Sadc seeks $2,4bn to feed 40 mil­lion vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Business Chronicle - Busi­ness Ed­i­tor

THE South­ern African De­vel­op­ment Com­mu­nity (Sadc) has de­clared the El Nino-in­duced drought a re­gional dis­as­ter and is seek­ing $2.4 bil­lion to help 40 mil­lion vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple in the re­gion fight hunger.

Botswana Pres­i­dent Seretse Khama Ian Khama, who is also Sadc chair­man, launched the ap­peal in Gaborone last week.

Min­is­ters and rep­re­sen­ta­tives of Gov­ern­ments from Sadc mem­ber states, United Na­tions and Hu­man­i­tar­ian Agen­cies, mem­bers of the diplo­matic corps and re­gional and In­ter­na­tional Co­op­er­at­ing Part­ners at­tended the cer­e­mony.

“The 2016 re­gional food se­cu­rity and vul­ner­a­bil­ity as­sess­ments in­di­cate that the num­ber of food in­se­cure peo­ple in the re­gion is about 40 mil­lion, which is about 14 per­cent of Sadc to­tal pop­u­la­tion,” said Khama in a re­port posted on the Sadc web­site.

He noted that while the re­gion was largely able to cope with the drought in 2014/15 through its own means, the sever­ity of the drought of 2015/16 has over­whelmed the dis­as­ter pre­pared­ness ca­pac­ity in most of the af­fected mem­ber States.

The Sadc ap­peal aug­ments the on-go­ing ef­forts by mem­ber states and cov­ers all rel­e­vant sec­tors of the re­gion’s econ­omy to en­able a holis­tic approach to the drought.

It seeks to ad­dress im­me­di­ate hu­man­i­tar­ian needs as well as long term de­vel­op­men­tal and re­silience­build­ing re­quire­ments. sur­face tem­per­a­tures in the Pa­cific.

The El Nino and La Nina cause changes in rain­fall and tem­per­a­tures and are linked to ex­treme droughts, storms and floods.

The last El Nino started in March 2015. The World Me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal Or­gan­i­sa­tion de­clared it had “dis­ap­peared” on July 21.

The US Cli­mate Pre­dic­tion Cen­tre, an agency of the Na­tional Weather Ser­vice, said there was a 55 per­cent to 60 per­cent chance that La Nina would de­velop dur­ing the later half of 2016, Reuters re­ported.

More than 60 mil­lion peo­ple in 22 coun­tries across South­ern and Eastern Africa, Cen­tral Amer­ica and the Pa­cific are fac­ing food short­ages be­cause of El Nino, ac­cord­ing to the UN.

Two-thirds of them are said to be in east and south­ern Africa where some 23 mil­lion peo­ple re­quire im­me­di­ate hu­man­i­tar­ian aid.

The drought caused by El Nino has re­sulted in wide­spread crop fail­ures and poor har­vests, with a 9.3-mil­lion tonne re­gional short­fall in ce­real har­vest pro­duc­tion, Sadc has said.

El Nino has also af­fected live­stock, with about 643,000 drought-re­lated live­stock deaths re­ported in Botswana, Swazi­land, South Africa, Namibia and Zim­babwe alone.

A re­port by World Vi­sion, the United Na­tions Chil­dren’s Fund (Unicef) and Plan In­ter­na­tional said the drought has re­sulted in in­creased num­bers of chil­dren sell­ing sex and do­ing do­mes­tic work to sur­vive.

The US, Bri­tain and the EU have pledged $300m, £72m and €60m to the Sadc ap­peal.

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