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El Niño: Mozambique Calls for Launch of SADC Humanitarian Operations Centre

El Niño: Mozambique Calls for Launch of SADC Humanitarian Operations Centre

Mozambique called this Monday, 20 May, for the start-up of the Southern African Humanitarian and Emergency Operations Centre (COHE), set up in the north, to lead discussions on climate events, when five countries have declared a state of emergency due to El Niño, as reported by the Lusa news agency.

‘We call on the Southern African Development Community (SADC) secretariat to speed up the operationalisation of the COHE, so that the issues we are discussing here today can be led by this institution that we ourselves created to fill the vacuum imposed on us by the increase in the frequency and intensity of climate events,’ said the Minister of Land and Environment, Ivete Maibaze, at the extraordinary SADC summit on El Niño.

The minister, who was speaking at this virtual extraordinary summit of SADC heads of state and government on behalf of Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi, expressed concern about the five southern African countries that have declared a state of emergency due to the impacts of El Niño, noting that ‘more countries could certainly do so as the phenomenon worsens’.

The COHE was launched in June 2021, in the coastal city of Nacala, in Nampula, in the north of the country, to respond to the challenges of climate change and other associated emergencies, which ‘require rapid, coordinated and timely intervention in any SADC member state’.

During the community summit, the minister mentioned an orange alert issued by the country in February ‘to deal with the negative impacts of extreme events on communities and some vital infrastructures’, as well as early action and mitigation measures for the drought caused by El Niño in some provinces.

Ivete Maibaze also advocated the exchange of experiences between member countries in the areas of disaster risk management and reduction and early action plans aimed at minimising the impact of bad weather in the region.

‘I would like to reaffirm our country’s commitment to continue materialising actions to better address the challenges arising from the El Niño phenomenon, within the framework of the joint efforts of the SADC countries,’ concluded the Mozambican Minister of Land and Environment.

El Niño is a change in atmospheric dynamics caused by an increase in the temperature of the Pacific Ocean. This meteorological phenomenon is also causing torrential rains in East Africa, which have already caused hundreds of deaths in Kenya, Burundi, Tanzania, Somalia and Ethiopia, the source said.

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