Mashudu Netsianda, Senior Reporter
THE Southern African Development Community (Sadc) has declared Tropical Cyclone Idai that ravaged Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi last month a regional disaster and launched a US$3,2 million regional humanitarian appeal to support the victims.
It has been classified as one of the worst weather-related disasters ever experienced in the Southern Hemisphere.
According to a statement posted on the Sadc website, the appeal was launched last Thursday in Windhoek, Namibia by that country’s President Dr Hage Geingob in his capacity as the regional bloc’s chairperson.
President Geingob said the appeal was in response to the effects of the deadly Cyclone Idai that left hundreds of people dead and hundreds of thousands displaced.
“The intensity and gravity of the Tropical Cyclone Idai emphasises the need for collaborative efforts and support from partners to improve our preparedness and enhance the capacity to respond to the negative impacts of climate change and other disasters. It is for this reason that I am launching today (Thursday), the Sadc appeal for humanitarian assistance to save lives and alleviate human suffering of all the affected communities,” he said
President Geingob said the main objective of the appeal was to urgently provide the needed humanitarian assistance, save more lives and provide the basic needs and services as well as protecting human dignity particularly for women and children.
He said there was a need to provide access to basic health and nutrition needs and services, promote early recovery and rebuilding of lives and livelihoods.
“In declaring their national disasters in the immediate aftermath, the affected member states have indicated that their internal resources are inadequate to comprehensively address the situation. Consequently, I am obliged, on behalf of Sadc Heads of State and Government, to declare the situation a regional disaster. The appeal is based on national humanitarian disaster declarations by the three member states, and is therefore a consolidation and complementation of their national appeals,” President Geingob said.
“I wish to emphasise that through our joint efforts, in response to disasters in the past, we were able to overcome the challenges. While the disaster that we are faced with today is unprecedented, we are confident that, working collaboratively, we will again overcome and rebuild the lives of the affected communities and restore their dignity.”
The Sadc chairperson appealed to international co-operating partners, regional and international stakeholders and the international community to continue to assist in rebuilding the livelihoods of the affected communities in the three affected countries.
Cyclone Idai is one of the worst natural disasters to affect the Sadc region in a long time. It has affected more than two million people, displaced hundreds of thousands others, destroyed vast areas, cut off communications and made roads impassable for first responders.
More than 830 people have been killed in all the affected countries while 800 000 hectares of cropland and crops have been destroyed further compounding the already drought compromised food security situation in the affected countries.—@mashnets