SADC needs US$5.5 billion to assist El Niño victims

Niël Terblanché

The current chairperson of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), President João Lourenço of Angola, launched a regional humanitarian appeal of at least US$5.5 billion aimed at supporting more than 61 million people affected by the El Niño-induced droughts and floods across the region.

The appeal seeks to mobilise resources from national, regional, and international partners in response to the devastating impacts of the El Niño phenomenon.

The plan was unveiled during an extraordinary virtual summit of Heads of State and Government, targeting the augmentation of domestic resources in the affected SADC Member States.

In his statement, Lourenço called upon the international community, the private sector, and individuals of goodwill to assist in meeting the urgent needs of the affected populations.

He also urged capable SADC member states to extend their support, stressing the long-standing tradition of regional solidarity and cooperation.

“Charity begins at home. I appeal to SADC member states that have the capacity to do so, to assist those member states most affected in keeping with our long-standing tradition of regional solidarity and cooperation,” Lourenço said.

Lourenço also appealed to media institutions to leverage their wide reach and influence to spotlight the needs of the affected populations.

“By drawing the international community’s attention to the urgency and scale of the humanitarian crisis, the media can play a crucial role in bolstering resource mobilisation efforts,” he said.

Support for the Regional Humanitarian Appeal has already begun, with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) pledging US$33 million and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) committing US$10 million.

SADC’s cooperating partners, including FAO, OCHA, the World Food Programme (WFP), and other regional and international humanitarian agencies, supported and collaborated in the development of the appeal.

Lourenço stressed the importance of regional and international cooperation in addressing the severe impacts of climate-related disasters.

He added that collaborative efforts are aimed at providing immediate relief and long-term solutions to enhance resilience against future occurrences of such natural calamities.

The SADC’s appeal comes at a critical time, as the El Niño phenomenon continues to wreak havoc, leading to severe droughts and floods that have left millions in dire need of assistance.

According to Lourenço, the funds raised through this appeal will be instrumental in providing much-needed relief and support to those affected, ensuring that their basic needs for food, water, and sanitation are met.

“With continued support and collaboration, there is hope for a more resilient and sustainable future for Southern Africa,” he said.

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