In June 2022, Media Hack Collective was selected for Earth Journalism Network’s Covering Coastal Resilience grant. It was a competitive process. Out of a global pool of 60 applicants, we were one of three media organisations chosen and the only project from Africa.

Our project, A Perfect Storm, is centred on the tragic April 2022 storm in the coastal city of Durban. After being battered by a massive downpour that unleashed the equivalent of 75% of the entire country’s average annual rainfall in a 24-hour period, more than 400 people were dead, dozens were missing and thousands lost their homes and businesses.

Climate change, coupled with a hilly terrain prone to landslides, informal settlements set up alongside rivers, poorly maintained infrastructure and an overall lack of planning resulted in devastation. Through a hard data search, we’re going to look into what factors contributed to the impact on South Africa’s coast, and what solutions are available to help mitigate future disasters. Using what we learn in the data collection and reporting for our story, we will build a public-facing, user-friendly open-source dashboard on essential coastal resilience data points.

Our fellow EJN grantees include HaitiClimat, which is collaborating with the Canadian media company Studio Canek, to produce training materials for Haitian journalists to improve their understanding and coverage of coastal issues and potential solutions to build resilience. In Israel, the I’lam Center for Media Freedom, Development and Research will evaluate the state of climate change information and coastal issues in the region to better understand information gaps and the quality of existing media coverage.