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

SADC President Lazarus Chakwera. (AMOS GUMULIRA / AFP)

  • The SADC President called on Member States to fast-track frameworks to deal with natural disasters.
  • Lazarus Chakwera says SADC should adopt the Sendai framework for disaster risk reduction.
  • KwaZulu-Natal is reeling from floods that have claimed more than 400 lives and destroyed infrastructure.

Southern African Development Community (SADC) President Lazarus Chakwera, who is also President of Malawi, has called on member states to fast-track frameworks to deal with natural disasters.

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

“May I also call on SADC Member States to continue to put in place measures to scale up the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (2015-2030) by strengthening the capacities and capabilities of early warning, ensuring preparedness and increased resilience,” he said. .

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

He said the framework should also promote the sustainable use of the environment and should be “coupled with our regional efforts to rapidly operationalize and adequately resource regional coordination mechanisms to ensure coordinated efforts to address natural and man-made disasters”.

This year alone, southern Africa has experienced seven natural disasters linked to climate change and global warming, and more are likely to occur, according to climate change activists.

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As South Africa grapples with the humanitarian crisis in KwaZulu-Natal, the South African Meteorological Service has warned that the country will experience more heavy rains, which could lead to flash flooding in already inundated areas.

Mozambique, Madagascar and Malawi were now on high alert as Tropical Storm Jasmine was expected to make landfall this week bringing heavy rain 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 posed a new threat – and Malawi’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Climate Change said that following the tropical storm, “northern Malawi will continue to receive rainfall which will be locally abundant, especially along riparian areas”.

The Mozambican meteorological service said the tropical storm’s impact was uncertain, but Madagascar would be the first to feel the impact.

“From Tuesday, the trajectory and intensity of jasmine becomes very uncertain. The latest forecasts now suggest a possible landfall in southwestern Madagascar between Tuesday evening and Wednesday in a slightly more intense state than initially expected” , says the organization.

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