East African bloc endorses strategy to revitalize disaster response

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East African Community Eac
East African Community Eac

Member states of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), an east African bloc, on Friday endorsed a comprehensive strategy aimed at revitalizing action on natural disasters such as floods, droughts, pests’ infestation and disease outbreaks.

The IGAD’s strategy on disaster risk management and drought response was approved during a high-level ministerial summit convened by the bloc in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital.

“The disaster response strategy will help us mobilize resources and expertise required to tackle environmental challenges in our common borders like droughts and floods,” IGAD executive secretary Workney Gebeyehu said.

He said IGAD member states leveraged international best practices, cross-border knowledge and experience sharing in their quest for a holistic disaster response strategy.

The Horn of African states, in developing a disaster response strategy, were reacting to natural and man-made catastrophes that have intensified in the region, worsening poverty, food and water insecurity, habitat loss and disease outbreaks, Gebeyehu said.

Guleid Artan, director of Nairobi-based IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Center, said the strategy will mainstream disaster response in national development programs.

With a regional disaster response strategy in place, it will be possible to combat droughts, resource-based conflicts and ecological degradation in an inclusive manner, he said.

Artan called for enactment of conducive policies to strengthen disaster management in the region, adding that investments in early warning systems and climate-smart farming would boost resilience of communities grappling with natural hazards.

Abdul Buhari, chief administrative secretary in Kenya’s Ministry of Public Service, Gender, Senior Citizens’ Affairs and Special Programs, said a regional strategy is required to help mitigate and respond to climate-induced disasters.

He said a joint approach to tackling hazards escalated by the climate crisis in the region has the potential to boost inclusive growth, gender parity, food security, peace and cohesion. Enditem

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