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3 July 2024 Media Release: Take-Home Message from Climate Change Indaba: Prepare for What is Coming

Media Release: Take-Home Message from Climate Change Indaba: Prepare for What is Coming

3 July 2024

“The Annual Garden Route Environmental Forum (GREF) Climate Change and Environmental Management Indaba concluded on Thursday, 27 June, at the Nelson Mandela University George Campus. Presentations by provincial and local government representatives, climate change predictive modeling specialists, regional biosphere reserves, Cape Nature, and other significant contributors under the theme ‘Resilience in Action: Building Sustainable Communities Amid a Changing Climate’ reflected on what the future may hold for the Southern Cape with an unpredictable climate,” says GREF Convener Cobus Meiring.

The Garden Route is a disaster-prone area and increasingly falls victim to severe flooding, wildfire catastrophes, drought, and storm surges. As a direct result, damage to hard infrastructure, such as roads, is extremely costly to repair and has significant downstream implications when logistics are disrupted and communities are forced to use detours.

Disaster management practitioners Colin Deiner (Chief Director: Western Cape Disaster Management) and Gerhard Otto (Head: Garden Route District Municipality Disaster Management Centre) made comprehensive presentations showing the extent of the damage incurred by natural disasters in the Western Cape in the past decade. Repair costs run into millions of Rand and are set to increase as climate change impacts the environment and the populations dependent on its well-being.

Proactive planning and forward-thinking in dealing with climate-related natural disasters are crucial. Disaster management entities are constantly investing in better equipment, capacity, and resources to lend assistance when disaster strikes. Early warning systems play a vital role in ensuring the safety of communities, who are encouraged to pay attention when advisories are sent out, especially given that the severity of approaching storms cannot always be accurately determined in advance.

The GREF is a climate change think-tank and public platform for environmental managers to share knowledge and experience.

Chairperson of GREF, Cobus Meiring, addressing the attendees on the day.

Feature image: Presenters on the day of the GREF event.