South Africa

South Africa: Earthquake ME No. 05ME013 Final Report


The Federation's mission is to improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity. It is the world's largest humanitarian organization and its millions of volunteers are active in over 185 countries.

In Brief

Period covered by this Interim Final Report: 10 March to 31 December 2005.

History of this Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF)-funded operation:

CHF 70,000 was allocated from the Federation's DREF on 10 March 2005 to respond to the needs of this operation -

This operation was expected to be completed by 31 December 2005.

This operation is aligned with the International Federation's Global Agenda, which sets out four broad goals to meet the Federation's mission to "improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity".

Global Agenda Goals:

- Reduce the numbers of deaths, injuries and impact from disasters.

- Reduce the number of deaths, illnesses and impact from diseases and public health emergencies.

- Increase local community, civil society and Red Cross Red Crescent capacity to address the most urgent situations of vulnerability.

- Reduce intolerance, discrimination and social exclusion and promote respect for diversity and human dignity.

Background and summary

On 9 March 2005, an earthquake measuring 5.3 on the Richter scale occurred at a mining area in Stilfontein as well as two surrounding towns of Klerksdorp and Orkney, some 200 km from Johannesburg, South Africa. Some 3,200 gold miners working in the mine in Stilfontein- who were initially trapped- were evacuated by the disaster management (DM) teams of the mining company and the local municipality. The South African Red Cross Society (1) (SARCS) was in close contact with the DM authorities of the mining area and mobilized a team of trained first aid staff and volunteers. The team was put on standby, in case its services were required.

In response to the disaster, the International Federation extended financial support through an allocation of CHF 70,000 from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF). This support aimed at supporting the SARCS to conduct an assessment of the consequences of the earthquake as well as to enhance disaster response capacities in the region.

A plan of action was formulated with three main objectives:

- Conducting refresher training for new members of the regional disaster response team (RDRT);

- Procurement of regional telecommunication equipment;

- Reviewing and assessing the consequences of the earthquake in South Africa.

The southern Africa region rarely experiences earthquakes and this small-scale disaster highlighted the need to be alert. The Red Cross in the region realized the need to reinforce its RDRT as a top priority. The second priority was to improve communications systems that weakened communication between national societies and the Federation regional delegation in Harare. Other issues included establishing a contingency plan for response, should such a phenomenon reoccur, as well as undertaking a risk analysis of the southern Africa region. The SARCS also realized the need to continuously obtain technical information from the Department of Geosciences (in Pretoria) and other local sources, in order to plan better for disaster situations.


(1) South African Red Cross Society-

For further information specifically related to this operation please contact:

In South Africa: Mike Tainton, Acting Secretary General, South African Red Cross Society, Cape Town; Email:; Phone +27.21.418.66.40; Fax +27.21.418.66.44

In South Africa: Seija Tyrninoksa, Federation Representative in South Africa, Cape Town; Email:; Phone +27.82.450.38.94; Fax +27.21.418.66.44

In Zimbabwe: Françoise Le Goff, Federation Head of Southern Africa Regional Delegation, Harare; Email:; Phone + 55;; Fax +

In Geneva: John Roche, Federation Regional Officer for Southern Africa, Africa Dept., Geneva; Email:; Phone +41.22.730.44.40, Fax +41.22.733.03.95.

All International Federation assistance seeks to adhere to the Code of Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO's) in Disaster Relief and is committed to the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response (Sphere) in delivering assistance to the most vulnerable.

For longer-term programmes in this or other countries or regions, please refer to the Federation's Annual Appeal. For support to or for further information concerning Federation programmes or operations in this or other countries, or for national society profiles, please also access the Federation's website at