The Council of Ministers of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) extended its condolence to the families of the victims and to the Government and people of Malawi on the deaths and damage to people’s homes and livelihoods following the recent heavy rains and floods.
The message was delivered during the opening of the SADC Council of Ministers Meeting in Windhoek, Namibia on 15th March 2019. The Meeting which is being held under the theme, Promoting Infrastructure Development and Youth Empowerment for Sustainable Development, runs from 15 – 16th March, 2019
In her remarks, Hon. Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, Prime Minister and Minister of International Relations and Cooperation and Chair of the SADC Council of Ministers said SADC is paying attention to the climatic situations in the region and is aware that some parts of the region are experiencing floods while other parts have drought. “I wish to take this opportunity to extend condolences to the people of Malawi and Mozambique where lives were lost due to floods and the effects of the cyclone, respectively” Nandi-Ndaitwah said.
In her speech, Her Excellency Dr. Stergomena Lawrence Tax, SADC Executive Secretary, concurred with the Chairperson’s sentiments. She indicated that floods are becoming frequent in the region. “It is with great sadness that we learnt that the floods in Southern Malawi have killed at least 45 people to date, affected 460,600 people, and displaced 31,700, resulting in the declaration of a state of emergency by His Excellency, Professor Peter Mutharika, on 8 March 2019. We express our condolences and stand in solidarity with the Governments of Malawi and Mozambique and the families of the departed”, Tax explained.
Council has since encouraged Member States to continue promoting innovative farming practices, and adopt technologies that will sustain yields during erratic rains, while also helping farmers to cope with the impacts of droughts.
Unpredictable weather patterns and adverse climatic conditions continue to stifle regional efforts to ensure sustainable food self-sufficiency. Predictions indicate that the SADC region will receive normal to below normal rainfall between October 2018 and March 2019. This is likely to have a negative impact on the 2019 crop yield, resulting in food shortages for many households, particularly as a majority of African citizens depend on rain-fed agriculture. According to Her Excellency Dr. Stergomena Lawrence Tax, SADC Executive Secretary, SADC will continue to monitor the region’s food and nutrition security through the regional and national early warning systems and vulnerability assessments.
Malawi is one of the countries that has been hit severely by cyclone Idai. South Africa assisted Malawi with rescue teams and operational equipment while the United Nations mobilized relief assistance for the affected people. Many countries, organizations and individuals wished Malawi well on this occurrence.