The Southern African Development Community declared a Regional Disaster and launched an Appeal amounting to US $2.4 billion to support the humanitarian needs and disaster response recovery of millions of people affected by the El- Niño-induced drought in the region. The declaring of the Regional Disaster and the launch of the Appeal was announced today the 26th of July 2016 in Gaborone, Botswana, by His Excellency Lt. General Dr. Seretse Khama Ian Khama, President of Republic Botswana and the Chairperson of the SADC at a ceremony attended by Ministers and representatives of Governments from SADC Member States, United Nations and Humanitarian Agencies, members of the diplomatic corps and regional and International Cooperating Partners.
In his launch remarks, the SADC Chairperson called on the International Community to provide assistance to affected Member States. "The 2016 regional food security and vulnerability assessments indicate that the number of food insecure people in the region is about 40 million, which is about 14% of SADC's total population" he said. He noted that while the region was largely able to cope with the drought in 2014/15 through its own means, the severity of the drought of 2015/16 has overwhelmed the disaster preparedness capacity in most of the affected Member States. The SADC Appeal augments the on-going efforts by SADC Member States and covers all relevant sectors of the region's economy to enable a holistic approach to the drought. It aims to address immediate humanitarian needs as well as long term developmental and resilience-building requirements.
In her Remarks, the SADC Executive Secretary, Her Excellency, Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax, thanked partners in particular United Nations Agencies who supported the Secretariat in the preparation of the Appeal Document and all stakeholders who attended the launch. "Your attendance demonstrates a high level of commitment towards addressing the challenges caused by severe drought that has disrupted the lives and livelihoods of millions of citizens of our region", she said.
Mr. Timo Pakkala, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarians Affairs and El Niño Coordinator for Southern Africa reaffirmed the continued commitment to support the SADC region in mitigating the negative effects of the El Niño-induced drought.
Responding to the Appeal, the United States of America pledged US $300 million, while the United Kingdom and the European Union pledged £72 million Pounds, and €60 million respectively, towards humanitarian assistance.