The effect of climate change is already a measurable reality posing significant social, economic, and environmental risks globally. For a developing country like South Africa, the risks associated with climate change are exacerbated by high levels of poverty, inequality and unemployment. The World Bank’s Climate Risk Country Profile for South Africa (2021) states that climate change is expected to increase the risk and severity of water scarcity and drought across South Africa. The frequency of intense rainfall events will also increase the risk of floods, both through riverbank overflow and flash flooding.
In April 2022, South Africans experienced the effects of climate change first hand. Due to heavy rainfall from 11 to 13 April 2022, South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province experienced some of the worst flooding in decades. 445 people lost their lives while more than 5,000 were left homeless/displaced. In total, over 17,000 households were directly impacted by the floods.
The South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) was on the ground to provide social assistance to victims. Social assistance ranged from financial support to humanitarian relief.