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Southern African leaders launch $5bn appeal fund to combat drought, flood

By Faridat Salifu

Leaders in the southern region of Africa has initiated a $5.5 billion humanitarian appeal recently aiming to assist over 61 million people affected by drought and flooding caused by the El Niño weather phenomenon.

In a statement made available to media organisations, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) approved this funding drive during an emergency virtual summit chaired by the Angolan President, Joan Lourenco.

This initiative seeks to supplement domestic resources in the affected nations and attract additional aid from international partners.

A revised assessment of needs will be issued in August after some countries complete their impact evaluations, according to a SADC communique.

The community also urged member states to take proactive measures against potential La Niña conditions forecasted for 2024-2025.

Part of the statement read: “The summit noted the multifaceted and cascading impact of the El Niño-induced drought and floods across multiple sectors… and called for coordinated, integrated, and harmonized interventions.”

Several U.N. agencies and aid groups, including the World Food Programme, the Food and Agriculture Organization, and the International Federation of Red Cross, pledged initial funding.

However, with over 61 million people affected across the region, SADC emphasized the urgent need for more international support.

Leaders also condemned an attempted coup on Sunday in the Democratic Republic of Congo, reaffirming their opposition to unconstitutional power transfers and expressing solidarity with the Congolese government.

The 16-nation SADC bloc appointed Lourenço last August amid escalating regional instability from insurgencies, coups, and weather disasters worsened by climate change.

That time, he warned that failure to address these crises could lead to displacement, hunger, and recruitment by extremist groups.


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