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SADC seeks $5.5 billion to combat Southern Africa’s devastating drought

By Faridat Salifu

Southern Africa is grappling with an unprecedented drought, prompting the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to seek $5.5 billion in aid to assist over 61 million people impacted by the crisis.

This urgent appeal was announced by João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço, President of Angola and Chairman of SADC, to alleviate the severe consequences of the disaster sweeping the region.

The drought, exacerbated by the El Niño climatic phenomenon, has reached critical levels, pushing countries like Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe to declare national disasters.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) had earlier reported that nearly 16 million people are facing hunger, with half of the region’s maize crop the staple food destroyed.

Additionally, diminished water levels in hydraulic dams have triggered electricity shortages, disrupting key economic sectors, including mining.

A Dire Humanitarian Crisis
SADC’s $5.5 billion appeal underscores the gravity of the humanitarian crisis. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has already pledged $33 million, and the FAO has committed $10 million.

This initiative, developed in collaboration with regional and international partners, aims to bolster the national resources of affected member states and attract further funding to address the urgent needs of vulnerable populations.

“The climate crisis in southern Africa highlights the necessity for immediate and decisive action to mitigate climate change effects and bolster the resilience of the hardest-hit communities,” stated President Lourenço.

The appeal is not just a call for financial aid but a rallying cry for global cooperation to tackle the escalating crisis and safeguard vulnerable populations from its devastating impacts.

The SADC’s strategy involves a multifaceted approach to strengthen national capacities, improve food security, and support economic stability in the region. The collaboration with regional and international partners is pivotal to this plan, aiming to ensure that the funds raised are utilized effectively to provide immediate relief and long-term solutions.

This crisis underscores the global community’s responsibility to support regions disproportionately affected by climate change. While SADC’s appeal is a critical step, sustained, collective action on a global scale is essential to address this ongoing crisis and protect vulnerable populations from its catastrophic effects.

The call for $5.5 billion reflects the severity of the situation and the urgent need for international solidarity and action. As southern Africa battles one of its worst droughts, the global community must come together to provide the necessary resources and support to mitigate the crisis and build a resilient future for the region.

 

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