SADC countries urged to 'strengthen early warning capacities' to deal with natural disasters

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SADC chairperson Lazarus Chakwera. (AMOS GUMULIRA / AFP)
SADC chairperson Lazarus Chakwera. (AMOS GUMULIRA / AFP)
  • The SADC chairperson called on member states to speed up frameworks to deal with natural disasters.
  • Lazarus Chakwera says the SADC should adopt the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.
  • KwaZulu-Natal is reeling from floods which claimed over 400 lives and destroyed infrastructure.

The chairperson of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), Lazarus Chakwera, who is also Malawi's president, has called on member states to speed up frameworks to deal with natural disasters.

He said this as South Africa was dealing with the impact of floods in KwaZulu-Natal, which left thousands homeless, over 400 dead and 54 people still missing. 

"May I also call upon SADC member states to continue to put in place measures to scale up implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (2015-2030) by strengthening early warning capacities and capabilities, ensuring preparedness and enhanced resilience," he said.

The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction is a United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction roadmap on how people should make communities more resilient to disasters.

He said the framework should also promote sustainable utilisation of the environment and should be "coupled with our regional efforts to expeditiously operationalise and adequately resource regional coordination mechanisms to ensure coordinated efforts in dealing with natural and manmade disasters moving forward".

This year alone, Southern Africa experienced seven natural disasters, which was linked to climate change and global warming, and more were likely to occur, according to climate change activists.

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While South Africa was dealing with the humanitarian crisis in KwaZulu-Natal, the South African Weather Service warned the country would see more heavy rains, which could result in flash floods in already drenched areas.

Mozambique, Madagascar and Malawi were now on high alert as a Tropical Storm Jasmine was expected to make a landfall this week, resulting in heavy rains just a month after the trail of destruction left by Cyclone Gombe.

In March this year, Cyclone Gombe affected more than 20 000 families in Malawi and Mozambique. 

Jasmine presented a new threat - and Malawi's ministry of natural resources and climate change said that, as a result of the tropical storm, "northern Malawi will continue receiving rainfall which will be locally heavy, more particularly along Lakeshore areas".

The Mozambican Meteorological Service said the impact of the tropical storm was uncertain, but Madagascar would be the first to feel the impact.

"From Tuesday, the trajectory and the intensity of Jasmine become very uncertain. The latest forecast now suggests a possible landfall in south-western Madagascar between Tuesday evening and Wednesday at a state a little more intense than initially expected," the organisation said.

The News24 Africa Desk is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation. The stories produced through the Africa Desk and the opinions and statements that may be contained herein do not reflect those of the Hanns Seidel Foundation.

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