SADC region to establish $1.6m disaster emergency management fund

* Most times, member states are always reactive than proactive when it comes to disaster issues

* Which does not effectively work when it comes to disaster response

By Leonard Masauli, MANA

The committee of ministers responsible for disaster risk management for the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) has agreed to establish an emergency fund as an insurance cover in times of disasters among its member states.

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This was disclosed during a two-day meeting at Crossroads Hotel in Lilongwe on Tuesday where senior advisor in SADC disaster risk unit, Alex Banda told the media on the sidelines of the Committee’s meeting that most times, member states are always reactive than proactive when it comes to disaster issues — which does not effectively work when it comes to disaster response.

“To this, we are trying to come up with disaster fund and it was already approved by the SADC Council in August 2019,” he said. “We have already developed instruments to establish that fund and the Council has mandated ministers of finance in all SADC member states to quickly operationalize this fund and very soon this fund will be operational.”

He further said the members have agreed to put in place region instruments and also region institutions to make sure that they help member states to build capacity to ensure they are more of proactive than reactive when it comes to responding to disaster issues.

Agriculture Minister Lobin Lowe

Chairperson for the SADC Committee of Ministers, also Malawi’s Minister of Agriculture, Robin Lowe said the meeting is timely as it will help the member states to reflect on previous interventions and come up with current decisions that will assist in responding to disaster issues in the country.

Lowe said the country has always been reactive than proactive to disasters in investing on early warning systems so that when a disaster strikes, the country should be able to proactively react.

“Disasters do not give appointments, and hence we need to invest in early warning systems so that they are responded to in good time when an emergency occurs, we should be able to react because it has been noted that it takes long to respond to emergencies.

“For example, SADC countries were affected by cyclones Idai, Ana and Gombe, as well as droughts, and hence the need to come up with investments to react to those disasters.”

Flooded Lower Shire in January

Lowe further said Malawi has become part of that investment by benefitting from the African Risk Capacity insurance to the tune of $14.6 million, to assist in disaster recovery.

Countries like Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi, Madagascar and parts of South Africa were heavily affected by cyclone Idai. In Malawi about 900,000 people were affected with over 190,000 getting displaced across the country.

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