Southern Africa seeks $5.5 billion in aid to combat El Niño effects

Gaborone, Botswana – Southern African leaders have launched a $5.5 billion humanitarian aid appeal as the region faces severe grain shortages due to El Niño-induced droughts.

Leaders of the region’s bloc, the Southern African Development Community (SADC), met on Monday to discuss the crisis following widespread drought and flooding that has left millions of people without enough food.

In a statement released after the virtual meeting, the leaders of 15 SADC member states agreed to launch an appeal to help affected populations.

Leaders said the SADC Regional Humanitarian Appeal will increase domestic resources in response to the impact of El Niño weather patterns.

El Niño brought about warmer, drier conditions, leading to unprecedented droughts across the region in 2023 and early 2024.

SADC Executive Secretary Elias Magosi said the humanitarian appeal will be reviewed in August as more member states finalize their assessments on the impact of El Niño and look for an expected change in the La Niña weather pattern later this year. anus.

“The Summit called on Member States to be proactive and strengthen anticipatory action programs to mitigate climate risks such as the La Niña phenomenon, which is projected for the 2024-2025 season,” Magosi said.

Magosi said the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and the Food and Agriculture Organization have pledged a combined $43 million to the humanitarian appeal.

Angolan President Joao Lourenço, who chaired Monday’s meeting, called on the international community to respond.

“This is a very important step taken by the organization (SADC) in launching this humanitarian appeal and we hope that there will be a good response from the international community of support to help us overcome this difficult time facing the region,” Lourenco said. .

El Niño has caused widespread crop failure in southern Africa and led to national emergency declarations in Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

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