World Bulletin / News Desk
Southern African Development Community (SADC) chief Stergomena Lawrence Tax has voiced the regional grouping's concern that dry spells and flooding to have hit the region recently would result in low crop yields.
"The food security situation in the region is expected to be less than satisfactory during the 2015/16 marketing year as a result of poor rains in most parts of the region, dry spells and floods in others areas," Tax said on Friday at the opening session of a three-day meeting of SADC's Council of Ministers in Harare.
The SADC executive secretary said the bloc would monitor the situation and support calls for early-warning mechanisms for food security and vulnerability assessments in the bloc's member states.
Floods – said to be the worst in 90 years – affected Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.
Malawi was the worst affected, with nearly 1.2 million believed to be in need of relief. The floods claimed more than 60 lives.
Malawians rely on charcoal for domestic energy and the cutting down of trees impacted the country heavily during the flooding.
"I wish to take this opportunity to express our sympathy and condolences to the governments and people of Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe for the loss of lives and destruction of properties as a result of the recent floods in these member countries," Tax said.
For his part, Zimbabwean Foreign Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, current chairperson of the SADC Council of Ministers, questioned the state of disaster preparedness in member states.
"Whilst this is not a new phenomenon, it calls into question our readiness to deal with major disasters," the top diplomat said.
"Let us come out of this meeting with plausible proposals to provide solutions for the way forward," he added.
The Zimbabwean minister also asserted that climate change posed a significant challenge to social and economic development in the region, given the impact of natural disasters on key sectors of the regional economy.
Malawian Foreign Minister George Chaponda told the Anadolu Agency that his government under the leadership of President Peter Mutharika was implementing reforestation programs as a way of combating disasters such as floods.
"Former President Joyce Banda was allegedly involved in financial scandals, leaving the country with no donors last year, so the country is relying on foreign humanitarian aid to assist its people," Chaponda said.
SADC is a 15-member regional grouping that aims to promote sustainable and equitable socio-economic development in southern Africa.
The meeting will discuss preparations for an extraordinary summit of the bloc's leaders scheduled for the end of April in Harare.
It will also discuss the outcome of a recent meeting devoted to regional economic integration held in Harare.Güncelleme Tarihi: 06 Mart 2015, 16:38