SADC region to establish $1.6million disaster emergency fund


The Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Committee of Ministers Responsible for Disaster Risk Management has agreed to establish an emergency fund as an insurance cover, in times of disasters among member countries.

This was revealed during a-two-day meeting conducted at Crossroads Hotel in Lilongwe.

Senior Advisor in SADC disaster Risk Unit, Alex Banda made the revelations to the media on the sidelines of a Meeting of the Committee of Ministers of Responsible for Disaster from SADC which took place on Tuesday at Cross Roads Hotel in Lilongwe.

Banda explained that most times, member states are always reactive than proactive when it comes to disaster issues which does not effectively work when it comes to disaster response.

“To this, we are trying to come up with disaster fund and it was already approved by council in August 2019 and we have already developed instruments to establish that fund and the council has mandated Ministers of finance in all SADC member states to quickly operationalize this fund and very soon this fund will be operational,” said Banda 

Banda said furthermore, the members have agreed to put in place region instruments and also region institutions to make sure that they help member states to build capacity to ensure members are more of proactive than reactive when it comes to responding to disaster issues.

Chairperson for SADC Committee of Ministers, also Minister of Agriculture, Robin Lowe said the meeting is timely as it will help the member states to reflect on previous interventions and come up with current decisions that will assist in responding to disaster issues in the country.

Lowe said the Country has always been reactive than proactive when responding to issues of disasters by investing in early warning systems so that when a disaster strikes, the country should be able to proactively react.

“Disasters do not give appointments, and hence we need to invest in early warning systems so that they are responded to in good time when an emergency occurs, we should be able to react because it has been noted that it takes long to respond to emergencies. 

“For example, countries were affected by cyclone Idai, Ana and Gombe, as well as droughts, and hence the need to come up with investments to react to those disasters,” added Lowe 

The Minister further highlighted to say Malawi, has become part of that investment by benefitting from the African Risk Capacity insurance to the tune of $14.6 million, to assist in disaster recovery.

Countries like Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi, Madagascar and parts of South Africa were heavily affected by cyclone Idai. In Malawi about 900,000 people were affected with over 190,000 getting displaced across the country.