Global assistance pledged for SADC drought disaster

International governments have pledged monetary assistance following the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region launching an appeal to the international community to assist with funding of US$2.4 billion. It was recently declared a regional disaster in the midst of a crippling drought experienced in the region for the past five years.

The United States of America pledged US$300 million, while the United Kingdom and the European Union pledged £72 million and €60 million respectively.

Last week, SADC chairman and president of Botswana, Seretse Khama Ian Khama, addressed governments from SADC member states, United Nations and humanitarian agencies, members of the diplomatic corps and regional and international co-operating partners.

"The 2016 regional food security and vulnerability assessments indicate that the number of food insecure people in the region is about 40 million, which is about 14% of SADC's total population," Khama highlighted.

He added that while the region was largely able to cope with the drought in 2014/15 through its own means, the severity of the drought of 2015/16 has overwhelmed the disaster preparedness capacity in most of the affected member states.

“The SADC appeal augments the ongoing efforts by SADC member states and covers all relevant sectors of the region's economy to enable a holistic approach to the drought,” Khama said.

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