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Disaster risk and climate change in Africa

Disaster risk and climate change – two of the greatest challenges currently facing humankind – adversely reinforce each other. In the coming decades, climate change is expected to increase the frequency and intensity of natural disasters such as droughts and floods.

Climate change is also likely to increase people’s vulnerability to already existing hazards in developing countries. This is largely due to:

  • socio-economic stresses
  • ageing and inadequate physical infrastructure
  • weak education and preparedness for disasters
  • insufficient financial resources to carefully implement the preparedness, response, mitigation and recovery components of integrated disaster management.

For African countries, climate-related risks come not only from direct exposure to natural hazards such as floods or droughts, but also from the vulnerability of social and economic systems to the effects of these hazards. This briefing paper, the third in the Joto Afrika series, examines different approaches to disaster risk management from a number of African countries including Nigeria, Tanzania, Botswana, Kenya and Mozambique.

Joto Afrika, Swahili for ‘Africa is feeling the heat’, is a new series of briefings and online resources about adapting to climate change in Africa. It is produced by the Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN) in Kenya in partnership with AfricaAdapt and IDS Knowledge Services.