MUTARE –Seven civic organizations operating in Southern Africa have gathered Cyclone Idai survivors, community representatives, government and civil society organizations (CSOs) from Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Zambia to discuss disaster preparedness in the context of climate change, climate resilience and climate vulnerability in Southern Africa.
Southern Africa Trust, Centre of African Philanthropy and Social Investment (CAPSI), Amnesty International, National Association of Non-Governmental Organizations (NANGO), Action Aid, Southern Africa Youth Forum (SAYOF), and SADC Council of Non-Governmental Organizations (SADC-CNGO).
In a communique released by the conveners of the regional indaba organisers said the unprecedented humanitarian disaster exposed the need for a proactive approach to disaster risk mitigation.
Officially opening the indaba Minister of State for Provincial Affairs, Dr Ellen Gwaradzimba said dialogue on climate change gives impetus towards formulation of policies to mitigate against disasters.
“We are focusing on preplanning to ensure we have sustainable settlements, early warning we hope this dialogue informs government in disaster preparedness, mitigation strategies in the regime possible preparation steps in light of natural disaster looming,” said Dr Gwaradzimba.
Amnesty International Zimbabwe, advocacy and research officer Llyod Kuveya said the regional dialogue will inform regional governments’ response to disaster by providing pointers for reforms in policies and practice to disaster management.
“As effects of climate change intensify we need to be prepared to mitigate these extreme weather conditions that have affected our countries, it’s a wakeup call to the world to come up with mitigation measure to ensure that people do not die,” said Kuveya.
Southern Africa Trust chief executive officer Masego Madzwamuse said such climate induced disaster affect vulnerable members of society disproportionately due to high levels of poverty and weak policy frameworks in Africa.
“Climate induced cyclones happen in other countries but what is tragic in the global South are the socio-economic impacts that it has on the poor as well as the economic effects on the vulnerable members of society.
“Climate policies should protect the poor so that they are not at the fore front of these natural disasters and through such dialogues we amplify the voices of affected communities to enhance response mechanisms to disasters,” said Madzwamuse.