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Date: 29 June 2023
By: ASASWEI executive and members
ASASWEI notes with a shock that just one year and two months after parts of Durban were heavily flooded, whereby over 400 people lost their lives, a mini-tornado hit the areas Inanda, Phoenix, and surrounding areas this week, leaving four people dead and many others homeless. The flying debris spun in the air, causing severe damage and terrible panic among residents who tried to flee from the devastation. After the mini-tornado, at least 150 people registered their homes as destroyed, leaving them vulnerable without shelter. Severely traumatised residents tried to salvage remnants of their livelihoods. Those left homeless by the mini-tornado were accommodated at the same community halls that serve as a refuge for the April 2022 flood victims. Judging that the 2022 flood victims are still living in shelters indicates a lack of service delivery on the part of the Government and is tantamount to human rights abuse and injustice. 
ASASWEI, representing schools of social work in the country that are responsible for the training social work practitioners, calls on all social work practitioners, students, and academics to condemn the human rights abuse and injustice perpetrated against the poorest of the poor in the KwaZulu-Natal region. In our view, living in a shelter violates people’s rights to decent living conditions, privacy, and the dignity and worth of the person.
ASASWEI acknowledges and supports colleagues from the University of KwaZulu-Natal and the University of Zululand that provide crisis intervention services and trauma counselling to the tornado-hit and flood victims. We stand in solidarity with you and call for the South African Government to take up its duty to protect citizens’ lives and provide proper infrastructure and safe living conditions. We demand that the Government to put in place adequate resources and preventative measures to minimise the impact of disasters. 
Moreover, joint efforts are called upon from all relevant stakeholders to contribute to disaster-related risk reduction measures. Nonetheless, we applaud the role played by different stakeholders such as NGOs, FBOs, CBOs, academia, government departments, civil society, and other private entities in responding to the disaster and its aftermath. 
The upcoming ASASWEI International Social Work Conference, to be hosted between 27- 29 September at the Elangeni Hotel, Durban, promises to showcase a keynote address by our world-renowned Dr. Imtiaz Sooliman, the founder of Gift of the Givers, is an opportunity to put a spotlight on disasters, adversity, vulnerability, and trauma.  The conference promises to bring multicultural and multi-disciplinary experts, practitioners, and students together to exchange experiences, insights, and innovations about preventing phenomena like the mini tornado. 
We are hosting the conference to enable the sharing of research evidence, to inform disaster-related interventions and promote environmental justice. In addition, attendees will exchange insights and experiences on risk reduction and prevention strategies and trauma counselling to minimise the impact on people’s lives, health, and mental well-being. Therefore, as advocates for justice and human rights, let us all stand united in holding our government to account to uphold their commitment to serving humanity. 
ASASWEI invites academics, researchers, practitioners, and students across disciplines to register for the forthcoming ASASWEI International Conference via the links below. Be sure to submit your abstracts before 7 July 2023.



2023 Conference