The Southern African Development Community (SADC) notes with great sadness the impacts of widespread rains and floods following a weather system that formed in the Mozambique Channel on 17th January 2020 that hit the north-west of Madagascar on 22nd January 2020. The torrential rains and floods have affected over 106,846 people in seven regions of the Country, displacing over 16,000 people and leaving at least 170 dead, and the death toll is expected to rise, as several people are still missing.
The heavy rains and floods have also damaged key infrastructure, including roads, houses and schools in several locations. Over 10,600 houses are still flooded while 146 have been destroyed. Across the seven regions, around 6,600 students are out of school or are learning in make-shift classrooms, as a result of the damage to classrooms. The flooding has also affected several lowland areas that are used to grow crops, mainly rice and may therefore impact on the food security in the coming cropping period.
SADC appreciates the overwhelming support extended to the Government of Madagascar and the affected communities by our Cooperating Partners, Non-Governmental Organisations and Civil Society Organisations on the ground. We call upon all our partners, within and beyond the region, to continue supporting the rescue operations, and in providing the needed humanitarian assistance to the affected communities.
In view of the increased frequency and scale of the climate-related catastrophes, such as cyclones, floods and droughts in the SADC region, SADC reiterates its call for joint global efforts to mitigate climate change by stepping up efforts to enhance adaptive capacities of developing countries in line with the spirit of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (2015-2030) and Article 8(4) of the 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change while enhancing carbon sequestration through the adoption of cleaner production technologies, scaling up reforestation and combating deforestation.
I call upon SADC Member States to re-double our efforts to strengthen disaster risk management capacities, as emphasized in the SADC Disaster Preparedness and Response Strategy adopted in 2016, and to fully operationalise the necessary collaborative mechanisms to ensure swift joint and concerted responses to disasters.
Dr. Stergomena Lawrence Tax
SADC Executive Secretary