to research
        materials and facilities; (d) building scientific capacity; and (e) bringing
        nations and disciplines together.

                                                                                                                         Natural and Human-induced Hazards and Disasters in sub-Saharan Africa
The ICSU Regional Office for Africa (ICSU ROA) was inaugurated on
1 September 2005 for the purpose of promoting and coordinating the activities
of the ICSU family in sub-Saharan Africa. Such an undertaking will always
consider the priorities and the specific realities of this region. In April 2006, the
ICSU Regional Committee for Africa (ICSU RCA) selected four priority areas on
which its Regional Office would focus its activities in the period 2006–2011 (and
beyond). These are: (a) sustainable energy; (b) health and human well-being;
(c) natural and human-induced hazards and disasters; and (d) global change.
To address numerous challenges that are embodied in the above priority areas,
ICSU RCA established four Scoping Groups, consisting wholly of African experts,
to prepare four science plans that would be used to implement, with great success,
the objectives of each of the four selected priority areas in sub-Saharan Africa. Terms
of Reference (ToR) for this exercise were provided to all the Scoping Groups. They
include: reviewing the current status of each priority area on the African continent;
identifying capacity-building needs; and defining deliverables to be produced to
society. Details of the ToR may be found at the end of this science plan.
                                                                                             ICSU	ROA	Science	Plan

                                                                                                     In drawing up the science plans, the authors took into consideration the ICSU
                                                                                                     Strategic Plan 2006–2011, the AU/NEPAD Africa’s Science and Technology
                                                                                                     Consolidated Plan of Action, the UN Millennium Development Goals, reports
                                                                                                     from the ICSU interdisciplinary bodies, and joint initiatives.
                                                                                                     The ICSU ROA convened its 2nd Regional Consultative Forum for Africa in
                                                                                                     Boksburg, South Africa, on 25–27 September 2006, to provide a platform for the
                                                                                                     four draft science plans to be evaluated critically by the broader scientific community.
                                                                                                     Participants from Africa and international partners had in-depth discussions on the
                                                                                                     proposed flagship projects and/or identified priority research themes for each of the
                                                                                                     four priority areas. The four Scoping Groups had an opportunity to meet just after
                                                                                                     the Forum to incorporate the suggestions provided by the Forum’s participants as well
                                                                                                     as comments received electronically, and to make improvements to the documents.
                                                                                                     The final science plans were presented for approval by the ICSU Regional Committee
                                                                                                     for Africa (ICSU RCA) on 5–6 March 2007 in the Seychelles.
                                                                                                     Some of the proposed flagship projects cut across the four priority areas, and
                                                                                                     therefore a multi- and interdisciplinary approach is absolutely essential for achieving
                                                                                                     the objectives of the four science plans of the ICSU ROA.
                                                                                                     ICSU believes that science provides the critical underpinning for innovation and
                                                                                                     technological development. It offers necessary, although not sufficient, input to ensure
                                                                                                     sustainable socio-economic development of societies. At the same time, it gives a
                                                                                                     vital base for rational and prudent public policy formulation and decision-making.
                                                                                                     Accelerated development of scientific knowledge and skills are therefore key factors
                                                                                                     in the reduction of poverty and improvement of the quality of people’s lives in Africa.
                                                                                                     The great achievements recorded by ICSU in the developed countries should inspire
                                                                                                     African scientists to apply science, technology, and innovation (STI) in solving Africa’s
                                                                                                     socio-economic problems.

                                                                                                     Sospeter Muhongo
Natural and Human-induced Hazards and Disasters in sub-Saharan Africa

                                                                                                     ICSU Regional Office for Africa
                                                                                                     30 March 2007
                                                                             ICSU	ROA	Science	Plan

Executive Summary
According to a report submitted at the 28th General Assembly of the International
Council for Science in 2005 (ICSU, 2005), the risks posed by natural and human-
induced hazards and disasters are rapidly increasing worldwide. For example, the
frequency of recorded natural disasters rose markedly during the last century, from
about 100 per decade up to 1940, to nearly 2 800 per decade during the 1990s.
Africa is the only continent whose actual share of reported disasters has increased
over the past decade (OFDA-CRED, 2002). Several factors contribute to Africa’s
high vulnerability to disasters, including the high rate of population growth, food
insecurity, high levels of poverty, inappropriate use of natural resources, and failures
of policy and institutional frameworks. Despite the hugely damaging effect that
natural and man-made disasters have on Africa’s development, little is done to
prevent them. Effective strategies to prevent hazards from becoming disasters and
to manage those disasters that do occur would make a lasting contribution to the
quality of life and sustainable livelihoods of Africans (ICSU, 2005).
The ICSU Regional Office for Africa (ICSU ROA) Science Plan on Natural and
Human-induced Hazards and Disasters proposes the establishment of research,
capacity building, and outreach programmes, aimed at reducing the risk of disasters
and at increasing resilience. The main focus of the programme is the development
of a truly regional and interdisciplinary approach to the understanding, assessment,
prediction, and mitigation of hazards and disasters. This ambitious undertaking
needs the collaborative effort of the African scientific community and policy-makers
to develop a comprehensive long-term institutional and human capacity-building
initiative that will enable science to benefit society. In particular, it will require:
(i) Building strong research and training institutions in Africa at national and
    regional levels
(ii) Facilitating the exchange of scientific information and sharing of ideas across
(iii) Strengthening the link between scientific research and policy- and decision-making
(iv) Promoting outreach activities to build resilience to disaster risks

                                                                                                                   Natural and Human-induced Hazards and Disasters in sub-Saharan Africa
(v) Tapping the knowledge base of rural and urban communities.
(vi) International cooperation in monitoring and mitigating hazards and disasters.
ICSU ROA offers the opportunity to bring together existing institutions,
appropriate partners (such as universities, research institutions, development
agencies, humanitarian assistance agencies, and non-governmental organizations),
and policy-makers to develop and build further on the activities identified in this
strategy. Details of ways in which ICSU ROA intends to achieve these objectives are
outlined in this science plan.
                                                                                           ICSU	ROA	Science	Plan

                                                                                                    Table of Contents
                                                                                                    PREAMBLE                                                                       i
                                                                                                    EXECUTIVE SUMMARY                                                              1
                                                                                                    1.    INTRODUCTION                                                             4
                                                                                                    2.    NATURAL AND HUMAN-INDUCED HAZARDS AND DISASTERS IN SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA    4
                                                                                                    2.1   Hydro-meteorological Hazards                                             5
                                                                                                    	     2.1.1	 Floods	and	flash	floods	                                          5
                                                                                                    	     2.1.2		 Droughts	                                                        6
                                                                                                    	     2.1.3		 Heatwaves	                                                       7
                                                                                                    	     2.1.4		 Wildfires	                                                       7
                                                                                                    	     2.1.5		 Tropical	cyclones	and	hurricanes	                                8
                                                                                                    	     2.1.6		 Severe	storms	                                                   8
                                                                                                    	     2.1.7		 Dust	storms	                                                     8
                                                                                                    2.2   Geological Hazards                                                       9
                                                                                                    	     2.2.1		 Earthquakes	                                                     9
                                                                                                    	     2.2.2		 Tsunamis	                                                       10
                                                                                                    	     2.2.3		 Volcanoes	and	explosive	crater	lakes	                           10
                                                                                                    	     2.2.4		 Landslides,	mudflows,	erosion,	and	siltation	                   11
                                                                                                    2.3   Biological Hazards                                                      11
                                                                                                    	     2.3.1		 Epidemics	                                                      11
                                                                                                    	     2.3.2		 Pest	infestations	                                              11
Natural and Human-induced Hazards and Disasters in sub-Saharan Africa

                                                                                                    2.4   Astrophysical Hazards                                                   12
                                                                                                    	     2.4.1		 Space	weather	                                                  12
                                                                                                    	     2.4.2		 Meteorite	impacts	                                              12
                                                                                                    2.5   Human-induced Hazards and Disasters                                     12
                                                                                                    	     2.5.1		 Air	and	water	pollution	                                        12
                                                                                                    	     2.5.2		 Gas	flaring	                                                    13
                                                                                                    	     2.5.3		 Artisanal	and	small-scale	mining		                              13
                                                                                                    	     2.5.4		 Toxic	waste	disposal	                                           13
                                                                                                    	     2.5.5		 Land	degradation	                                               14
                                                                                                    	     2.5.6		 Conflict-related	hazards	                                       14
                                                                            ICSU	ROA	Science	Plan

                                                                                                    2.6   Climate Change                                                          14

3.    KEY CHALLENGES                                                     15
3.1   Knowledge, Technology, and Capacity Gaps                           15
3.2   Vulnerability and Resilience of Socio-ecological Systems           15
3.3   Vulnerability and Resilience of Technological Systems              16
3.4   Effective Transfer of Information to Policy- and Decision-makers   16
3.5   Integrated Modelling of Multiple Disasters                         16
3.6   Early Warning and Preparedness                                     16
3.7   Environmental Change                                               17
3.8   Environmental Degradation                                          17
4.    PROPOSED RESEARCH ACTIVITIES                                       17
4.1   Creation and Maintenance of a Multidisciplinary Hazard Database    17
4.2   Vulnerability Science                                              17
      4.2.1		 Mitigating	the	risk	of	flooding                            17
	     4.2.2		 Mitigating	the	risk	of	drought	                            18
4.3   Science and Policy Linkage                                         18
4.4   Integrated Modelling of Multiple Disasters                         18
4.5   Geohazards                                                         18
4.6   Cross-cutting Research Activities                                  18
4.7   Summary of Proposed Research Activities                            18
5.    STRATEGIC PARTNERS                                                 19

                                                                                                      Natural and Human-induced Hazards and Disasters in sub-Saharan Africa
5.1   United Nations (UN)                                                19
5.2   African Union (AU)                                                 20
5.3   ICSU Membership                                                    20
6.    BUDGET AND FUND-RAISING STRATEGIES                                 20
7.    RECOMMENDATIONS                                                    20
7.1   Science Priorities                                                 20
7.2   Partnerships                                                       21
7.3   Capacity Building and Outreach                                     21
8.    CONCLUSIONS                                                        21
REFERENCES AND FURTHER READING                                           22
                                                                              ICSU	ROA	Science	Plan

APPENDIX A: DEFINITION OF TERMS                                          24
APPENDIX B: ABBREVIATIONS                                                26
APPENDIX C: TERMS OF REFERENCE                                           30
                                                                                                                                                                    organizations, governments, and civil society, for the sake
                                                                                                                                                                    of the sustainable socio-economic development of Africa.
                                                                                                                                                                    ICSU ROA proposes to develop both long- and short-
                                                                                                                                                                    term action plans to implement this science plan.
                                                                                                                                                                    At present, disaster management in Africa is largely
                                                                                                                                                                    limited to emergency humanitarian assistance. In the
                                                                                                                                                                    long term, ICSU ROA aims to mainstream disaster risk
                                                                                                                                                                    reduction practices into knowledge management so as
                                                                                                                                                                    to reduce vulnerability to future hazards and disasters.
                                                                                                                                                                    Furthermore, ICSU ROA will work towards advocacy
                                                                                                                                                                    for incorporating research findings into policies, and will
                                                                                                                                                                    facilitate planning guides and training activities at all
                                                                                                                                                                    levels in society. The planned short-term activities include
                                                                                                                                                                    participation in the hazard-related activities of the UN-
                                                                                                                                                                    proclaimed International Year of Planet Earth (IYPE)
                                                                                                                                                                    “Minimising risk, maximising awareness” (2007–2009),
                                                                                                                                                                    and producing a book on “the societal impact of natural
                                                                                                    1. INTRODUCTION                                                 and human-induced hazards and disasters in Africa”.
                                                                                                    Africa is a continent prone to a wide variety of natural
                                                                                                    and human-induced hazards and disasters. Phenomena              2. NATURAL AND HUMAN-INDUCED HAZARDS
                                                                                                    such as floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis,              AND DISASTERS IN SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA
                                                                                                    droughts, wildfires, pest plagues, and air and water
                                                                                                                                                                    A ‘hazard’, by definition, is any event, phenomenon, or
                                                                                                    pollution cause extensive losses to livelihoods and
                                                                                                                                                                    human activity that may cause loss. Natural and human-
                                                                                                    property, and claim many lives. Africa’s population,
                                                                                                                                                                    induced factors may act together to create a hazard. For
                                                                                                    estimated at 880 million in 2005, is growing at a rate
                                                                                                                                                                    example, earthquakes are normally considered to be
                                                                                                    of 2–4% per annum, so the number of people exposed
                                                                                                                                                                    natural hazards, but they can also be triggered by mining
                                                                                                    to natural and human-induced hazards and disasters
                                                                                                                                                                    activities or the impoundment of large dams. A landslide
                                                                                                    will continue to increase. Mitigation measures are a
                                                                                                                                                                    can be caused by a combination of heavy rains, light
                                                                                                    relatively low priority for African decision- and policy-
                                                                                                                                                                    earth tremors, and deforestation.
                                                                                                    makers, however, as hazards and disasters often pale into
                                                                                                    insignificance when compared to other pressing issues           A ‘disaster’ is defined as an event that causes serious
                                                                                                    such as poverty and HIV/AIDS. The fact that most of             disruption, leading to widespread human, material, or
                                                                                                    the African countries are poor makes this continent the         economic losses beyond the coping capacity of a given
                                                                                                    one that is least equipped and least prepared to cope with      society. Disaster management requires a set of actions
                                                                                                    the impacts of hazards and disasters. Reducing disaster         and processes that are designed to lessen hazardous events
                                                                                                    risk through preventive measures is a central concern for       before they become disasters.
Natural and Human-induced Hazards and Disasters in sub-Saharan Africa

                                                                                                    Africa’s sustainable development. It is vitally important       The study conducted by the Earth Institute at Columbia
                                                                                                    that its countries adopt cost-effective policies to lower       University (USA) to assess the effect of natural disasters as
                                                                                                    risk and allocate appropriate resources for hazard and          well as risks to human populations and economic activity
                                                                                                    disaster mitigation.                                            (see Figure 1) shows that drought and combinations of
                                                                                                    Africa is, in many ways, the continent most in need of          drought and hydro-meteorological hazards are the main
                                                                                                    scientific knowledge to provide solutions and assist its        causes of mortality and economic losses in sub-Saharan
                                                                                                    socio-economic development. However, investment in              Africa (Dilley et al., 2005).
                                                                                                    science, technology, and innovation (STI) is frequently         In no other continent does drought appear to be
                                                                                                    a low priority for decision- and policy-makers, and             as severe a risk as in Africa. While some developed
                                                                                                    scientific institutions have relatively weak infrastructures.   countries are regularly threatened by sudden and
                                                                                                    Through this science plan, ICSU ROA seeks to revitalize         dramatic events such as hurricanes, floods, and
                                                                                                    efforts to address the impact of natural and human-             earthquakes, there is great awareness of these hazards
                                                                                                    induced hazards and disasters on African communities.           and the strategies for mitigating them. In developed
                                                                                                    It is a major challenge for the continent’s scientific          countries, estimates of losses normally reflect insured
                                                                                                    community to develop a truly regional and global                losses of physical infrastructure in densely populated
                                                                            ICSU	ROA	Science	Plan

                                                                                                    partnership to minimize impacts. ICSU ROA’s overall             areas. In contrast, most hazards and disasters in Africa
                                                                                                    objective is to contribute to improved risk management          (with a few exceptions, such as the Mozambique
                                                                                                    and to assist in building a culture of prevention, and to       floods of 1999/2000) are relatively silent and insidious
                                                                                                    do so by improving public awareness and facilitating            encroachments on life and livelihood, increasing social,
                                                                                                    accessibility to disaster information through joint             economic, and environmental vulnerability even to mild
                                                                                                    initiatives with other national, regional, and international    events. For example, recurrent drought, deforestation,

and progressive land degradation and desertification          constituted 59% of the total number of natural disasters
result in incalculable human, crop, livestock, and            that occurred in sub-Saharan Africa (OFDA-CRED,
environmental losses, which are not easily measured by        2002; UN/ISDR, 2004), with floods accounting for
conventional disaster-loss tracking systems (Holloway,        27%, droughts for 21%, windstorms (particularly
1999). As a result, the losses caused by African disasters    tropical cyclones) for 9%, and wildfires for 1%. An
are often underestimated.                                     alarming trend is the increasing number of people
                                                              affected by natural hazards of hydro-meteorological
Figure : African natural disaster hotspots
                                                              origin, with drought, flooding, and windstorms
                                                              accounting for 90% of the total number of people
                                                              affected. Global climate change will continue to alter the
                                                              risk associated with hydro-meteorological hazards. The
                                                              vulnerability of Africa’s environment is exacerbated by
                                                              land degradation, which is a major environmental hazard
                                                              on the continent.

                                                              2.1.1	Floods	and	flash	floods
                                                              Floods are among the most devastating natural hazards
                                                              in Africa, whereas flash floods are among the greatest
  High mortality risk
  Top  deciles of risk from:                                 hazards arising from tropical cyclones and severe storms.
      Drought	only                                            Floods and flash floods cause loss of life, damage to
      Geophysical	only                                        property, and promote the spread of diseases such as
      Hydro	only
                                                              malaria, dengue fever, cholera, and chikungunya. From
      Geophysical	&	Hydro
      Drought	&	Geophysical
                                                              1900 to 2006, floods in Africa killed nearly 20 000
      Drought	&	Hydro                                         people and affected nearly 40 million more, and caused
      Drought,	Hydro	&	Geophysical                            damage estimated at about US$4 billion.
                                                              While the primary cause of flooding is abnormally high
Source:	Dilley	et al.	(2005)	                                 rainfall (for example, due to tropical cyclones), there are
                                                              many human-induced contributory causes such as: land
The challenge for Africa is to improve the quality of
                                                              degradation; deforestation of catchment areas; increased
life of its population without over-harvesting resources
                                                              population density along riverbanks; poor land use planning,
and accumulating waste, which inevitably leads to
                                                              zoning, and control of flood plain development; inadequate
the degradation of the natural assets on which society
                                                              drainage, particularly in cities; and inadequate management
depends. However, the ecological footprint of most
                                                              of discharges from river reservoirs. Flooding can also be
African countries is relatively low, and so is the human
                                                              caused by the failure of dams, both constructed and natural.
development index (Swiss ADC, 2006).
                                                              It has been suggested, for example, that a seismic event could

                                                                                                                                                       Natural and Human-induced Hazards and Disasters in sub-Saharan Africa
This science plan groups hazards and disasters into six       cause the pyroclastic dam retaining Lake Nyos in Cameroon
overlapping categories, namely: (i) hydro-meteorological,     to collapse (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Nyos).
(ii) geological, (iii) biological, (iv) astrophysical, (v)
                                                              The floods that occurred in Mozambique in February
human-induced, and (vi) climate change related.
                                                              2000 are a recent example of a flood disaster. Rainfall
According to the ICSU terms of reference (ICSU,
                                                              accompanying tropical cyclone Eline caused excessive flows
2005), warfare and associated activities fall outside
                                                              in rivers, such as the Limpopo, with catchments in other
the scope of natural and human-induced hazards and
                                                              countries. These floods affected a total of about 4.5 million
disasters. However, the ICSU ROA Scoping Group
                                                              people and caused 700 deaths; losses were estimated at
finds it necessary to include conflict-related disasters in
                                                              US$500 million, and the GDP growth rate decreased from
the present review, as the numerous internal conflicts,
                                                              10% to 2%. In Ethiopia, the most serious floods occurred
crises, and wars are factors that seriously hinder Africa’s
                                                              in May 1968, August 1994, and May 2005, causing damage
development. It is often the cumulative effect of these
                                                              estimated at US$0.9, 3.5, 1.2, and 3.5 million, respectively
phenomena that leads to disasters.
                                                              (OFDA/CRED, 2002). In the period from 2004 to 2006,
                                                              flooding afflicted several areas of eastern and southern
2.1 Hydro-meteorological Hazards                              Ethiopia, Somalia, and Kenya, killing and displacing
Hydro-meteorological events account for most of the           hundreds of people. The Shabelle and Juba Rivers in the
                                                                                                                               ICSU	ROA	Science	Plan

disasters in sub-Saharan Africa, and they impact on           region have both flooded their banks, affecting towns and
nearly every country. They include floods, tropical           villages in an area stretching across hundreds of kilometres.
cyclones, storm wave surges, droughts, extremely high         Floods in the Horn of Africa normally follow the June–
temperatures (global warming), wildfires, sand or dust        September rainy season. According to the UN, the 2006
storms, and landslides and avalanches. In the period          floods, which followed droughts in 2005, affected 1.8 million
1975–2002, disasters of hydro-meteorological origin           people and were the worst in the region for 50 years. In
                                                                                                                                                                    the livestock perished in the Tigray and Welo regions.
                                                                                                                                                                    The widespread droughts of 1984–1985 were the most
                                                                                                                                                                    catastrophic: about 8 million people were affected,
                                                                                                                                                                    1 million died, and large numbers of livestock were lost
                                                                                                                                                                    in the Horn of Africa (Webb et al., 1991). In the 2000
                                                                                                                                                                    drought, nearly 100 000 people died in the same region.
                                                                                                                                                                    The most severely affected were the 16 million nomadic
                                                                                                                                                                    pastoralists whose range straddles the borderlands
                                                                                                                                                                    between Kenya, Somalia, and Ethiopia (www.unicef.org.
                                                                                                                                                                    uk/emergency). In 2006, UNICEF UK reported that
                                                                                                                                                                    over 8 million people were on the brink of starvation in
                                                                                                                                                                    the Horn of Africa (Kenya, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea,
                                                                                                                                                                    and Somalia) due to severe drought, crop failure, and loss
                                                                                                                                                                    of livestock (www.unicef.org.uk/emergency).
                                                                                                                                                                    Signs of vegetation recovery in the Sahel from the late
                                                                                                                                                                    1980s to 2003 were revealed by remote sensing data,
                                                                                                                                                                    although most rainfall stations remain below the long-
                                                                                                    August 2006, overflow of the Dechatu River killed more than     term mean (Nicholson, 2005; Anyamba and Tucker,
                                                                                                    300 people in Dire Dawa (a town in southeastern Ethiopia),      2005). The interpretation of the observed recovery
                                                                                                    displaced thousands more, and caused extensive damage to        sparked further speculation about the causes of this
                                                                                                    homes and markets (BBC News, 6 August 2006).                    green-up – that it could, for example, have been caused
                                                                                                    Flood defence is essential to protect communities. Self-help    by CO2 fertilization and the resulting increase in water-
                                                                                                    for long-term mitigation should be encouraged. At present,      use efficiency by plants in the region rather than by the
                                                                                                    the accuracy and lead times of flood forecasts in sub-Saharan   recovering rainfall (Herrman et al., 2005).
                                                                                                    Africa are limited or questionable. Thus, training and          In southern Africa, severe droughts (such as those of
                                                                                                    research should place emphasis on the prevention of floods.     1982–1983 and 1997–1998) have been linked to the
                                                                                                    New research and collaborative efforts are needed to advance    El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phenomenon. Nearly
                                                                                                    flood management in the future.                                 all climate change projections signal greater chances of severe
                                                                                                                                                                    droughts over southern Africa, particularly in the central and
                                                                                                    2.1.2	Droughts                                                  western areas (IPCC, 2001; Scholes & Biggs, 2004).
                                                                                                    Future projections show a net overall global drying trend,      Drought is also exacerbated by deforestation. Deforestation
                                                                                                    and the proportion of the land surface affected by extreme      rates in the Congo Basin Rainforest, for example, were
                                                                                                    drought is predicted to increase from 1% at present to          estimated at 0.6% per year in the period 1980–1990,
                                                                                                    30% by the end of the 21st century. The drying trend            whereas rates for the whole of Africa varied from 0.1–0.7%
                                                                                                    is related to anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse             (Scholes & Biggs, 2004). Deforestation leads to land
Natural and Human-induced Hazards and Disasters in sub-Saharan Africa

                                                                                                    gasses and sulphate aerosols into the atmosphere (Burke         degradation and eventually desertification, thus increasing the
                                                                                                    et al., 2006). Although droughts under current climate          vulnerability of populations to drought (Timberlake, 1994).
                                                                                                    conditions affect many parts of the globe, they are a           The most serious result of drought is famine. Drought and
                                                                                                    particular concern in sub-Saharan Africa.                       famine are not sudden events, however, but rather the end
                                                                                                    A large part of sub-Saharan Africa is susceptible to            result of long-term degradation of the environment due to
                                                                                                    drought, especially in the Sahel with an annual rainfall        poor land use and irrational exploitation of natural resources.
                                                                                                    of 150–600 mm, while much of southern Africa,                   There are a few organizations that operate to combat drought
                                                                                                    including regions outside the Kalahari, experience              in sub-Saharan Africa. The Economic Community of West
                                                                                                    frequent droughts. Starting from the late 1960s, the            African States (ECOWAS) is developing programmes in
                                                                                                    Sahel experienced devastating and prolonged droughts            environment and natural resource management, including
                                                                                                    that lasted up to 30 years, the causes of which remain a        the management of desertification and water resources. The
                                                                                                    subject of debate. Initial studies blamed the persistence       South African Development Community (SADC), through
                                                                                                    of the drought on poor land use and the resulting               its SADC Water Sector coordinating unit, has approved
                                                                                                    desertification, but recent work indicates that the three-      a strategic approach to manage droughts and floods. The
                                                                                                    decade-long drought might have been due to complex              key institutional player is the SADC Drought-monitoring
                                                                                                    interactions among the atmosphere, land, and ocean              Centre in Harare, Zimbabwe. The SADC Regional Early
                                                                            ICSU	ROA	Science	Plan

                                                                                                    (Nicholson, 2001; Foley et al., 2003). The 1970–1974            Warning Unit (REWU) develops information on weather
                                                                                                    droughts in the Sahel region caused unprecedented losses        threats and conditions as well as drought, and works closely
                                                                                                    in human life and livestock as well as environmental            with the African Centre of Meteorological Application for
                                                                                                    damage. The drought was equally devastating in the              Development (ACMAD). ACMAD’s mission is to provide
                                                                                                    Horn of Africa, and Ethiopia suffered heavily – an              weather and climate information to member countries
                                                                                                    estimated 250 000 human lives were lost and 50% of
through weather prediction, climate monitoring, technology         As shown in Figure 2, studies on climate change reveal
transfer (telecommunications, computing, and rural                 that Africa, like the rest of the world, became warmer
communication) and research. The Inter-Governmental                during the past century, and temperatures are expected
Authority on Development (IGAD) operates a Regional                to continue rising in the future. Extreme events such as
Early Warning System (REWS) as a key component of                  heatwaves are predicted to be among the hazards that
national drought and flood preparedness in the Horn of             will be associated with climate change (Díaz et al., 2004).
Africa. The IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications               Climate change studies focusing on heatwave trends in
Centre (ICPAC) in Nairobi, Kenya, is responsible for the           Africa are lacking. However, indications for other parts
Great Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum (GACOF),                of the world such as North America and Europe are
a participatory consensus mechanism for deriving seasonal          that global warming will lead to more intense, frequent,
forecasts. In the SADC region, the same process is known as        and longer lasting heatwaves during the 21st century
SARCOF. The AGRHRYMET Regional Centre in Niger is                  (Meehl & Tebaldi, 2004). The problem of hazards such
a specialized centre for training and applications in agro-        as heatwaves in Africa will be exacerbated by changes
meteorology and operational hydrology. The services of these       in lifestyle linked to urbanization and general lack of
few technical institutions are limited, however, due to lack of    preparedness for such events.
resources and capacity.
                                                                   2.1.4	Wildfires
2.1.3	Heatwaves
                                                                   Much of sub-Saharan Africa is susceptible to wildfires,
Depending on the average weather in a particular area, a           which destroy pastures, crops, buildings, and
heatwave is a prolonged period of excessively hot weather,         infrastructure. Wildfires may be ignited naturally by
which may be accompanied by high humidity (http://                 lightning or by the spontaneous combustion of coal
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heat_wave/; November 2006). There            (Zimbabwe) and peat (Okavango Delta and Lesotho
is no universal definition of a heatwave (Robinson, 2001)          highlands). Human beings, however, are responsible for
and there is generally little reporting, particularly in Africa,   igniting most of them.
on the health effects of extraordinarily hot conditions. In
                                                                   About 168 million hectares burn annually south of
Europe and North America, heatwaves are increasingly
                                                                   the equator, accounting for 37% of the dry biomass
considered to be a major cause of weather-related deaths
                                                                   burnt globally. It is estimated, for example, that more
annually, rather than more energetic natural hazards such as
                                                                   than 60 million hectares are burnt annually in Sudan
floods, hurricanes, and tornadoes. Severe heatwaves can lead
                                                                   (Goldammer & de Ronde, 2004; Pyne et al., 2004).
to deaths from hyperthermia (or, heat stroke). The elderly,
                                                                   The large area affected by wildfires has implications for
very young children, and people who are ill or overweight are
                                                                   short-term productivity and long-term land degradation
at a higher risk of heat-related illness. Increased demand for
                                                                   processes, which eventually contribute to famine during
cooling in cities during a heatwave often leads to electricity
                                                                   drought periods. Fires caused by human beings are
spikes that can create power failures, further exacerbating the
                                                                   becoming more frequent in Africa. Combined with
problem. Heatwaves can lead to damage of infrastructure,
                                                                   intense drought, these fires destroy biodiversity and
causing ruptured water-lines and buckled roads, for instance.

                                                                                                                                                          Natural and Human-induced Hazards and Disasters in sub-Saharan Africa
                                                                   reduce the regeneration capacity of the vegetation.
Where the heatwave occurs during a drought, it can trigger
                                                                   Although fires cause few deaths, valuable resources are
hazards such as bushfires, which threaten livelihoods and the
                                                                   lost, thereby contributing to poverty. Pasture is destroyed,
security of people and animals.
                                                                   and animals have to be moved or funds allocated to
Figure : Global Mean Temperature Anomaly,                         purchase their feed. According to the Air Pollution
995–004                                                          Information Network Africa (APINA), fires also affect air
                                                                   quality and generate greenhouse gases. In addition, they
             995–004 Mean temperatures                           can affect hydrological processes such as run-off and may
                                                                   lead to soil erosion.
                                                                   Examples of recently reported fire incidents include a
                                                                   threat to fuel storage tanks at an airport in Botswana by
                                                                   a fire during the dry season of 2005; and a wildfire in
                                                                   the Kruger National Park, South Africa, that led to the
                                                                   death of about 20 people. In many African countries,
                                                                   fires are used to clear forest for agricultural purposes.
  1940–1980	Norms
                                                                   In Mauritius, sugar-cane fields are burnt prior to
                                                                                                                                  ICSU	ROA	Science	Plan

                                                                   mechanized harvesting. These fires sometimes get out of
                                                                   control, causing ecological disaster. In the Borana zone in
  –     –.5       –     –0.5     0     0.5          .5   
                                                                   Ethiopia, over 32 000 hectares were burnt by 96 fires in
                         Temperature	anomaly	(°C)
                                                                   March 2000. About 80 000 firefighters were mobilized to
                                                                   extinguish these fires (www.fire.uni-freiburg.de/current/
Source:	IPCC	(2001)
                                                                                                                                                                      telecommunications, roads), and fisheries. Heavy rainfall can
                                                                                                                                                                      cause floods that damage infrastructure and crops, trigger
                                                                                                                                                                      landslides, and spread disease. The impact of these storms
                                                                                                                                                                      on coastal communities is exacerbated by the destruction of
                                                                                                                                                                      natural barriers such as mangrove swamps.
                                                                                                                                                                      In sub-Saharan Africa, the areas most often affected by
                                                                                                                                                                      cyclones are the Indian Ocean islands and the coastal
                                                                                                                                                                      areas of eastern and southern Africa. Cyclones can
                                                                                                                                                                      penetrate as far as over 1 000 km inland, for example,
                                                                                                                                                                      up to Botswana. Countries such as Mauritius are well
                                                                                                                                                                      prepared for cyclones, while others, such as Madagascar,
                                                                                                                                                                      Comoros, and Mozambique, are more vulnerable.
                                                                                                                                                                      Typically, 12 cyclones occur annually in the southwestern
                                                                                                                                                                      Indian Ocean. A very severe cyclone occurs about once a
                                                                                                                                                                      decade. There is concern that Atlantic Ocean hurricanes
                                                                                                                                                                      could affect West African countries such as Senegal,
                                                                                                                                                                      although there has been no recorded instance of this
                                                                                                    Fire prevention and mitigation requires the following:            happening. Further research is needed to assess the risk.
                                                                                                    knowledge about the weather, ecology, and terrain of an
                                                                                                    area; infrastructure for monitoring, such as the availability     The World Meteorological Organization (WMO)
                                                                                                    of satellite images, for example; the ability to mobilize and     Regional Specialised Meteorological Centre in
                                                                                                    train human resources; and appropriate communication              Reunion serves the sub-region with information
                                                                                                    and road networks, all of which are scarce in sub-Saharan         concerning cyclone disasters, especially the members
                                                                                                    Africa. A few African countries, such as Ethiopia and South       of the South West Indian Ocean Cyclone Committee
                                                                                                    Africa, have fire danger warning systems. Most research           (SWIO). Cyclone warnings are broadcast on radio and
                                                                                                    in Africa, however, is based on ecological field studies.         television and published in the press. Warnings are also
                                                                                                    From the late 1980s, the use of satellite data to monitor         disseminated locally through, for example, schools,
                                                                                                    burnt areas for purposes of estimating biomass-related            religious networks, and government and traditional
                                                                                                    greenhouse gases has been introduced in some African              establishments. In this way it has been possible for
                                                                                                    countries. The Southern Africa Fire Network (SAFNet)              countries such as Mauritius to reduce the number of
                                                                                                    provides a framework for exchanging fire management               people killed by cyclones.
                                                                                                    information and for capacity building, with the emphasis
                                                                                                    on the use of geo-spatial information technologies. The           2.1.6	Severe	storms
                                                                                                    Global Fire Monitoring Centre (GFMC) also covers fires            Tornadoes are violent rotating columns of air extending
                                                                                                    in Africa. In addition, the University of Maryland (USA)          from thunderstorms, and they are among the most violent
                                                                                                    and NASA provide near-real-time information on active             and destructive of all weather phenomena. Hailstorms are
Natural and Human-induced Hazards and Disasters in sub-Saharan Africa

                                                                                                    fires detected by the MODIS satellite (http://rapidfire.sci.      associated with thunderstorm activity caused by intense
                                                                                                    gsfc.nasa.gov). In southern Africa, this service is provided      convection and occur in areas such as the South African
                                                                                                    through collaboration with the South African Satellite            highveldt, causing damage to property, crops, and livestock.
                                                                                                    Application Centre (SAC).                                         The forecasting of tornadoes and hailstorms is challenging,
                                                                                                                                                                      as their effects are localized and they last on average less than
                                                                                                    2.1.5	Tropical	cyclones	and	hurricanes                            30 minutes. Currently, there are no warning systems for
                                                                                                    Weather systems characterized by severe winds and                 tornadoes and hailstorms anywhere in Africa. Losses due to
                                                                                                    rainfall, known as ‘tropical cyclones’ in the Indian Ocean and    these events in Africa are limited compared to those caused by
                                                                                                    ‘hurricanes’ in the Atlantic Ocean, are generated between         other types of hazard, and little research has been conducted.
                                                                                                    latitudes 5° and 20° when sea temperatures are sufficiently
                                                                                                    warm. Cyclones or hurricanes are capable of annihilating          2.1.7	Dust	storms
                                                                                                    coastal areas through sustained winds with speeds of              The Sahel region is one of the largest sources of dust
                                                                                                    250 km/h or higher, through heavy rainfall, and, most             storms in the world. Summer storms are due to gusts
                                                                                                    devastating of all, through storm surges that cause the ocean     associated with convective rain-bearing storm systems,
                                                                                                    level to rise by as much as 10 metres. As a cyclone approaches    whereas winter storms are associated with the harmattan
                                                                                                    land, a dome of ocean water, 80–160 km in diameter, sweeps        winds. The dust alters the air quality, affecting animals,
                                                                            ICSU	ROA	Science	Plan

                                                                                                    over the shoreline, causing coastal flooding and damage to        plants, and the weather. Scientists in the Niger-based
                                                                                                    coral reefs, mangroves, and fisheries. In most low-income         Centre de Recherche Médicale et Sanitaire (CERMES)
                                                                                                    countries, the mortality rates associated with cyclones are       have found that dust storms blowing across the Sahel
                                                                                                    3 to 20 times higher than those associated with floods.           might be linked to lethal meningitis outbreaks that often
                                                                                                    Tropical cyclones can cause huge economic losses, especially      hit this region and its 300 million inhabitants.
                                                                                                    in island states, by damaging dwellings, infrastructure (power,
2.2 Geological Hazards                                          Figure : African seismicity, 990–000
Currently, disasters due to geological hazards have a far
smaller impact on sub-Saharan Africa than those due to            40°	
                                                                         –20°	   –10°	   0°	   10°	   20°	   30°	   40°	   50°	   60°	
hydro-meteorological hazards. Earthquakes account for
2%, and landslides and volcanic hazards account for 1%            30°	                                                                30°	

of the number of hazards occurring on the continent                                                                                             0
                                                                  20°                                                                 20°
(OFDA-CRED, 2002). However, the impact of these                                                                                               –70

hazards may change in future.                                     10°                                                                 10°

2.2.1	Earthquakes                                                  0°                                                                  0°    –300

Sub-Saharan Africa is largely a stable intra-plate region        –10°	                                                              –10°	
characterized by relatively low levels of seismic activity,                                                                                  –500
with earthquakes randomly distributed in space and time          –20°                                                               –20°

(see Figure 3). The only parts of sub-Saharan Africa that
                                                                 –30°                                                               –30°
do not display the characteristics of an intra-plate region
are the East African Rift System and the Cameroon                –40°	                                                              –40°	    –800
Volcanic Line, where earthquakes are associated with                     –20°	   –10°	   0°	   10°	   20°	   30°	   40°	   50°	   60°	

active fault zones and volcanic activity.
Devastating earthquakes with magnitudes greater than 6          Source:	http://neic.usgs.gov/neis/general/seismicity
occur almost annually in the East African Rift. Recent events
                                                                The impoundment of reservoirs has also triggered
include the February 2006 Mozambican M7.5 earthquake,
                                                                earthquakes. For example, the filling of Lake Kariba (on the
which was one of the largest ever recorded in southern
                                                                border between Zambia and Zimbabwe) and subsequent
Africa. Tremors were felt as far away as in Zimbabwe and
                                                                fluctuations of water level have been accompanied by
South Africa. Four people were killed, 27 injured, and at
                                                                seismicity, the largest event having a magnitude of 6.2.
least 160 buildings damaged. The extent of economic loss
                                                                Seismicity has also been associated with the Gariep Dam in
was not evaluated. In December 2005, a M6.8 event in the
                                                                South Africa and the Katse Dam in Lesotho.
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) caused several deaths
and damaged school buildings. The event also killed people      Mining-related earthquakes pose a significant hazard to
in the Lake Tanganyika region of western Tanzania, and left     mineworkers in the gold and platinum mining districts of
more than 400 families homeless. The Cameroon Volcanic          South Africa. Thousands of mineworkers have perished
Line experiences earthquakes associated with volcanoes and      during the last century as a result of rock bursting. No
fault movements. They do not exceed magnitude 6, and so         member of the public has suffered fatal or even serious
far have caused no human casualties.                            injuries due to mining-related earthquakes, although
                                                                some events have damaged surface structures. The
Earthquakes also occur occasionally in the Cape Fold
                                                                M5.3 event on 9 March 2005 near Stilfontein (South

                                                                                                                                                                            Natural and Human-induced Hazards and Disasters in sub-Saharan Africa
Belt in South Africa. In this region, the most destructive
                                                                Africa), for example, caused serious damage to schools,
recorded earthquake was a M6.3 event that took place
                                                                commercial properties, apartment blocks, the civic
on 29 September 1969 in the Ceres–Tulbagh region of
                                                                centre, and 25 houses.
the Western Cape, which killed 12 people. Aftershock
activity had virtually ceased when a M5.7 event occurred        The multitude of active faults in the East African Rift
on 14 April 1970, causing further damage in the towns           System poses a significant hazard. Several large dams have
of Ceres and Wolseley.                                          been built there, such as Cabora Bassa (Mozambique)
                                                                and Kariba (on the Zambezi river, between Zambia and
                                                                Zimbabwe). However, African research institutions have
                                                                limited capability to mitigate and respond to earthquake
                                                                hazards and disasters. Currently, no earthquake warning
                                                                system in the region comes close to the required level of
                                                                reliability. A sustainable earthquake disaster mitigation
                                                                strategy requires the compilation of base maps of known
                                                                faults, as well as efforts to detect possible unknown
                                                                faults. It is also necessary to build interactive databases
                                                                of high-risk areas and integrate them with population
                                                                                                                                                    ICSU	ROA	Science	Plan

                                                                distribution, seismic history, and vulnerability to hazards
                                                                and disasters. To advance seismic research, cooperation
                                                                needs to be developed amongst existing institutions
                                                                and networks such as AfricaArray at the University of
                                                                Witwatersrand (South Africa), a pan-African research

                                                                                                                                                                Although not as severely affected as Asia, African countries
                                                                                                                                                                also suffered losses (UNESCO-IOC et al., 2005). In Somalia,
                                                                                                                                                                176 people were killed, 136 went missing, and 50 000 were
                                                                                                                                                                displaced. One person drowned in Kenya. In Madagascar,
                                                                                                                                                                1 000 people were left homeless. No casualties were reported
                                                                                                                                                                in Mauritius, but a village in the northern island was
                                                                                                                                                                submerged. In the Seychelles, three people died and seven
                                                                                                                                                                went missing. In Tanzania, there were 10 deaths, an oil
                                                                                                                                                                pipeline was destroyed, and an oil tanker ran aground.
                                                                                                                                                                The disaster created an awareness of the need for a tsunami
                                                                                                                                                                warning system for the Indian Ocean. Before the event of
                                                                                                                                                                26 December 2004, little research had been done to address
                                                                                                                                                                the risk of tsunamis in the region. No historical records
                                                                                                                                                                of past tsunamis existed for the affected areas. A survey
                                                                                                                                                                conducted by UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic
                                                                                                                                                                Commission (IOC), WMO, and the International Strategy
                                                                                                                                                                for Disaaster Reduction (ISDR) showed that African
                                                                                                and capacity building programme launched in July 2004.          countries have limited capacity to implement mitigation
                                                                                                AfricaArray is involved in determining the lithospheric         measures for tsunamis effectively. The UN started working
                                                                                                structure of the African Plate, and the chemical and            on an Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning System, and by 2005
                                                                                                dynamic causes of the African Super Plume, the largest          had the first monitoring facility in place.
                                                                                                anomaly in the Earth’s mantle, which occurs directly
                                                                                                below South Africa.
                                                                                                                                                                2.2.3	Volcanoes	and	explosive	crater	lakes

                                                                                                2.2.2	Tsunamis                                                  Active volcanoes pose a serious threat to life and property in
                                                                                                                                                                parts of Africa. The continent has about 140 volcanoes that
                                                                                                A tsunami, also known as a seismic sea wave, is a series of     have erupted during the last 10 000 years, of which 25 are
                                                                                                enormous waves created by an underwater disturbance such        active (that is, they have erupted during recent historic time,
                                                                                                as an earthquake, landslide, volcanic eruption, or meteorite    c. 500 years). Volcanic eruptions produce lava and ash flows,
                                                                                                collision. A tsunami can move at hundreds of kilometres         pyroclastic ejections, earthquakes, and landslides. The most
                                                                                                per hour in the open ocean and smash onto landmasses            disastrous volcanic eruption on record in Africa occurred
                                                                                                with waves as high as 30 metres or more. All tsunamis are       at Mount Nyiragongo (DRC, January 2002). It killed 147
                                                                                                potentially dangerous, even though they may not damage          people and destroyed Goma, a town with over half a million
                                                                                                every shore they hit. They can strike anywhere along the        inhabitants. The eruption of Mount Karthala (Comoros,
                                                                                                African coastline.                                              April 2006) caused more than 10 000 villagers to flee their
                                                                                                The 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake, known as the                  homes. Mount Karthala erupts in a cycle of approximately
Natural and Human-induced Hazards and Disasters in sub-Saharan Africa

                                                                                                Sumatra–Andaman earthquake, was an undersea earthquake          11 years, and previous eruptions caused much damage to
                                                                                                that occurred at 00:58:53 Coordinated Universal Time            crops and pastures. Other active volcanoes that have recently
                                                                                                (UTC) (07:58:53 local time) on 26 December 2004. It             erupted include Mount Cameroon (Cameroon, 1999
                                                                                                triggered a series of lethal tsunamis that spread throughout    and 2000), Mount Nyamuragira (DRC, 1995 and 2000),
                                                                                                the Indian Ocean, killing large numbers of people and           Mount Fogo (Cape Verde, 2000), and Mount Oldoinyo
                                                                                                devastating coastal communities across South and South-         Lengai (Tanzania, 1994, 2006, and 2007). Mount Fournaise
                                                                                                East Asia, including those in parts of Indonesia, Sri Lanka,    (Réunion) remains active.
                                                                                                India, and Thailand. The number of casualties is estimated      An eruption occurs in a volcanic crater lake when dissolved
                                                                                                at 186 980 dead and 42 880 missing. The impact on               CO2 in the lake is suddenly released into the atmosphere.
                                                                                                coastal fishing communities was devastating, with high          This may cause mortality in humans, animals, fish and
                                                                                                losses of income earners as well as boats and fishing gear.     insects. Over 40 lakes in Cameroon, as well as Lake Kivu
                                                                                                Beyond the heavy toll on human lives, the tsunami had an        in the DRC, are known to contain elevated levels of carbon
                                                                                                enormous environmental impact that will affect the region       dioxide derived from the mantle. The worst recorded
                                                                                                for many years to come. For example, severe damage was          disaster occurred in Lake Nyos (Cameroon, 1986), where a
                                                                                                inflicted on ecosystems such as mangroves, coral reefs,         carbon dioxide emission killed 1 876 people and numerous
                                                                                                forests, coastal wetlands, vegetation, sand dunes and rock      cattle (Lockwood & Rubin, 1989). A similar event
                                                                                                formations, biodiversity, and groundwater. The destruction
                                                                        ICSU	ROA	Science	Plan

                                                                                                                                                                took place in Lake Monoun in 1984, killing 37 people.
                                                                                                was exacerbated by the spread of solid and liquid waste and     Following a scientific investigation, it was recommended
                                                                                                industrial chemicals, water pollution, and the destruction of   that the lakes be degassed. Successful tests were carried
                                                                                                sewage collection and treatment systems. Soil and freshwater    out at Lakes Monoun and Nyos in 1992 and 1995,
                                                                                                contamination with infiltrated salt water and salt layer        respectively. Degassing equipment was installed in these
                                                                                                deposits on arable land also took their toll.                   lakes between 2001 and 2006.
Africa’s preparedness for monitoring proximal volcanic
hazards and for responding to future disasters is
inadequate. Systems have been installed to monitor
seismic, thermal, and gas emissions. These need to be
complemented with satellite-based monitoring systems
such as global navigation satellite systems and radar
imagery for better mitigation strategies. Remote sensing
data (temperature, gases, geodetic, infrared) as well as
telemetered monitoring of magnetic and electric fields,
gases, and temperature are essential in so far as monitoring
of volcanoes is concerned. An ongoing project at the
Royal Museum of Central Africa in Tervuren (Belgium)
is studying and monitoring African active volcanoes
(SAMAAV), using radar interferometry to examine the
recent evolution and assess the risks associated with four
active volcanoes (Mount Nyiragongo, Mount Cameroon,
Mount Fogo, and Mount Oldoinyo Lengai). This work is
being done in collaboration with African volcanologists,             2.3 Biological Hazards
including those in Cameroon, the DRC, and Tanzania.
                                                                     Epidemics and insect infestations account for 36% of all
                                                                     disasters in Africa (UN/ISDR, 2004). In recent decades
2.2.4	Landslides,	mudflows,	erosion,	and	siltation
                                                                     the damaging effects of such plagues have become
Mass movements, which include a range of natural                     increasingly severe, due to the steady and continuous
phenomena such as landslides, mudflows, erosion, and                 increase in population.
siltation, are affected by rock and soil types, rainfall patterns,
topography, and vegetation. Human factors that contribute            2.3.1	Epidemics
to mass movements include overpopulation, deforestation,
                                                                     Epidemics have been adequately discussed by the ICSU ROA
and poor land management practices.
                                                                     Scoping Group on Health and Human Well-being. This
Landslides and mudflows cause considerable loss of life, and         science plan, therefore, makes only brief mention of health
damage to croplands and infrastructure such as highways,             hazards that are associated with environmental phenomena.
railways, and pipelines. Along the East African Rift System,         Malaria, a disease carried by Anopheles mosquitoes, kills over
the steep topography coupled with seasonal rainfall                  1.5 million people in Africa every year. According to World
constitutes the main factor for generating landslides. For           Bank reports, mosquito-borne diseases are the leading killer
example, the El Niño weather phenomenon in 1997–1998                 of African children. Epidemic malaria in the highlands of
caused widespread landslides and floods in parts of Kenya            eastern Africa is closely associated with climatic hazards such
(Ngecu & Mathu, 1999). The national economic loss due                as the El Niño phenomenon. A series of cholera outbreaks

                                                                                                                                                               Natural and Human-induced Hazards and Disasters in sub-Saharan Africa
to landslides was estimated at US$ 1 billion. In Réunion,            occurred during April–July 2005 in Burkina Faso, Guinea,
a landslide triggered by heavy rainfall and unstable ground          Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal,
overran a busy coastal road in March 2006. A key transport           and the DRC near the eastern border with Rwanda and
route was destroyed, which disrupted economic activity.              Burundi. According to the UN Office for the Coordination
Vehicles were buried, causing several deaths. Landslides are         of Humanitarian Affairs, there were over 24 000 cases of
also common along the Cameroon Volcanic Line. Most                   cholera in West Africa in 2005 (as reported by Derek Quinn,
are due to heavy rainfall, although some are triggered by            Radio Canada International, 29 August 2005). Chikungunya
earthquakes. Recent events in Cameroon include the Limbe             and dengue fever are associated with environmental
landslides in 2001 and the Wabane landslides in 2003, where          phenomena such as flooding and drought. In the East
21 and 23 people were killed, respectively. Heavy economic           African Rift System, landslides can cause outbreaks of Rift
and infrastructural damage was also caused.                          Valley fever by releasing a soil fungus into the air where it
Erosion may degrade arable land, and, consequently, reduce           may be inhaled.
agricultural production. Siltation of rivers and dams results
in shallow waters, which affects irrigations schemes severely        2.3.2	Pest	infestations
and, as a consequence, reduces agricultural production, as           Pests such as locusts, grain-eating birds, and African
has been the case in Zimbabwe. In Mauritius, deforestation           armyworm cause great agricultural losses, contributing to
                                                                                                                                       ICSU	ROA	Science	Plan

has accelerated erosion. The consequent siltation has a              poverty and famine (Mengech et al., 1995). The large grain
significant impact on coastal economic activities such as            borer, Prostephanus truncates, has spread through sub-Saharan
fishing and tourism.                                                 Africa and is causing value and weight losses in stored maize
An inventory of mass movements would be a valuable tool              approaching 60%. About 10 million km2 of Africa is affected
to advance research. Stabilizing slopes and enforcing land use       by animal trypanosomiasis (nagana), spread by tsetse flies
planning in vulnerable areas can mitigate these phenomena.           (Glossina spp.), which seriously limits farming activities.
                                                                                                                                                             approached by ISES and by the South African Department
                                                                                                                                                             of Communications to join forces with SASW to become
                                                                                                                                                             the RWC for space weather on the continent.

                                                                                                                                                             2.4.2	Meteorite	impacts
                                                                                                                                                             The African continent carries the scars of 17 confirmed
                                                                                                                                                             meteorite impacts, ranging in age from the
                                                                                                                                                             2 023-million-year-old Vredefort structure in South
                                                                                                                                                             Africa, to the 10 000-year-old Aorounga structure in Chad
                                                                                                                                                             (Reimold & Gibson, 2005). The number of identified
                                                                                                                                                             impact structures is low compared to relatively well-explored
                                                                                                                                                             regions such as Scandanavia, and it is thought that more
                                                                                                                                                             discoveries will very likely be made in the future. While there
                                                                                                                                                             is no instance of a meteorite impact disaster during recorded
                                                                                                                                                             human history, the phenomenon deserves mention in this
                                                                                                                                                             inventory, as truly catastrophic losses could result should an
                                                                                                                                                             impact occur in a densely populated region. For example, a
                                                                                                2.4 Astrophysical Hazards
                                                                                                                                                             meteorite that is 50 m in diameter – similar to the one that,
                                                                                                                                                             220 000 years ago, created the relatively modest Tswaing
                                                                                                2.4.1	Space	weather                                          crater (diameter of 1.13 km) north of Pretoria – would
                                                                                                Adverse space weather associated with coronal mass           have an explosive force equivalent to 20 to 40 million tons
                                                                                                ejections (CME) and solar flares is a natural hazard         of TNT. Anything in the immediate target area would be
                                                                                                that can affect technological systems such as satellite      instantly vapourized, and violent wind and ejecta would
                                                                                                systems, radio communication, and electrical power           cause devastation over an area of 1 000 km2 or more.
                                                                                                distribution systems in Africa. CMEs entering the Earth’s
                                                                                                upper atmosphere cause large currents (electrojets) in       2.5 Human-induced Hazards and Disasters
                                                                                                the ionosphere, which interact with and disturb the
                                                                                                Earth’s magnetic field. Low-frequency currents may be        2.5.1	Air	and	water	pollution
                                                                                                induced in power lines, causing severe damage to power
                                                                                                                                                             Air pollution is becoming a serious environmental problem
                                                                                                supply equipment and subsequent blackouts. Many
                                                                                                                                                             in Africa, which, in the past 25 years, has been experiencing
                                                                                                other technologies associated with infrastructure are
                                                                                                                                                             the world’s most rapid rate of urbanization at nearly 5%
                                                                                                vulnerable, including radio communication, satellite
                                                                                                                                                             per annum. This, alongside tax regimes that encourage
                                                                                                communications, satellite systems, global positioning
                                                                                                                                                             utilization of dirty fuels, a sharp rise in the importation of
                                                                                                systems, and pipelines.
                                                                                                                                                             old and outdated cars, and inefficient industrial plants, is
                                                                                                Africa is one of only two continents that do not yet         seriously affecting air quality on the continent.
Natural and Human-induced Hazards and Disasters in sub-Saharan Africa

                                                                                                have Regional Warning Centres (RWCs) for space
                                                                                                                                                             The high rate of urbanization (4–8% per annum in
                                                                                                weather. The Southern African Space Weather and
                                                                                                                                                             some cities), expected to continue for the next decade,
                                                                                                Ionospheric Information Service (SASW) at the Institute
                                                                                                                                                             combined with low-income solutions to daily commuting,
                                                                                                of Maritime Technology in Cape Town provides the
                                                                                                                                                             has resulted in the rapid increase in pollutants emitted
                                                                                                only known warning service in Africa. The International
                                                                                                                                                             by motorized vehicles. The available information
                                                                                                Space Environment Service (ISES) provides space
                                                                                                                                                             suggests that the concentrations of toxic metals in many
                                                                                                weather predictions. ISES is a permanent service of
                                                                                                                                                             ecosystems are reaching unprecedented levels. Because of
                                                                                                the Federations of Astronomical and Geophysical
                                                                                                                                                             the heavy load of contaminated dusts in the air of highly-
                                                                                                Data Analysis Services (FAGS) under the auspices of
                                                                                                                                                             populated cities, the ambient concentrations of toxic
                                                                                                the International Union of Radio Science (IURS) in
                                                                                                                                                             metals are now among the highest that have been reported
                                                                                                association with the International Astronomical Union
                                                                                                                                                             in the world. Lead pollution from the rising number of
                                                                                                (IAU) and the International Union of Geodesy and
                                                                                                                                                             automobiles and cottage industries represents a major
                                                                                                Geophysics (IUGG). The mission of the ISES is to
                                                                                                                                                             health hazard, and it is estimated that 15–30% of infants
                                                                                                encourage and facilitate near-real-time international
                                                                                                                                                             in some urban areas may already be suffering from lead
                                                                                                monitoring and prediction of the space environment by
                                                                                                                                                             poisoning (Nriagu, 2004).
                                                                                                the rapid exchange of space environment information
                                                                                                to assist users to reduce the impact of space weather on     According to the Africa Environment Outlook (AEO)
                                                                        ICSU	ROA	Science	Plan

                                                                                                activities of human interest.                                report (UNEP, 2002), the use of biomass fuel, besides
                                                                                                                                                             degrading the environment, also raises the risk to health
                                                                                                Because of the limited impact of space weather, compared
                                                                                                                                                             of women and children, who mostly do the cooking in
                                                                                                to other natural hazards, little research in this area has
                                                                                                                                                             African families. In Tanzania, for example, children under
                                                                                                been conducted in Africa. The Hermanus Magnetic
                                                                                                                                                             five years of age who die from acute respiratory infections
                                                                                                Observatory, situated 100 km east of Cape Town, has been
are three times more likely to have been exposed to the
burning of such fuels.
To address the issues related to air pollution, APINA,
a regional network of scientists, policy-makers, and
non-governmental organizations (NGOs), has been
established and currently covers the southern Africa
region. Their activities form part of a Programme
on Atmospheric Environment Issues in Developing
Countries, coordinated by the Stockholm Environment
Institute (SEI) and funded by the Swedish International
Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) under
a project with the title “Regional Air Pollution in
Developing Countries” (RAPIDC).
Water pollution (for example, contamination in rivers
and lakes) is also a serious hazard in sub-Saharan Africa.
In 2000, over 300 million people did not have access to
clean and safe water, and over 500 million went without       and cadmium), the most serious are pollution from
adequate sanitation. In addition, low-income urban            mercury and land degradation (Hilson, 2002).
dwellers have to pay high prices for water, sometimes up
to 50 times the price paid by higher income groups. This      Mercury is used for gold amalgamation in artisanal
problem has been worsened by high rates of uncontrolled       mining. It is typically released into the atmosphere and
urbanization and industrial activity. An investigation by     waterways, where it is converted by microbes into toxic
the Nigerian Environmental Society in 1985 revealed that,     methyl mercury and poses a threat to the health of
between 1970 and 1983, offshore and on-shore oil spillage     animals and humans. Toxic mercury hotspots have been
amounted to 1 711 354 barrels (Aguiyi-Ironsi, 1988).          identified in several areas of the continent. These include
                                                              the Victoria Fields in Tanzania, and Obuasi and Dumasi
                                                              in Ghana (Hilson, 2002).
2.5.2	Gas	flaring
                                                              The main causes of health hazards among miners include:
Gas flaring is a serious hazard in southern Nigeria. Every
                                                              inhaling large amounts of siliceous dust, careless handling
day, almost two million cubic feet of natural gas is burnt
                                                              of mercury during gold panning, gold/mercury (Au/Hg)
during crude oil production, more than any gas flare
                                                              amalgam processing, the existence of water-logged pits
reported from elsewhere in the world. Not only does gas
                                                              and trenches, and the sharing of poor quality air in
flaring cause major environmental pollution in the Niger
                                                              the mines by large numbers of individuals. The use of
River Delta, where most of Nigeria’s oil is produced, but
                                                              pressure burners to weaken the reef is a deadly mining
it also wastes a valuable resource. According to a World
                                                              procedure, as hot particles of lead, arsenic, and other
Bank report (Svensson & Djumena, 2002), the gas

                                                                                                                                                    Natural and Human-induced Hazards and Disasters in sub-Saharan Africa
                                                              sulphide minerals burn the body and, when the burns
flares in Africa could produce approximately 50% of the
                                                              become septic, death can apparently follow within 2–3
continent’s current power supply.
                                                              years. Health problems of gold miners who have worked
                                                              underground include increased frequency of cancers of
2.5.3	Artisanal	and	small-scale	mining	
                                                              the trachea, bronchus, lung, stomach, and liver; increased
While large-scale mining can also adversely affect the        frequency of pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB), silicosis,
environment, we have chosen to focus on artisanal and         and pleural diseases; increased frequency of insect-borne
small-scale mining in this science plan, as this type         diseases, such as malaria and dengue fever; noise-induced
of mining activity tends not to be properly regulated.        hearing loss; increased prevalence of certain bacterial
The mine operators often have only limited access to          and viral diseases; and diseases of the blood, skin, and
technology. It is estimated that over five million people     musculoskeletal system.
are involved in artisanal mining in Africa.
Artisanal and small-scale mining has made a valuable          2.5.4	Toxic	waste	disposal
contribution to some African countries, providing             For the past three decades, poor African nations have
employment to significant numbers of people, especially       been used as dumping sites for hazardous toxic waste
in rural areas, and adding to foreign exchange earnings.      materials from developed countries. Such wastes include
                                                                                                                            ICSU	ROA	Science	Plan

At the same time, however, this type of mining has            raw sewage, sludge, incinerated ashes, contaminated oils,
adversely affected the environment. While the basic           nuclear materials, acids, and poisonous solvents ejected by
environmental impacts of intensive mining operations          chemical, pharmaceutical, and fertilizer-producing plants
include accumulation of sediments in rivers, lakes and        in the industrialized world (www.american.edu/TED/
water pipes; deforestation and erosion, as well as dust and   oauwaste.htm). The dumping of toxic waste materials
pollution (including heavy metals such as lead, arsenic,      poses a grave environmental threat to African people,
                                                                                                                                                              Poverty, coupled with increasing population pressure,
                                                                                                                                                              is the biggest single cause of this degradation. The rural
                                                                                                                                                              poor, the overwhelming majority of Africa’s population,
                                                                                                                                                              destroy their own environment, not out of ignorance
                                                                                                                                                              but simply for survival. Peasant farmers preoccupied
                                                                                                                                                              with survival over-crop marginal land because there is no
                                                                                                                                                              alternative employment and no better technologies that
                                                                                                                                                              they can afford. Pastoralists overstock to improve their
                                                                                                                                                              chances of surviving the next drought. Rural dwellers
                                                                                                                                                              strip trees and shrubs for wood because they need
                                                                                                                                                              fuel. In the context of the short-term basic needs of an
                                                                                                                                                              individual, each decision is rational; in the long run, the
                                                                                                                                                              effects are disastrous.

                                                                                                                                                              2.5.6	Conflict-related	hazards
                                                                                                                                                              Ongoing conflicts in Africa exacerbate other hazards.
                                                                                                                                                              Fragile and degraded environments can fuel conflict
                                                                                                many of whom are not aware of the dangers and are not
                                                                                                                                                              and war, and vice versa. Conflicts aggravate the effects
                                                                                                equipped to handle the ensuing consequences. In August
                                                                                                                                                              of natural hazards, such as famine and epidemics, by
                                                                                                2006, for example, hundreds of tons of chemical slops
                                                                                                                                                              increasing the vulnerability of societies and ecosystems
                                                                                                were dumped in open-air sites in Abidjan, Côte D’Ivoire.
                                                                                                                                                              already under stress. In turn, the type, onset, and
                                                                                                Ten people are reported to have died, and thousands
                                                                                                                                                              intensity of conflicts are also influenced by natural
                                                                                                more are reported to have fallen ill with vomiting,
                                                                                                                                                              environmental hazards. Both are linked, but the
                                                                                                diarrhoea, nosebleeds, and breathing difficulties (BNW,
                                                                                                                                                              relationship is complex. These issues, therefore, need to
                                                                                                                                                              be integrated in disaster risk reduction interventions. In
                                                                                                                                                              1985, almost all drought-affected African countries (such
                                                                                                2.5.5	Land	degradation                                        as Ethiopia, Sudan, Chad, and Mozambique) were also
                                                                                                Land degradation caused by erosion, desertification,          wracked by civil wars (Timberlake, 1994). Obviously, in
                                                                                                deforestation, and poor agricultural practices is             such times, governments allocate resources to war and
                                                                                                destroying the resources on which African farmers and         give low priority to long-term environmental concerns.
                                                                                                their families depend. Manifestations of land degradation     Today, landmines and unexploded ordinance affect
                                                                                                include the creation of deep gullies, of crusts that water    30 of Africa’s 54 countries (Human Rights Watch, 1993
                                                                                                cannot penetrate, rock-hard laterite layers that hand tools   & 1994). The severely mine-affected sub-Saharan African
                                                                                                and plant roots cannot pierce, and shifting sand dunes        countries include Angola, Chad, Eritrea, Ethiopia,
                                                                                                that swamp villages and fields.                               Somalia, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe.
Natural and Human-induced Hazards and Disasters in sub-Saharan Africa

                                                                                                It has been estimated by UNEP that more than a quarter        Conflict and land degradation can cause large numbers of
                                                                                                of the African continent is in the process of becoming        people to move within the borders of a country or across
                                                                                                useless for cultivation because of land degradation. One      international borders.
                                                                                                of the causes of degradation is population pressure, which
                                                                                                forces farmers to cultivate marginal land. In Malawi,         2.6 Climate Change
                                                                                                for instance, escarpment land that has a slope of more
                                                                                                                                                              Climate change is a cross-cutting issue that is being
                                                                                                than 12% – and that should therefore be forested – is
                                                                                                                                                              dealt with by the ICSU ROA Global Change Scoping
                                                                                                being cultivated, causing erosion, the flooding of fertile
                                                                                                                                                              Group. Climate change, especially global warming,
                                                                                                crop-land below, and the siltation of stream-beds and
                                                                                                                                                              may exacerbate many of the hazards noted above. For
                                                                                                irrigation canals. Thus, erosion is threatening the future
                                                                                                                                                              example, sea-level rise will cause coastal erosion and is an
                                                                                                of one of the few countries in Africa that is successfully
                                                                                                                                                              especially serious threat to island states. It is important to
                                                                                                feeding itself.
                                                                                                                                                              note that the prediction of future hydro-meteorological
                                                                                                Africa’s forests and woodlands are also being depleted,       events from past occurrences is no longer meaningful.
                                                                                                threatening one of the continent’s most important             The 1 in 100-year flood of the 20th century may be a
                                                                                                resources. Nearly four million hectares are now being         1 in 50 or a 1 in 20-year event in the 21st century.
                                                                                                deforested or degraded annually, largely in humid
                                                                        ICSU	ROA	Science	Plan

                                                                                                and sub-humid West Africa. The rate of destruction
                                                                                                is alarmingly high in Cameroon, Côte D’Ivoire, and
                                                                                                Nigeria. The cause of deforestation is mainly land
                                                                                                clearing for agriculture, but uncontrolled logging,
                                                                                                collection of fuel wood, fire, and overgrazing are also
                                                                                                taking their toll.

3.1 Knowledge, Technology, and Capacity Gaps
With a few exceptions, countries in sub-Saharan Africa
lack the capacity to conduct research on natural and
human-induced hazards and disasters, or to apply the
knowledge and deploy technologies to mitigate disasters.
Compared to the developed world, sub-Saharan Africa
lacks data, information, knowledge, skills, and human
resources in this field. Furthermore, there are many
other competing claims to limited resources, and the
proportion of GDP devoted to scientific research lags far
behind that of developed regions. Governments in Africa
tend to rely on international donors rather than to build
indigenous research capacity; that is, rather than investing
in research they more often depend on donor funding
for research projects in their countries. There is therefore
                                                                    types of system could clearly be developed. During
a need to improve training and to build capacity so as
                                                                    the crisis response phase, an ‘on demand’ system is
to facilitate better use of research results in policy- and
                                                                    needed, whereas during the inter-crisis monitoring
                                                                    and warning phase, an ‘always on’ system is required.
Our review of recent work on natural and human-                     During a crisis, high-resolution imagery is normally
induced hazards and disasters indicates that there is               needed, but the ‘always-on’ system could probably be
a good deal of research activity in Africa. For most                at a lower resolution, using lower-cost or free imagery.
countries, however, there are gaps in the availability and          Such possibilities, together with the need to focus on
quality of scientific data, information, and skills, and            vulnerability and risk analysis, support the need for a
where these are available they are often insufficiently             shift from emergency response to prevention. Emphasis
shared. Important gaps in knowledge and information                 should be on monitoring and building knowledge of
pertaining to hazards and disasters in Africa include the           the risks, which will improve predictions of disasters
following.                                                          and the mitigation of their impacts (www.unoosa.
■   Historical records are often inconsistent and                   org/pdf/reports/ac105_808E.pdf ).
    incomplete, owing to difficulties in establishing           ■   There is a shortage of observation platforms, such as
    and maintaining observation and data management                 helicopters and aeroplanes that can respond rapidly
    systems. For example, several hydro-meteorological              to disasters. It is ironic that helicopters are often
    stations on the major rivers of central Africa, which           made available after a disaster has happened, but are
    were perfectly operational during the colonial period           not easily procured for monitoring aimed at hazard

                                                                                                                                                       Natural and Human-induced Hazards and Disasters in sub-Saharan Africa
    and up to the 1980s, are no longer functional.                  prediction and disaster prevention.
■   Remote sensing images provide excellent information
    relevant to studies of hazards, such as, for example, the   3.2 Vulnerability and Resilience of
    hydrology, topography, and land use of catchments,          Socio-ecological Systems
    and variables such as soil moisture and snow cover.         Most environmental problems facing Africa are difficult
    However, many countries lack funds, infrastructure,         to solve as they are chronic, diffuse, and persistent,
    software, and skills to download and interpret the          and disproportionately affect deprived communities.
    remote sensing data. Free data sets (for example,           Research is needed on how to communicate warnings of
    Landsat, NOAA, MODIS, Meteosat), while very                 impending disasters effectively, and how to disseminate
    useful, often have low spatial and/or temporal              knowledge to help communities to improve their
    resolution. While Landsat data has comparatively high       resilience. The values, needs, and interests of different
    spatial resolution, only historical data is available, as   groups and stakeholders should be taken into account.
    the system has ceased to operate. More accurate high-
    resolution data obtainable from sources such as SPOT        Rural communities have developed specific coping
    are very expensive.                                         strategies. These indigenous knowledge systems should
                                                                be investigated, validated, and standardized, as they
                                                                                                                               ICSU	ROA	Science	Plan

■   The emphasis of research into the use of geospatial         are often site-specific. Traditional knowledge in one
    information for disaster management activities should       region might not be applicable in another, and climate
    be placed more on disaster prevention and mitigation        change may result in hazards beyond the knowledge
    and less on emergency disaster response. Although           bank of indigenous systems. It is essential to identify
    solutions that build upon space-based systems could         best practices for reducing hazards and disasters that
    be used in every phase of the disaster cycle, two           can be used as a model for other people. In this respect,
                                                                                                                                                               earthquakes, and space weather, can damage these
                                                                                                                                                               technological systems and cause widespread chaos and
                                                                                                                                                               economic loss. The vulnerability of these systems must be
                                                                                                                                                               assessed and steps taken to improve their resilience.

                                                                                                                                                               3.4 Effective Transfer of Information to
                                                                                                                                                               Policy- and Decision-makers
                                                                                                                                                               There is a need to establish dialogue among scientists,
                                                                                                                                                               policy- and decision-makers. As environmental
                                                                                                                                                               degradation is not only a technical/scientific problem, any
                                                                                                                                                               discussion of environmental degradation should involve
                                                                                                                                                               policy- and decision-makers. Research is needed on how
                                                                                                                                                               to translate research results into policies that minimize the
                                                                                                                                                               human and economic cost of hazards, for example, in land
                                                                                                                                                               use planning and environmental issues. In this respect,
                                                                                                                                                               ICSU ROA can play an important role in promoting and
                                                                                                                                                               linking scientific research and capacity building in Africa
                                                                                                it is necessary to improve the interaction among local,
                                                                                                                                                               to policy and decision makers and society.
                                                                                                regional, national, and international research teams for
                                                                                                the successful exchange of research findings. This requires
                                                                                                                                                               3.5 Integrated Modelling of Multiple Disasters
                                                                                                a multidisciplinary approach. Many projects have failed
                                                                                                in Africa because they are not based on local needs,           A research and implementation plan to deal with natural
                                                                                                initiatives, and material resources. Research is needed,       and human-induced hazards and disasters requires
                                                                                                therefore, on disaster resilience and on how to tap the        an integrated, multi-hazard approach (for example,
                                                                                                knowledge base of rural communities to mitigate local          to environmental degradation, conflicts, dangers to
                                                                                                vulnerabilities.                                               health) that addresses vulnerability and risk assessment
                                                                                                                                                               as an integral component of disaster management.
                                                                                                Africa is the continent where urban areas are growing
                                                                                                                                                               Implementation planning should also make provision
                                                                                                fastest and where millions of poor people are living in
                                                                                                                                                               for the scientific activities needed to reduce the risks
                                                                                                slums on hazardous sites such as flood plains and steep
                                                                                                                                                               and consequences of natural and human-induced
                                                                                                slopes. However, little attention has been given to the
                                                                                                                                                               environmental hazards. Integrated environmental and
                                                                                                vulnerability of city dwellers to environmental hazards
                                                                                                                                                               socio-economic modelling as well as scenario building are
                                                                                                other than air pollution. Urban people are directly
                                                                                                                                                               needed to identify the scale and direction of the necessary
                                                                                                susceptible to floods, fires, and disease epidemics, and
                                                                                                                                                               mitigating and recovery strategies. In this respect, Earth
                                                                                                low-income groups are particularly vulnerable to drought
                                                                                                                                                               observation satellites and geoinformation technology are
                                                                                                because of their strong link to rural food supplies.
                                                                                                                                                               valuable tools for hazards-and-disasters managers and
Natural and Human-induced Hazards and Disasters in sub-Saharan Africa

                                                                                                Coastal areas are increasingly being developed for             respondents. By using multiple modes of observation,
                                                                                                shipping, security zones, recreation and tourism, fishing      researchers can create methods for integrating
                                                                                                and agriculture, habitation, and job opportunities. Small      information from various sources.
                                                                                                island states are particularly vulnerable to damage in
                                                                                                natural ecosystems (coral reefs, wetlands, freshwater          3.6 Early Warning and Preparedness
                                                                                                resources, marine resources, forests, and soils) because
                                                                                                of the small land area, limited resources, and fragile,        Early warning means providing timely and effective
                                                                                                ocean-based economies. In coastal regions, the informal        information through identified institutions, so that
                                                                                                settlements of the poor are in particular danger from          vulnerable communities can take action to avoid or
                                                                                                tsunamis and storm surges along the shoreline. They are        reduce their risk, and prepare for effective response.
                                                                                                also likely to bear the brunt of rising sea levels. Detailed   There is an urgent need to transmit scientific knowledge
                                                                                                information on present and future risks of population          on hazards to support early warning and preparedness.
                                                                                                exposure to coastal hazards is essential for mitigation        The challenge is how to provide relevant education
                                                                                                technologies and policies.                                     at different levels (communities, schools, tertiary
                                                                                                                                                               institutions) to facilitate mitigation of hazards. A gender
                                                                                                                                                               perspective is also essential in disaster risk management
                                                                                                3.3 Vulnerability and Resilience of
                                                                                                                                                               policies, and in plans and decision-making processes,
                                                                                                Technological Systems
                                                                        ICSU	ROA	Science	Plan

                                                                                                                                                               including those related to risk assessment, education,
                                                                                                All countries, including those in sub-Saharan Africa,          and training. For example, to address increasing disasters
                                                                                                depend on their power transmission and information             from natural hazards, the United Nations International
                                                                                                technology infrastructure, and the level of dependence         Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR) report on Global
                                                                                                is likely to increase as African countries seek to bridge      Survey of Early Warning Systems (ISDR, 2006) proposed
                                                                                                the ‘digital divide’. Many natural hazards such as floods,     a People-Centred Early Warning Systems (P-CEWS) that
is relevant for addressing disaster management in Africa.           4. PROPOSED RESEARCH ACTIVITIES
The aim of the P-CEWS (see Figure 4) is to “empower
                                                                    Five flagship projects are proposed to deal with natural
individuals and communities facing hazards to act in
                                                                    and human-induced hazards and disasters. All are
sufficient time and in an appropriate manner to reduce
                                                                    multidisciplinary and have been defined in terms of
personal injury, loss of life, damage of property and the
                                                                    geographic regions that transcend national borders.
environment and loss of livelihoods.”
                                                                    Capacity building and outreach are cross-cutting
It is necessary to improve the capability to identify               components that will be included in all the projects.
indicators of physical, social, and environmental
vulnerabilities throughout Africa, and to select and                4.1 Creation and Maintenance of a
implement realistic solutions to reduce them to                     Multidisciplinary Hazard Database
acceptable levels. It is also necessary to develop a
                                                                    The activities for this project will include:
vulnerability index using hazard maps, for use by policy-
makers to make informed decisions, as well as by donors,            ■   Development of a multi-hazard database, bearing in
to provide the required assistance.                                     mind the region-specificity of hazards and disasters

Figure 4: People-Centred Early Warning Systems                      ■   Promotion of the use of Earth observation and ground
                                                                        instrumentation systems.

    An effective people-centred early warning                       Duration and budget: Maintenance of the database will
   system is formed by 4 inter-related elements                     be a continuous process. The initial development of the
                                                                    database is estimated to cost US$10 million (including
        Risk knowledge                                              US$0.25 million for feasibility studies of 6-months’
                                      Monitoring & warning          duration) for a period of three years.
       Systematically	collect
        data	and	undertake
                                     Develop	hazard	monitoring	
          risk	assessment
                                                                    4.2 Vulnerability Science
                                     and	early	warning	services
                                                                    This overarching project addresses generic issues relevant
       Dissemination and                                            to the mitigation of hazards and disasters. Issues to be
                                       Response capability
        communication                                               addressed include:
                                    Build	national	and	community	
         Communicate	risk                                           ■   Risk analysis techniques and disaster management
                                         response	capabilities
   Information	and	early	warnings
                                                                        strategies appropriate to different risk profiles
                                                                    ■   Development of early warning systems and
  Weakness/failure	in	any	parts	of	these	elements	may	                  preparedness against hazards and disasters
    result	in	complete	failure	of	the	whole	system
                                                                    ■   Development of adapted technologies in areas prone
                                                                        to specific types of hazard (for example, the adaptation
Source:	ISDR,	2006
                                                                        of architectural designs to reduce the impact of floods,

                                                                                                                                                            Natural and Human-induced Hazards and Disasters in sub-Saharan Africa
                                                                        tornadoes, or earthquakes)
3.7 Environmental Change
                                                                    ■   Efficient communication strategies for timely
There is consensus among scientists that climate change is a            information on the occurrence of events
growing threat. However, questions on how climate change
will directly impact risk patterns remain largely unanswered        ■   Resilience of socio-ecological systems
because current climate models are unable to predict specific       ■   Environmental degradation (for example, deforestation,
alterations in weather patterns, storm severity, or habitat             desertification) caused by hazards and disasters
degradation. Mitigating the unpredictable outcomes of
                                                                    ■   Assessment and development of methods (for example,
climate change presents a difficult challenge for society at
                                                                        decision-support tools)
every scale. There is a need to determine how to integrate
adaptation to, and preparedness for risks of hazards such as        ■   Compilation of vulnerability maps
floods and droughts that might result from climate change.          Considering their relative importance, special attention will
The emerging work on drought and heatwaves gives a                  be focused on mitigating the risk of drought and flooding.
glimpse of hope in this direction.
                                                                    4.2.1	Mitigating	the	risk	of	flooding
3.8 Environmental Degradation
                                                                    In addition to the generalities of vulnerability science
                                                                                                                                    ICSU	ROA	Science	Plan

Long-term environmental problems can fuel conflicts                 described above, specific activities will include:
and civil wars, which, in turn, can contribute to further
environmental degradation. The interconnections are                 ■   A pilot study of a river catchment system that would
complex, however, and research is required on the link                  involve several countries and include several settings
between environmental degradation and conflicts.                        (for example, both rural and densely populated areas)
                                                                    ■   Water politics.
                                                                                                4.2.2	Mitigating	the	risk	of	drought                           4.5 Geohazards
                                                                                                Attention will be given to:                                    Projects on geohazards will be linked with the activities
                                                                                                                                                               of the UN-proclaimed IYPE. These activities will have a
                                                                                                ■   Multidimensional assessment of future vulnerability
                                                                                                                                                               two-pronged approach:
                                                                                                    to drought, spatial and temporal trends of drought in
                                                                                                    the continent, the relation between drought and land       (a) Research activities
                                                                                                    degradation, and the relation between fire and drought
                                                                                                                                                               Research will focus on:
                                                                                                ■   A pilot study of a region vulnerable to drought (for
                                                                                                                                                               ■   Earth observing systems
                                                                                                    example, SADC; East, West and Central Africa;
                                                                                                    the Sahel region) that includes several settings (for      ■   Environmental impact assessments of structures such as
                                                                                                    example, both rural and densely populated areas).              dams, and of the collapse of structures due to mining
                                                                                                Duration and budget: All projects will be carried out
                                                                                                within a timeframe of five years. The overall budget for       ■   Seismic events
                                                                                                the projects in vulnerability science is estimated at          ■   Tsunamis
                                                                                                US$38 million (which includes US$1 million for
                                                                                                feasibility studies of 6-months’ duration).                    ■   Explosion of crater lakes
                                                                                                                                                               ■   Rift Valley earthquakes and landslides
                                                                                                4.3 Science and Policy Linkage
                                                                                                                                                               ■   Pollution resulting from exploitation of mineral
                                                                                                This project will aim at:                                          resources (mercury pollution, oil spills, rockbursts).
                                                                                                ■   Improving effective transfer of information and data       (b) Outreach programmes
                                                                                                    from scientists to policy-makers and facilitating
                                                                                                                                                               Outreach activities will focus on the production of
                                                                                                    informed decisions based on scientific evidence
                                                                                                                                                               a book on natural and human-induced hazards and
                                                                                                ■   Advocacy for policies towards sustainable management       disasters in Africa.
                                                                                                    of natural resources (for example, water and biomass)
                                                                                                                                                               Duration and budget: The project will run for three years
                                                                                                ■   Promotion of meaningful interdisciplinary                  with a budget of US$10 million (including US$0.6 million
                                                                                                    collaborations including the involvement of social         for feasibility studies of 6-months’ duration).
                                                                                                Duration and budget: The project is estimated to run           4.6 Cross-cutting Research Activities
                                                                                                for three years with a budget of US$5 million (including       The following research areas identified by the ICSU ROA
                                                                                                US$0.25 million for feasibility studies of 6-months’           Scoping Group on Natural and Human-induced Hazards
                                                                                                duration).                                                     and Disasters overlap with issues addressed by other
                                                                                                                                                               ICSU ROA scoping groups, and should be coordinated
                                                                                                4.4 Integrated Modelling of Multiple Disasters                 appropriately:
Natural and Human-induced Hazards and Disasters in sub-Saharan Africa

                                                                                                Despite the regular occurrence of hazards and disasters,       ■   Climate change (Global Change)
                                                                                                there is little understanding of their real economic
                                                                                                                                                               ■   Deforestation (Energy)
                                                                                                impact, especially when several devastating events occur
                                                                                                together. The purpose of integrated modelling is to:           ■   Geomedicine – including, for example, mining-related
                                                                                                                                                                   health hazards (Health and Human Well-being).
                                                                                                ■   Enable precise evaluation of the vulnerability to
                                                                                                    compounded hazards and disasters (for example,
                                                                                                    drought, floods, and cyclones) and to establish an index   4.7 Summary of Proposed Research Activities
                                                                                                    describing vulnerability to compounded events
                                                                                                                                                                   Project                               Duration             Cost
                                                                                                ■   Make accurate assessments of losses due to hazards and         	                                   						(years)			   	(US$	million)
                                                                                                                                                                   1.	Multi-hazard	database		          												3		    											10
                                                                                                ■   Minimize costs of hazards
                                                                                                                                                                   2.	Vulnerability	science		          												5		    											38
                                                                                                ■   Assess vulnerability associated with urbanization
                                                                                                                                                                   3.	Science	and	policy	linkage		 												3		        													5
                                                                                                ■   Provide a tool to enable the prediction of the effects
                                                                                                                                                                   4.	Integrated	modelling		           												5		    											10
                                                                                                    of climate change on hazards and disasters, especially
                                                                        ICSU	ROA	Science	Plan

                                                                                                    floods and droughts.                                           5.	Geohazards/IYPE		                												3		    											10

                                                                                                Duration and budget: The project will last five years with         TOTAL		                             	                  									73
                                                                                                an estimated budget of US$10 million (including US$0.25
                                                                                                million for feasibility studies of 6-months’ duration).

Several organizations and institutions carry out disaster
mitigation in Africa. It is necessary to link and work
together with these bodies so that the activities of ICSU
ROA complement (not duplicate) existing activities in the
region. Some of the institutions that conduct research and
capacity building activities are listed below.

5.1 United Nations (UN)
The United Nations (UN) promotes global sustainable
development and poverty reduction through Agenda 21.
Reduction in vulnerabilities to disasters is essential to
achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
The ISDR, which is a successor to the International Decade
for Natural Disaster Reduction (IDNDR), provides a global
framework for action with the objective of reducing human,
social, economic, and environmental losses due to natural    management cycle. The UN Platform for Space-based
hazards and related technological and environmental          Information for Disaster Management and Emergency
phenomena. The role of ISDR is to encourage both policy      Response (SPIDER) is designed to be a gateway to space
and awareness activities by promoting national committees    information for disaster management support; a bridge
dedicated to disaster reduction and working in close         to connect disaster management and space communities;
association with regional initiatives. The ISDR Nairobi      and a facilitator of capacity building and institutional
office launched the Africa Outreach Programme in October     strengthening. The SPIDER platform will contribute
2002 (UN-ISDR Geneva).                                       to ensuring that all countries have access to and can use
                                                             all types of space-based information to support the full
There is strong emphasis in UNEP on the interaction          disaster management cycle. The countries with access to
between natural disasters and the environment. Through       the space-based information will work closely with end-
its Global Environment Outlook (GEO) project, UNEP           user communities, particularly in developing countries,
has carried out scientific assessments on vulnerability      through the consolidation of a network of regional
to natural disasters for many regions of the world. For      support offices.
example, UNEP assesses the impact of deforestation on
vulnerability to natural disasters. It has documented the    The Africa Geodetic Reference Frame project (AFREF)
role of mangroves and coral reefs in protecting against      has been established with the UN Committee for
the effect of tsunamis in Sri Lanka. Furthermore, UNEP,      Development Information (UN-CODI) structures. The
in collaboration with the global fire-monitoring centre,     lack of a unified geodetic reference frame for Africa is
                                                             a serious hindrance to the cross-border, regional, and

                                                                                                                                                 Natural and Human-induced Hazards and Disasters in sub-Saharan Africa
coordinates actions to combat large international forest
fire emergencies.                                            continental mapping of natural resources; planning of
                                                             agricultural projects; and development of supporting
The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural                  infrastructures such as dams, roads, and railways. When
Organisation (UNESCO) is involved in various                 fully implemented, AFREF will consist of a network
programmes related to hazards, including the                 of continuous, permanent Global Navigation Satellite
International Geoscience Programme (IGCP) and the            System (GNSS) stations such that a user anywhere in
International Year of Planet Earth (IYPE) projects and       Africa would have free access to the GNSS data and
some projects of the International Geosphere–Biosphere       would be, at most, 500 km away from such stations.
Programme (IGBP). During the Kobe Conference,                One of the main AFREF goals is the transfer of skills to
UNESCO organized sessions on education for                   personnel at African national mapping organizations.
sustainable development, floods and landslides, cultural     Scientific unions belonging to ICSU, such as the IUGG,
heritage management, and tsunami mitigation and early        support the project.
warning in the Indian Ocean. It also compiled 90 case
studies on good practice in disaster risk reduction.         Other relevant UN-related activities include the WMO
                                                             THORPEX research programme and the UNU/ITC-
The UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer               coordinated University Network for Disaster Risk
Space has agreed to recommend to the UN General              Reduction in Africa (UNEDRA).
                                                                                                                         ICSU	ROA	Science	Plan

Assembly that the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs
(UN-OOSA) implement a programme to ensure that
all countries and relevant international and regional
organizations have access to, and use all types of
space-based information to support the full disaster

                                                                                                5.2 African Union (AU)                                             Amongst its various technical committees is a
                                                                                                                                                                   special Working Group on Critical Information
                                                                                                The African Union (AU) seeks to improve the resilience
                                                                                                                                                                   Infrastructures, which could make an important
                                                                                                of the peoples of Africa when they are faced with
                                                                                                                                                                   contribution to projects dealing with vulnerability of
                                                                                                disasters, and to support disaster risk reduction and
                                                                                                                                                                   IT systems to natural disasters.
                                                                                                management activities. For example, the OAU, the
                                                                                                predecessor of the AU, set up a Special Emergency              ■   ICSU ROA plans to initiate research and capacity
                                                                                                Assistance Fund (SEAF) in 1984 to help disaster victims.           development activities in Africa within the framework
                                                                                                                                                                   of the planned IYPE activities. In particular, it is
                                                                                                The New Partnership for Africa’s Development
                                                                                                                                                                   proposed that ICSU ROA mobilize the African
                                                                                                (NEPAD) promotes food security, poverty reduction,
                                                                                                                                                                   scientific community to submit an expression of
                                                                                                and sustainable development, as well as actions that
                                                                                                                                                                   interest and prepare research and outreach project
                                                                                                seek to reduce the impact of disasters and other threats,
                                                                                                                                                                   proposals under the hazards theme of IYPE,
                                                                                                particularly those affecting the environment, agriculture,
                                                                                                                                                                   “Minimising risk, maximising awareness”. A key
                                                                                                and health. Concerning Africa, the plan developed at the
                                                                                                                                                                   component of this initiative will be the development
                                                                                                World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD),
                                                                                                                                                                   of a research programme through networking with
                                                                                                held in Johannesburg in 2002, urged action at all levels to
                                                                                                                                                                   researchers within the ICSU Geo-Unions, IGCP,
                                                                                                support Africa in dealing effectively with natural disasters
                                                                                                                                                                   IGOS, IGBP, ISDR, and CDR.
                                                                                                and conflicts.

                                                                                                                                                               6. BUDGET AND FUND-RAISING STRATEGIES
                                                                                                5.3 ICSU Membership
                                                                                                                                                               ICSU ROA will develop project proposals for funding
                                                                                                The ICSU family has several relevant programmes and
                                                                                                                                                               within the framework of the UN-proclaimed IYPE
                                                                                                projects dealing with hazards and disasters. For example:
                                                                                                                                                               activities. It is also necessary to seek funds from other
                                                                                                ■   The International Geographical Union (IGU) has a           organizations such as the European Union, UNESCO,
                                                                                                    number of commissions on hazards and risks. It focuses     UNEP, development partners of Africa, and the national
                                                                                                    particularly on the vulnerability of ecosystems, such as   and scientific union members of ICSU. There are limited
                                                                                                    land degradation and desertification, land use change,     financial resources in organizations such as SADC,
                                                                                                    and population and vulnerability.                          ECOWAS, and EAC, but they could assist in soliciting
                                                                                                ■   The International Lithosphere Programme (ILP)              funds for ICSU ROA projects. It is also strongly
                                                                                                    promotes themes that include evaluation of seismic         recommended that African governments be urged to
                                                                                                    exposure, impact on society, economic consequences,        provide financial and material support for these projects.
                                                                                                    and preparedness and emergency response capabilities.
                                                                                                                                                               7. RECOMMENDATIONS
                                                                                                ■   The projects of the IUGG include a series of activities
                                                                                                    on geohazards, addressing risks in cities, and exploring   The mobilization of Africa’s intellectual resources
                                                                                                    scientific issues while raising awareness among policy-    will undoubtedly be the critical factor in ensuring
                                                                                                                                                               implementation of the ICSU ROA science plans for
Natural and Human-induced Hazards and Disasters in sub-Saharan Africa

                                                                                                                                                               Africa. ICSU ROA can serve as a bridge between African
                                                                                                ■   The International Union of Geological Sciences             institutions and the international scientific community.
                                                                                                    (IUGS) Programme for Environmental Management              In this respect, the need for African scientists to work
                                                                                                    deals mostly with urban hazards. IUGS funds the            with local communities in evaluating risks and finding
                                                                                                    IGCP projects jointly with UNESCO.                         ways to respond to risks cannot be overemphasized. To
                                                                                                ■   Geo-Sciences in Africa (GIA), which seeks to promote       this end, we make the following recommendations.
                                                                                                    basic and applied research in geosciences that will
                                                                                                    improve the quality of life in Africa, was initiated       7.1 Science Priorities
                                                                                                    by the IUGG, is supported by the other ICSU Geo-
                                                                                                                                                               i. A database and set of analytical tools for the
                                                                                                    Unions such as IUGS, and works closely with the
                                                                                                                                                                  prediction and mitigation of environmental hazards,
                                                                                                    ICSU ROA.
                                                                                                                                                                  risk reduction, and disaster management should be
                                                                                                ■   The International Union of Pure and Applied                   developed.
                                                                                                    Chemistry (IUPAC) has organized meetings
                                                                                                                                                               ii. ICSU ROA should ensure the establishment of
                                                                                                    on water quality and is deeply concerned with
                                                                                                                                                                   mechanisms to monitor progress of activities in Africa
                                                                                                    appropriate applications of chemistry in the region.
                                                                                                                                                                   with regard to hazard preparedness and mitigation.
                                                                                                    The Committee on Chemistry Education, which
                                                                        ICSU	ROA	Science	Plan

                                                                                                    promotes capacity building in the region, will hold an     iii. The effect of climate change on various hazards
                                                                                                    International Conference in 2008 in Mauritius with              (such as floods and wildfire, for instance) should be
                                                                                                    satellite meetings in Kenya.                                    addressed through research targeted at hazard early
                                                                                                                                                                    warning and at the vulnerability/resilience of socio-
                                                                                                ■   The International Federation for Information
                                                                                                                                                                    economic systems. In its enabling role, ICSU ROA
                                                                                                    Processing (IFIP) is an affiliate member of ICSU.
   should leverage the gains of past and ongoing research
   activities of several development partners such as the
   World Bank, SIDA/SAREC (Sweden), DFID (UK),
   and CIDA (Canada), in capacity building and needs

7.2 Partnerships
i. This science plan needs the support of African scientific
   institutions as well as regional and international partners
   for its successful implementation. The African Diaspora
   should be involved in the implementation of the four
   science plans of ICSU ROA. Work should be done
   by ICSU ROA to strengthen national, regional, and
   international institutional frameworks to facilitate disaster
   risk-related information management and sharing.
   Coordination of different hazard and disaster research
   initiatives at regional levels should be facilitated.
ii. Information regarding research activities (that is,
    scientific data, reports, publications) and skills
    should be disseminated through existing networks
    CEMAC, IOC, and other pan-African structures and

7.3 Capacity Building and Outreach
i. Centres of excellence should be supported in efforts
   to offer specialized courses to practitioners and to
   involve postgraduate students in research projects.
                                                                    8. CONCLUSIONS
ii. Education and awareness-raising campaigns should
    be directed, as far as possible, at the stakeholders at         This science plan has highlighted the major actions that
    all levels, and use all structures and establishments           need to be taken to reduce the extent of damage caused
    to ensure understanding of early warnings of                    to African communities by natural and human-induced
    forthcoming hazards and disasters.                              hazards and disasters. The successful implementation
                                                                    of the proposed research projects will result in better
iii. It is also necessary to introduce key research findings

                                                                                                                                                            Natural and Human-induced Hazards and Disasters in sub-Saharan Africa
                                                                    scientific knowledge and understanding of hazards and
     into school and tertiary curricula by developing teaching
                                                                    disasters in Africa, and will provide adequate scientific
     aids, for example, DVDs, CDs, and posters. On-line
                                                                    evidence and skills to guide disaster management policies.
     computer-aided interactive learning modules should be
                                                                    Effective implementation of this science plan will
     developed, for example, case histories with real data and
                                                                    require substantial mobilization of human and financial
     tutorial exercises (an on-line module is being developed
                                                                    resources and research facilities for training, research, and
     by universities in Mauritius, Malta, and the South Pacific
                                                                    community education (outreach), as well as extensive
     dealing with vulnerability of islands to natural disasters).
                                                                    regional and international collaboration, partnerships,
     The African Virtual University (AVU) in Nairobi is
                                                                    and networking. ICSU ROA will promote, facilitate, and
     developing teaching materials. The University of South
                                                                    coordinate activities aimed at addressing the challenges
     Africa (a South African distance learning institution)
                                                                    facing the African continent, as highlighted in this
     offers a module in Disaster Management. The University
                                                                    science plan.
     of Botswana has established policy on ‘virtual centres’
     to link scientists working on specific themes, including
     environmental hazards and disasters.
                                                                                                                                    ICSU	ROA	Science	Plan

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                                                                                                APPENDIX A
                                                                                                Definition of terms
                                                                                                Source:	ISDR	Terminology	www.unisdr.org/eng/library/lib-terminology-eng%20home.htm		

                                                                                                Acceptable risk                 The level of loss that a society or community considers acceptable, given existing social,
                                                                                                                                economic, political, cultural, technical, and environmental conditions.
                                                                                                                                In engineering terms, ‘acceptable risk’ is a term also used in assessing structural and
                                                                                                                                non-structural measures undertaken to reduce possible damage at a level that does not
                                                                                                                                harm people and property, according to codes or ‘accepted practice’, based, amongst
                                                                                                                                other things, on a known probability of hazard.

                                                                                                Capacity                        A combination of all the strengths and resources available within a community, society,
                                                                                                                                or organization that can reduce the level of risk or the effects of a disaster.
                                                                                                                                Capacity can include physical, institutional, social, or economic means as well as skilled
                                                                                                                                personal or collective attributes such as leadership and management. Capacity can also
                                                                                                                                be used to mean ‘capability’.

                                                                                                Disaster                        A serious disruption of the functioning of a community or a society, causing
                                                                                                                                widespread human, material, economic, or environmental losses that exceed the coping
                                                                                                                                ability of the affected community or society if it is to use its own resources.
                                                                                                                                A disaster is a function of the risk process. It results from the combination of hazards,
                                                                                                                                conditions of vulnerability, and insufficient capacity or measures to reduce the potential
                                                                                                                                adverse consequences of risk.

                                                                                                Disaster risk management        The systematic process of using administrative decisions, organization, operational
                                                                                                                                skills, and capacities to implement policies, strategies, and coping capacities of the
                                                                                                                                society and communities so as to lessen the impacts of natural hazards and related
                                                                                                                                environmental and technological disasters.
Natural and Human-induced Hazards and Disasters in sub-Saharan Africa

                                                                                                                                Disaster risk management comprises all forms of activities, including structural and
                                                                                                                                non-structural measures to avoid (prevention) or to limit (mitigation and preparedness)
                                                                                                                                adverse effects of hazards.

                                                                                                Geological hazard               Natural Earth processes or phenomena that can cause loss of life or injury, damage to
                                                                                                                                property, social and economic disruption, or environmental degradation.
                                                                                                                                Geological hazards include internal Earth processes of tectonic origin such as
                                                                                                                                earthquakes, geological fault activity, tsunamis, and volcanic activity and emissions, as
                                                                                                                                well as external processes such as mass movements – for example, landslides, rockslides,
                                                                                                                                rock falls or avalanches, the collapse of surfaces, expansive soils, and debris or mud
                                                                                                                                flows. Geological hazards can be single, sequential, or combined in their origin and

                                                                                                Hazard                          A potentially damaging physical event, phenomenon, or human activity that can
                                                                                                                                cause loss of life or injury, damage to property, social and economic disruption, or
                                                                                                                                environmental degradation.
                                                                        ICSU	ROA	Science	Plan

                                                                                                                                Hazards can include latent conditions that may represent future threats and can have
                                                                                                                                different origins: natural (geological, hydro-meteorological, and biological) or induced
                                                                                                                                by human processes (environmental degradation and technological hazards). Hazards
                                                                                                                                can be single, sequential, or combined in their origin and effects. Each hazard is
                                                                                                                                characterized by its location, intensity, frequency, and probability.

Hydro-meteorological hazards   Natural processes or phenomena of an atmospheric, hydrological, or oceanographic
                               nature, which can cause loss of life or injury, damage to property, social and economic
                               disruption, or environmental degradation.
                               Hydro-meteorological hazards include floods, debris and mud floods, tropical cyclones,
                               storm surges, thunder/hailstorms, rain and wind storms, blizzards and other severe
                               storms, drought, desertification, wildland fires, temperature extremes, sand or dust
                               storms, permafrost, and snow or ice avalanches. Hydro-meteorological hazards can be
                               single, sequential, or combined in their origin and effects.

Mitigation                     Structural and non-structural measures undertaken to limit the adverse impact of
                               natural hazards, environmental degradation, and technological hazards.

Natural hazards                Natural processes or phenomena occurring in the biosphere that can constitute a
                               damaging event.
                               Natural hazards can be classified by origin, namely: geological, hydro-meteorological,
                               or biological. Hazardous events can vary in magnitude or intensity, frequency, duration,
                               area of extent, speed of onset, spatial dispersion, and temporal spacing.

Natural disaster               An extreme event in which a natural hazard interacts with individual and community
                               exposure and vulnerabilities to trigger negative social and economic impacts on a scale
                               that is beyond the coping capacity of the affected population.

Resilience                     The capacity of a system, community, or society that is potentially exposed to hazards,
                               to adapt by resisting or changing so as to reach and maintain an acceptable level of
                               functioning and structure.

                                                                                                                                                      Natural and Human-induced Hazards and Disasters in sub-Saharan Africa
                               Resilience is determined by the extent to which the social system is capable of
                               organizing itself to increase its capacity for learning from past disasters so as to protect
                               itself better in future, and to improve its risk reduction measures.

Risk                           The probability of harmful consequences, or expected losses (deaths, injuries, damage
                               to property, threats to livelihoods, disruption of economic activity, or damage to the
                               environment) resulting from interactions between natural or human-induced hazards
                               and vulnerable conditions.
                               Conventionally, risk is expressed by the following notation:
                               Risk = Hazards × Vulnerability. Some disciplines also include the concept of exposure
                               to risk with particular reference to the physical aspects of vulnerability.
                               Beyond expressing the possibility of physical harm, it is crucial to recognize that risks
                               are inherent or can be created or exist within social systems. It is therefore important
                               to consider the social contexts in which risks occur, and the fact that people do not
                               necessarily share the same perceptions of risks and their underlying causes.
                                                                                                                              ICSU	ROA	Science	Plan

Vulnerability                  The conditions determined by physical, social, economic, and environmental factors or
                               processes that increase the susceptibility of a community to the impact of hazards.
                               For factors that increase the ability of people to cope with hazards, see the definition of

                                                                                                APPENDIX B
                                                                                                ACMAD       African Centre of Meteorological Application for

                                                                                                AEO         Africa Environment Outlook

                                                                                                AFREF       Africa Geodetic Reference Frame Project

                                                                                                AGRHRYMET   Centre Régional d’Agro-Hydro-Météorologie (Centre
                                                                                                            for Training and Applications in Agro-meteorology and
                                                                                                            Operational Hydrology)

                                                                                                APINA       Air Pollution Information Network Africa

                                                                                                AU          African Union

                                                                                                AVU         African Virtual University (Nairobi)

                                                                                                CDR         Committee for Disaster Reduction (ICSU)

                                                                                                CEMAC       Economic and Monetary Community for
                                                                                                            Central African States

                                                                                                CERMES      Centre de Recherches Médicale et Sanitaire

                                                                                                CIDA        Canadian International Development Agency

                                                                                                CME         Coronal mass ejection

                                                                                                CRED        Centre for the Epidemiology of Disasters
Natural and Human-induced Hazards and Disasters in sub-Saharan Africa

                                                                                                DFID        UK Department for International Development

                                                                                                DRC         Democratic Republic of Congo

                                                                                                EAC         East African Community

                                                                                                ECOWAS      Economic Community of West African States

                                                                                                FAGS        Federations of Astronomical and Geophysical Data
                                                                                                            Analysis Services

                                                                                                GACOF       Great Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum

                                                                                                GDP         Gross Domestic Product

                                                                                                GEO         Global Environment Outlook
                                                                        ICSU	ROA	Science	Plan

                                                                                                GEOSS       Group on Earth Observation System of Systems

                                                                                                GFMC        Global Fire Monitoring Centre

                                                                                                GIA         Geo-Sciences in Africa

GNSS       Global Navigation Satellite System

IAEG       International Association for Engineering Geology and
           the Environment

IAG        International Association of Geodesy

IAU        International Astronomical Union

ICL        International Consortium on Landslides

ICPAC      IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (Nairobi)

ICSU       International Council for Science

ICSU RCA   International Council for Science, Regional Committee
           for Africa

ICSU ROA   International Council for Science, Regional Office for Africa

IDNDR      International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction

IFIP       International Federation for Information Processing

IGAD       Inter-Governmental Authority on Development

IGBP       International Geosphere–Biosphere Programme

IGCP       International Geoscience Programme

                                                                                                   Natural and Human-induced Hazards and Disasters in sub-Saharan Africa
IGOS       Integrated Global Observing System

IGU        International Geographical Union

IHDP       International Human Dimensions Programme

ILP        International Lithosphere Programme

IOC        Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO

IRGM       Institute of Geological and Mining Research

ISDR       International Strategy for Disaster Reduction

ISES       International Space Environment Service

IT         Information technology
                                                                           ICSU	ROA	Science	Plan

IUGG       International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics

IUGS       International Union of Geological Sciences

IUPAC      International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry

                                                                                                IURS     International Union of Radio Science

                                                                                                IUSS     International Union of Soil Science

                                                                                                IWGCL    International Working Group for Crater Lakes

                                                                                                IYPE     International Year of Planet Earth

                                                                                                MDG      Millennium Development Goals

                                                                                                MODIS    Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer

                                                                                                NASA     National Aeronautics and Space Administration

                                                                                                NEPAD    New Partnership for Africa’s Development

                                                                                                NGO      Non-governmental organization

                                                                                                NOAA     National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (USA)

                                                                                                OAU      Organization of African Unity

                                                                                                P-CEWS   People-Centred Early Warning Systems

                                                                                                PTB      Pulmonary tuberculosis

                                                                                                RAPIDC   Regional Air Pollution in Developing Countries (project)

                                                                                                REWU     Regional Early Warning Unit
Natural and Human-induced Hazards and Disasters in sub-Saharan Africa

                                                                                                RWC      Regional Warning Centre

                                                                                                SAC      Satellite Applications Centre

                                                                                                SADC     Southern African Development Community

                                                                                                SAFNet   Southern Africa Fire Network

                                                                                                SAMAAV   Studying and Monitoring African Active Volcanoes (project)

                                                                                                SARCOF   Southern African Region Climate Outlook Forum

                                                                                                SASW     Southern African Space Weather and Ionospheric
                                                                                                         Information Service

                                                                                                SCOPE    Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment
                                                                        ICSU	ROA	Science	Plan

                                                                                                SEAF     Special Emergency Assistance Fund

                                                                                                SEI      Stockholm Environment Institute

                                                                                                SIDA     Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency

SIDA/SAREC       SIDA Department for Research Cooperation

SPIDER           United Nations Platform for Space-based Information for
                 Disaster Management and Emergency Response

SPOT             Satellite Pour l’Observation de la Terre

SWIO             South West Indian Ocean Cyclone Committee

UN               United Nations

UN-CODI          United Nations Committee for Development Information

UNEDRA           University Network for Disaster Risk Reduction in Africa

UNEP             United Nations Environment Programme

UNESCO           United Nations Educational, Scientific and
                 Cultural Organisation

UNICEF           United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund

UN-ISDR          United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction

UN-OOSA          United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs

UNU/ITC          United Nations University / International Training Centre for
                 GEO-Information Science and Earth Sciences

USGS             United States Geological Survey

                                                                                                         Natural and Human-induced Hazards and Disasters in sub-Saharan Africa
UTC              Coordinated Universal Time

WCDR             World Conference on Disaster Reduction

WITFOR2007       World Information Technology Forum, 2007

WMO              World Meteorological Organisation

WMO THORPEX The Observing System Research and Predictability Experiment
            of WMO

WSSD             World Summit on Sustainable Development, Johannesburg 2002
                                                                                 ICSU	ROA	Science	Plan

                                                                                                APPENDIX C
                                                                                                TERMS OF REFERENCE

                                                                                                Scientific Planning Groups of the ICSU Regional Office for Africa
                                                                                                Based on the ICSU Strategic Plan 2006–2011, the ICSU Regional Committee for
                                                                                                Africa has selected four priority areas for its activities in the period between 2006
                                                                                                and 2009. These are: (a) Health and Human Well-being; (b) Sustainable Energy;
                                                                                                (c) Natural and Human-Induced Environmental Hazards and Disasters, and (d)
                                                                                                Global Change.
                                                                                                Each priority area will have one Scientific Planning Group, which may need to meet
                                                                                                three times: a first meeting to prepare a preliminary report, a second meeting during the
                                                                                                Second Consultative Meeting in September and a third time to finalise the report. The
                                                                                                generic Terms of Reference (ToR) for the working groups are as follows:

                                                                                                GENERIC TERMS OF REFERENCE
                                                                                                 (1)   To briefly review the current status of the priority area in the sub-Saharan
                                                                                                       Africa. This will include taking stock of the major R&D&I activities (i.e.
                                                                                                       ongoing and planned) of the priority area in the sub-Saharan Africa. Interests
                                                                                                       of the ICSU Scientific Unions, Interdisciplinary Bodies and Joint Initiatives
                                                                                                       should be incorporated in this exercise.
                                                                                                 (2)   To formulate a set of detailed objectives for the priority area based on the
                                                                                                       ICSU Strategic Plan of 2006-11 taking note of past and ongoing planning
                                                                                                       efforts by ICSU internationally.
                                                                                                 (3)   To make proposals on targeted areas of research in the given time frame, and
                                                                                                       define milestones that should be reached during the life span of the proposed
                                                                                                       programme of the priority area.
                                                                                                 (4)   To define capacity building needs.
                                                                                                 (5)   To define deliverables which they will produce to the society.
Natural and Human-induced Hazards and Disasters in sub-Saharan Africa

                                                                                                 (6)   To propose ways by which the ICSU family and its strategic partners can be
                                                                                                       involved in implementing the proposed actions.
                                                                                                 (7)   To identify ways by which the results of the research can be made available
                                                                                                       to policy makers and other stakeholders in the region.
                                                                                                 (8)   To propose a budget for the activities of the programme(s) of the priority
                                                                                                       area, define fund-raising strategies and possible funding sources.
                                                                                                 (9)   To propose a mechanism for guidance and oversight of the programmes/
                                                                                                       projects of the priority area, including the assurance that the activities of
                                                                                                       the Regional Office are complementary to (not duplicating) the existing
                                                                                                       activities in the Region.
                                                                                                 (10) To submit a preliminary report to the ICSU Regional Committee for Africa
                                                                                                      by 30 June 2006 and a final report before the end of 2006.

                                                                                                SPECIFIC TERMS OF REFERENCE FOR NATURAL AND HUMAN-
                                                                        ICSU	ROA	Science	Plan

                                                                                                INDUCED HAZARDS AND DISASTERS
                                                                                                To propose a process whereby the African planning can feed into, and influence the
                                                                                                international planning effort, taking particular note of how the proposed activities can
                                                                                                contribute to the Geohazards theme of the International Year of Planet Earth (IYPE).

Members                                    Secretariat
ICSU Regional Committee for Africa         ICSU Regional Office for Africa
Gabriel	B.	Ogunmola	(Chair)	[Nigeria]		    Sospeter	Muhongo	[Director]
Ayite-Lo	N.	Ajavon	[Togo]		                Janine	Chantson	[Programme	Specialist]
Manuel	Chenene	[Mozambique]		              Achuo	Enow	[Programme	Specialist]
Francis	P.	Gudyanga	[Zimbabwe]		           Kathy	Potgieter	[Personal	Assistant]
Dominic	W.	Makawiti	[Kenya]		
Khotso	Mokhele	[South	Africa]		
Mary	Stravens	[Seychelles]	
Vincent	P.K.	Titanji	[Cameroon]
Thomas	Rosswall	[ICSU]	(ex	officio)
Sospeter	Muhongo	[ICSU	ROA]	(ex	officio)

Address for correspondence:

The	Director	
ICSU	Regional	Office	for	Africa	
PO	Box	13252	
Republic	of	South	Africa

Tel:       +27	(0)12	481	4238/481	4090

Fax:       +27	(0)12	481	4273

Email:     a.enow@icsu-africa.org	

Website: www.icsu-africa.org

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