Concerted efforts to mitigate disasters urged in East African region

09:00, May 25, 2011      

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Concerted efforts are what the East African Community (EAC) needs to mitigate disasters in the regional economic bloc, said the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA).

Chairperson of EALA's committee on Agriculture, Tourism and Natural Resources Safina Kwekwe made the remarks in Arusha in northeastern Tanzania here over the weekend at a two-day consultation on Disaster Risk Reduction, the local media reported on Tuesday.

She said that the region is prone to disasters as it had a scare in 2008 while experiencing a tsunami along the coast, calling for efforts to work with the United Nations to ensure that the region is disaster-resilient.

The effective use of disaster risk reduction is important in achieving sustainable poverty reduction in the region, according to Kwekwe.

For his part, Laban Ogallo, director of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Drought Climate Prediction and Applications Center and one of the keynote speakers at the consultation, called for a coordinated approach in the management of disasters, as well as a personalized policy approach for different disasters.

Countries in East Africa remain vulnerable to the impact of disasters triggered by floods and droughts, while climate changes contributes to the recurrence of severe drought in the region, said the report.

The impact of floods and drought has not only poses a great threat to people's lives and livelihoods, but also derails the process towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, it added.

The recurrent impacts of disasters often results in increased numbers of people with less access to health care and fresh drinking water. In addition, it leads to a situation where more resources which were meant for development have to be reallocated to disaster relief.

Organized by EALA under the theme "Disaster risk reduction: An instrument for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)", the two-day consultation therefore focused on increasing the political will and leadership in building disaster-resilient progress towards the MDGs.

Source: Xinhua
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