SADC appeals for billions in drought emergency

28 Jul 2016 07:40am
RUNDU, 28 JUL (NAMPA) - The Southern African Development Community (SADC) is appealing for N.dollars 54 billion for support towards the humanitarian needs and response recovery of millions of people affected by the El Niño induced drought in the region.
The El Niño weather phenomenon is characterised by unusually warm ocean temperatures around the Equatorial Pacific that shifts global weather patterns, resulting in low rainfall in some areas of the world and high rainfall, particularly around the tropical Pacific.
A statement issued to Nampa on Wednesday by the SADC Secretariat reads that the Chairperson of the SADC Region and President of Botswana, Dr Seretse Khama Ian Khama, made the appeal at the launch of the SADC Humanitarian Appeal ceremony last month.
At the same ceremony, Khama declared the drought in the region a regional disaster and called on the international community to provide assistance to affected SADC States.
Namibia is one such country in SADC where drought has been marching on relentlessly, claiming livestock and severely impacting the livelihood of thousands of Namibians in all 14 regions.
More than half a million residents in communal areas have lost livestock and stretched their food supplies to the limit, while relying entirely on Government drought relief food supplies.
Almost one quarter of the about 2.3 million population are now dependent on aid.
According to Khama, the 2016 regional food security and vulnerability assessment indicates that the number of food insecure people is about 40 million, which is about 14 per cent of SADC's total population.
Six SADC Member States - Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, Swaziland and Zimbabwe - have already declared national drought emergencies.
South Africa has declared a drought emergency in eight of the country's nine provinces, while Mozambique declared a 90-day institutional red alert for some southern and central areas.
The statesman explained that the SADC appeal is in support of on-going planned efforts by SADC Member States Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
“The appeal covers all relevant sectors in an effort to enable a holistic approach to the drought, addressing immediate multi-sectoral humanitarian needs, as well as referencing longer term developmental and resilience-building requirements.”
Responding to the appeal, the United States of America (USA), United Kingdom (UK) and the European Union (EU) pledged over N.dollars 5 billion towards humanitarian needs and response recovery.