Risk Management

KZN will face another catastrophe and businesses must be prepared says top risk consultancy

Volker von Widdern South African head of Strategic Risk at Riskonet

RISK and safety consultancy Riskonet Africa has called for companies to urgently reevaluate their risk profiles as the impact of recent social upheaval and environmental damage is still felt across many parts of the province. 

Devastating floods in KZN in April, some of the worst flooding seen in recent history, dealt a devastating blow to businesses and infrastructure in the province. 

Over 450 people lost their lives, hundreds of homes were destroyed, businesses suffered losses across the board, with SMEs being the hardest hit due to lack of insurance and preparedness.  

This is the second catastrophic blow to the province since the July riots last year, which cost businesses over a billion rand’s worth of damage.  

Volker Von Widdern, Principal of Strategic Risk at Riskonet Africa, has urged businesses to tighten their risk strategies to optimise spend and ensure preparedness for future crises that will undoubtedly occur. 

 “As infrastructural damage has been on the risk radar for some time now, and extreme weather events become more common, adapting your risk strategy has become more important than ever,” says Von Widdern. 

 “The reality is that infrastructure is immobile. Risk assessments should identify how to protect infrastructure/development from extreme rain, flash floods and rising water in the context of what is feasible,” he added.  

According to Von Widdern, A comprehensive flood risk plan should cover everything from topography-related risk assessments to drainage assessments, water runoff and accumulation modelling. “It is essential for businesses to carefully assess and scrutinise their risk exposures in relation to extreme weather as historical conventions are no longer reliable. You can never be too prepared. Especially since these catastrophic events will only become more frequent.” 

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