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Canadian Derecho 900K No Power, 8 Killed and KwaZulu-Natal Flooding At Least 250 Displaced

May 19-25, 2022 | Issue 9 - Emergency Management, Health, and Hazards (EMH2)

Alyssa Schmidt, Megan Bilney, EMH2 Team

Carlos Hochberger, Editor; Jennifer Loy, Chief of Staff



Aftermath of the Storm[1]



Date: May 21, 2022

Location: Ontario and Quebec, Canada

Parties involved: Canadian residents; Canadian government; local emergency services

The event: A derecho, a group of thunderstorms, left about 900,000 homes in Canada without power. The impact of the derecho was across an area of approximately 621 miles (1,000km) and killed at least eight people.[2] This climate event is unpredictable, and warning is often short, reducing the time for individuals to seek safety. This type of thunderstorm creates small areas of massive destruction, with neighboring areas remaining undamaged due to the concentration of the winds.[3]

Analysis & Implications:

  • Disruption of communication will likely occur until the restoration of power, likely limiting an individual’s accessibility to emergency responders. Emergency personnel will likely use generators to access service calls, but some civilians are unlikely to have access to generators, likely causing a disconnect between the public and emergency services. Damaged and restricted roads from fallen trees will likely cause longer response times, likely increasing the mortality rate.

  • Due to the unpredictable nature of this phenomenon, individuals were very likely unprepared and lacking emergency supplies. Emergency services will very likely respond to the highest priority cases since individuals are very unlikely to have the resources to wait for power restoration and traffic hazards to be removed. Individuals will likely need to request government aid to assist with emergency resources and reparations.

  • It is very likely that the winds have destroyed the infrastructure, vehicles, and chemicals needed for production, affecting the agricultural process. Fruit trees and vegetable crops are very likely damaged, and yearly production is likely to limit food yields, likely impacting the food supply and exports as supply chain issues occur. Canada will likely need to seek assistance from nearby countries to acquire crops until farms are functional.

Date: May 21-23, 2022

Location: KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Parties involved: KwaZulu-Natal residents; South African government

The event: Extreme flooding displaced at least 250 individuals in South Africa. The country was repairing houses, roads, and buildings following the flooding in April and is exploring options for relocating the displaced individuals. The April floods have left more than 6,800 individuals homeless and caused $1.58 billion of infrastructure damage, including roads, houses, and other properties. Scientists suspect that similar hazards will occur in the future due to climate change.[4]

Analysis & Implications:

  • KwaZulu-Natal residents will likely require increased displacement and reparations, likely leading to temporary allocated resources until the situation is resolved. The required government resource reallocation is very likely to decrease spending on other areas such as healthcare, likely placing further strain on under-resourced areas. Displaced individuals will likely be placed in overcrowded shelters until their homes are repaired, likely leading to the increased spread of diseases.

  • Increased displacement in areas is very likely to generate tension and intergroup conflict as people seek to secure resources and opportunities. Street violence and petty crime will likely occur in KwaZulu-Natal among impoverished individuals due to unequal accessibility of basic amenities. This will likely increase the concentrated demand for emergency services, likely overwhelming emergency personnel.

________________________________________________________________________ The Counterterrorism Group (CTG)

[1]May 2022 storm Woodroffe mosbo6” by Mosbo6 licensed under Creative Commons

[2] Canada storms: Nearly a million homes lose power in high winds, BBC, May 2022, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-61541653

[3] What is a derecho, and why is it so destructive, National Geographic, August 2020, https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/article/what-is-a-derecho-and-why-is-it-so-destructive

[4] Hundreds evacuated amid renewed flooding in South Africa's coastal province, Reuters, May 2022, https://www.reuters.com/world/africa/hundreds-evacuated-amid-renewed-flooding-south-africas-coastal-province-2022-05-22/

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