By: Vincent Gunde
The Southern African Development Community ( SADC) Executive Secretary, Dr. Stergomena Lawrence Tax, has called upon member states to re – double their efforts to strengthen disaster risk management capacities, as emphasized in the SADC Disaster Preparedness and Response Strategy adopted in 2016, and to fully operationalize the necessary collaborative mechanism to ensure swift joint and concerted resources to disaster.
l: (third from left) Executive Secretary, Dr. Stergomena Lawrence Tax
Dr. Lawrence Tax says SADC has noted with great sadness the impact of widespread rains and floods following a weather system that formed in the Mozambique channel on 17th January, 2020 and hit the North – West of Madagascar on 22nd January, 2020.
This is contained in a statement SADC released on the impacts of adverse weather conditions that led to heavy rains and flooding causing death, population displacement and destruction of property in Madagascar.
In the statement, the torrential rains and floods have affected over 106,846 people in seven regions of the country, displacing over 16,000 people and leaving at least 170 dead, and the death toll is expected to rise, as several people are still missing.
The statement says heavy rains and floods have also damaged key infrastructure, including roads, houses and schools in several locations with over 10,600 houses still flooded while 146 have been destroyed.
It says across the seven regions, around 6,600 students are out of school or are learning in make – shift classrooms, as a result of the damage to classrooms with the flooding affecting several lowland areas that are used to grow crops, mainly rice and may therefore impact on the food security in the coming cropping period.
……SADC appreciates the overwhelming support extended to the government of Madagascar and the affected communities by its cooperating partners, NGOs and CSOs on the ground calling upon all of its partners, within and beyond the region, to continue supporting the rescue operations, and in providing the needed humanitarian assistance to the affected communities…reads the statement in part.
SADC says in view of the increased frequency and scale of the climate_ related catastrophes such as cyclones, floods, and droughts in the SADC region, it reiterates its call for joint global efforts to mitigate climate change by stepping up efforts to enhance adaptive capacities of development countries.