Disasters distract people from more important priorities. US president Dwight Eisenhower, 70 years ago, lamented that “what’s urgent is seldom important; what’s important is seldom seen as urgent”.

Globally, governments are now urged to focus on disaster risk reduction rather than acting only when disasters occur. But when disaster strikes long-term priorities invariably go out of the window. That’s why Gauteng and surrounding regions are stumbling into a slow-onset Day Zero water crisis...

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