WINDHOEK - The Southern African Development Community (Sadc) has expressed its condolences to governments in the region who have lost scores of citizens to prevailing floods.
South Africa, Malawi, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe have all been hit by floods and cyclones - killing several people.
At least 126 people have been killed in Mozambique, Malawi and South Africa after heavy rains over the past week affected 843,000 people across southeast Africa, officials and the UN said, prompting calls for emergency aid.
In neighbouring Zimbabwe, weather services have warned that violent thunderstorms, lightning and strong winds will be experienced in the eastern regions of the country.
Zimbabwe’s information ministry said on Saturday that at least 24 people were killed when a tropical storm hit and swept away homes and bridges.
At least 66 people have been killed in Mozambique, 45 in Malawi and four in South Africa following torrential rains that have triggered flash floods.
International Relations and Cooperation Minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah during the official opening of the Sadc Council of Ministers on Friday said the council expressed condolences to the republics of Malawi and Mozambique on the loss of lives, following floods that left a number of people dead, and displaced thousands. Sadc stands in solidarity with the affected families as the member states recover from the negative effects of the floods.
Sadc Executive Secretary Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax said 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,” Tax reacted.
Tax said Sadc has been informed that cyclone Ida has killed at least 10 people in Mozambique in recent days, affecting 63 000 people and displacing 10 000.
Hence, she said, Sadc express condolences to and stands in solidarity with the governments of Malawi and Mozambique and the families of the departed.
Mozambique cabinet spokeswoman Ana Comoana said the “government has decreed a red alert due to the continuing rains and the approach of the tropical cyclone Idai, expected to reach the country between Thursday to Friday.”
She spoke to reporters late on Tuesday after a cabinet meeting in Maputo to discuss the emergency.
The floods in Mozambique, one of Africa’s poorest countries, have already destroyed 5 756 homes, affecting 15 467 households and 141 325 people.
In neighboring Malawi, floods have left over 230 000 people without shelter and affected around 739 000 people, according to the United Nations (UN).
Malawi’s Meteorological Department has warned of more rains and flooding in the country’s south between Thursday and Sunday.
Floods have left over 230 000 people without shelter and affected around 739 000 people in Malawi, according to the UN.
In Mozambique, 111 people have been injured, 18 hospitals destroyed, 938 classrooms destroyed and 9 763 students affected.
More than 168 000 hectares (415 000 acres) of crops were destroyed, the government spokeswoman added.
On a different note, Nandi-Ndaitwah also stressed that Sadc has made great and recognisable strides towards women empowerment in the region.
She said women representation in various positions of influence and decision-making has improved in all Sadc member states, although she said more still needs to be done to empower women.
The Council of Ministers also convened to deliberate on pertinent issues that are vital to Sadc in their pursuit of economic growth and development, peace and security, and regional integration.
She also emphasised that the maintenance of peace and security in the region is of great importance.
She said President Hage Geingob, who is the current chair of Sadc, has stressed before that following recent developments in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Lesotho and Madagascar, the region is on course to enter an era of sustained peace and stability.
She added that the recent political developments are indeed positive and encouraging.
“We all know that where there is no peace, there is no development. Therefore, by ensuring peace and stability, Sadc countries would pave the way for the consolidation of regional economic development and integration,” she maintained.
Pic; Netumbo Floods