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South Africa: Urban violence - Emergency Plan of Action (EPoA) DREF Operation n° MDRZA010

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A. Situation analysis

Description of the disaster

Urban violence has been ongoing in South Africa, with a peak from 9 to 17 July 2021, in response to the arrest of former President. The riots triggered wider rioting and looting fueled by high unemployment rate, poverty and economic inequality, worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic. The civil unrest began in the province of KwaZulu-Natal on 9 July, and spread to the province of Gauteng on 11 July 2021. As of 16 July, 212 people had died in the unrest and 2,554 had been arrested. The riots and looting resulted in food shortages, fuel shortages and medical supply shortages. Kwa Zulu Natal and Gauteng account for more than half of South Africa's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and during the riots on the 12 July, the Rand, local currency, weakened by about 2% affecting the economy. More than 200 shopping centres in South Africa have been looted and property destruction costs are reported to be above 1 billion USD according to a RepublicWorld.Com, a local online news outlet.

Other services affected are the medical and pharmaceutical retailers, while hospital services were also disrupted. COVID-19 vaccine rollout sites were closed to prevent looting and property destruction, which has a negative impact and is delaying the National vaccination process.

Based on the above, this DREF request will initially focus on supporting the urgent needs of the affected communities which include, first aid, safe evacuation, food and will be revised within 2 to 3 weeks to include a full operational strategy based on further assessments. The DREF operation will focus on Gauteng and Kwa Zulu Natal affected areas, where the impact of riots and looting was greatest.

The Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) announced that joint assessments with SARCS are still on-going to get full impact of damages and number of displaced people. Once the assessments are finalised a formal release will be made.