Dr Shein calls  for SADC disaster preparedness

22Feb 2020
The Guardian Reporter
Zanzibar
The Guardian
Dr Shein calls  for SADC disaster preparedness

ZANZIBAR President Dr Ali Mohamed Shein yesterday called on member states of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to come up with strategies to cope with natural disasters which is costing the region billions of dollars annually.

Dr Shein made the call when speaking at the official opening of the SADC meeting involving ministers responsible for disaster risk management. Tanzania is the current chair of the 16 SADC member states.

This meeting provides a platform for learning how the Comoros, Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe coped after they were hit by Idai and Kenneth cyclones in 2019 that left the countries in devastation. It is estimated that 13 out of the 16 member countries of SADC were in 2016 hit by severe drought that affected about 40 million people in the region.

"As a result of what happened in the SADC member countries, we need to reinforce efforts on disaster preparedness and response in the region,” Dr Shein suggested.

Citing examples, Dr Shein said that SADC member states should come up with better ways of addressing Coronavirus (Covid-19), which has so far spread in different countries across the world.

He also cited the new invasion of locusts in the east African countries as  challenge that need collective efforts to address the vice which is a threat to agricultural sector and food security in the region.

President Shein explained that disasters lead to deaths, destruction to property and infrastructure in nearly all SADC countries, urging: "It is important for these countries to cooperate in the preparation of strategies for disasters management."

According to Dr Shein, between 2015 and 2018, SADC region recorded 160 disasters, which killed 20,000 people and affected 22million people.

All the disasters cost the region US$3.7billion as well as affecting people psychologically.

He however described the meeting as important to the growth of the region, taking into accounts that disasters derail any country's socio-economic development. "That's why it is important for countries to implement what agreed at the SADC summit level," he said.

Dr Shein added that Zanzibar is implementing some of the regional strategies at the country levels including coming up with the Zanzibar Disaster Management Policy of 2011 provides a situational analysis of the natural hazard risks faced by Zanzibar in the United Republic of Tanzania as well as establishing Zanzibar Disaster Management Commission.

The Isles' government has also established the Zanzibar Disaster Communication Strategy (ZDCS) is to ensure the operability, interoperability and continuity of communications to allow emergency responders to communicate as needed, on demand, and as authorized at all levels of the government.

Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office responsible for Policy, Parliamentary Affairs, Labour, Employment, Youth and the Disabled, Jenista Mhagama said that the SADC meeting is meant to address better ways of managing calamities in the wake of ongoing droughts and floods in the region.

It also provides a platform for ministers and technocrats to discuss ways of improving the necessary technical and financing capacities when member states faced droughts and floods, according to Mhagama.

She said that the meeting is geared towards lessening diversion of budgets planned for implementation of development projects to funding programs in areas devastated by droughts or floods

Earlier, SADC Executive Secretary, Dr Stergomena Tax commended the government of Zanzibar and Tanzania for organizing the meeting which will give opportunity to delegates to visit various tourists’ attractions in the Isles.

In the past few decades, the Southern African Development Community (SADC), has experienced an increasing frequency and severity of droughts and floods that were attributed to climate change and variability, resulting in food insecurity.

The recent Synthesis Report on the State of Food and Nutrition Security and Vulnerability in Southern Africa, estimates that the region has a cereal deficit of more than 5.4 million tonnes this year following subdued rainfall during the just-ended season.

Between January and April 2019, the region faced several weather related phenomenon such as Tropical Cyclone Desmond, Enawo, Idai and Kenneth, which caused extensive flooding in countries such as the Union of Comoros, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.

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