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Contingency planning in southern Africa: Events rather than processes?

This article explores the practice of contingency planning in southern Africa, focussing on Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. A qualitative comparative analysis informed by fieldwork was used. The findings show that (1) there was a wide gap between theory and practice in contingency planning, (2) response activities rarely reflected projected scenarios and (3) resources were inadequate for effective contingency planning. The authors conclude that unless these issues are addressed, contingency planning is likely to remain a theoretical rather than a practical tool for building disaster-resilient communities in southern African countries.