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