Assessment of social vulnerability to seismic events: the case of Khuma, North West Province
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Seismic events are a reality in many vulnerable communities, and significantly affect people's living conditions. As these events cannot be prevented, basic measures should be taken before they occur and expose households to danger. Assessing social vulnerability using risk assessment is the fundamental concern of disaster risk reduction, which among other things looks at population growth and urbanisation. In terms of household awareness and hazard identification of vulnerable people in Khuma, the capacity to relocate people to safer living areas due to the dolomitic environment surrounding the township is important. This case study investigates the poor understanding that exists in terms of the socio-economic vulnerability of communities exposed to seismic events at local government level in South Africa, which in this case is Khuma, located in Klerksdorp, North West Province, South Africa. Studies in recent years have shown that seismic events are among the most devastating natural phenomena, leading to loss of life and damage to property in the affected areas. Social vulnerability is influenced by many aspects, and this case study explores the impact of seismic events on the poor households of Khuma. On 5 August 2014, the mining area in Orkney, a mining town situated in the Klerksdorp District in the North West Province of South Africa, experienced a strong seismic event that was felt all over the country, and even in neighbouring countries. Seismic activity impacts are usually gradual and unnoticeable on the surface; however, immense stresses can build up between tectonic plates and are likely to adversely affect poorly constructed houses. This case study should help provide a better understanding of the social vulnerability faced by households in Khuma. In these unpredictable times, it is necessary to plan and be ready to mitigate the vulnerabilities faced by households due to unexpected hazards. Therefore, the study uses the PAR model as a tool to discuss social vulnerability concepts and the root causes of social vulnerability. The findings strongly suggest that households in Khuma are socially vulnerable. This is due to the fact that the findings of the study support the PAR model in the social vulnerability concepts and the root causes that expose societies to socioeconomic vulnerabilities.
- Humanities