chapter  8
A Context of Vulnerability: The Zambian Air Disaster, 1993
Pages 17

In the introduction to this volume the editors explored the difficulties associated with establishing what actually constitutes a ‘disaster’. It was argued that this conceptual problem can be overcome by classifying disasters in qualitative rather than quantitative terms. This makes it less problematic to define single events involving relatively small numbers of deaths, such as those described throughout this volume, as disasters. However, in Africa or at least sub-Saharan Africa, difficulties in defining loss of life in football-related settings as ‘disasters’ remain. The term disaster, when used in the African context, is usually synonymous with tragedies that have brought about a loss of life and suffering on an almost unimaginable scale. These include the famine in Ethiopia in 1984-85 which resulted in almost one million deaths, the genocide in Rwanda in 1994 which claimed around 800,000 lives in just over 100 days and the AIDS pandemic currently sweeping the continent which left an estimated 2.4 million dead in 2003 alone.