SOUTHERN African Development Community (Sadc) member States have declared this year’s El-Nino-induced drought a regional disaster, paving the way for donor agencies to assist in mobilising food aid for the estimated 30 million people facing hunger.
BY STAFF REPORTER
At least four million Zimbabweans reportedly require urgent food aid.
In a joint statement yesterday, several donor agencies operating in the region said: “Essential life-saving crops have failed after at least two consecutive bad harvests, driven this year by a ‘super’ El Nino, which has resulted in erratic, unpredictable weather, reduced or no rainfall in many areas, and flash flooding in others.”
Save the Children’s East and Southern Africa regional director David Wright said Sadc’s declaration of a regional emergency must be a clarion call for donors, national governments and the humanitarian community to act faster.
“The current El Niño is now the strongest on record, leaving millions in the path of severe droughts and destructive flooding which threaten the lives of families and children across the world. Without help, many children face hunger, disease, and futures deprived of the opportunities provided by education and protection,” Wright said.
Sadc’s Council of Ministers’ announcement included the approval of a regional logistics team to co-ordinate the immediate response as well as longer-term calls to action for its member States to scale up technological development for agriculture, energy and water to help mitigate the impact of climate change on the region’s poorest people and help communities become more resilient to future weather events