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Au’s Multi-hazard Early Warning Programme To Boost Africa’s Resilience

At the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction (GPDRR) taking place in Bali, Indonesia, the African Union (AU) expressed hope that the recently launched Multi-hazard Early Warning and Early Action Systems (AMHEWAS) will enhance the resilience-building capabilities of its member states. The programme supports the creation of situation rooms at the AUC and regional levels.

AU's Technical Coordinator for Disaster Risk Reduction, Gatkuoth Kai, was speaking ahead of the GPDRR official kickoff on Wednesday. "When we left Geneva three years ago, we never had a continental early warning programme, and now we have the AMHEWAS, and it’s a great milestone for us to showcase this global platform." Our expectation is that the AMHEWAS will help us kick start dialogue with other regions, learn from what they are doing, and also seek their input into the AMHEWAS programming. "

Prior to the GPDRR, the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) is also hosting the Multi Hazard Early Warning Conference and the Fifth World Reconstruction Conference, the outcomes of which will be incorporated into the agenda for the GPDRR.

Kai stated that the AU is actively involved in all discussions so that the outcomes will also take the needs of African nations into account. This is especially crucial at the present time, when the continental institution is working hard to promote the Africa Recovery Framework, which aims to assist AU member states in recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic and other disasters in a sustainable manner.

We need to do more

The AU representative anticipates that the conference will also discuss the recent cyclones that caused widespread destruction in Africa. Four storms hit Madagascar in one month, and the effects of tropical storms Ana and Gombe are still being felt in Malawi, where nearly eighty-five people perished, thousands of houses got flattened and tens of thousands were displaced. Kai said: "We are aware of the recent unfortunate incidents triggered by cyclones in Southern Africa and we want our member states to treat this as a strong message that we need to do more to build resilience because if we continue to be overtaken by events, we will never have time to recover. These cyclones can occur at anytime and are becoming less predictable, so building resilience in a comprehensive manner is the way to go, and hopefully we can learn from Asia, which is usually hit by many more cyclones than Africa."

Mami Mizutori, head of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) and the UN Secretary General's Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction, spoke at the start of the Fifth World Reconstruction Conference. She told the delegates that they should talk about new ways to deal with problems and increase their efforts to rebuild better.

In 2015, over 187 countries signed the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, and Mizutori said, : "The mid-point of Sendai Framework implementation marks a time of increased global urgency. Furthermore, disasters are also becoming more costly, setting back the global economy by an average of USD 170 billion every year.’’

Mizutori - Disasters are becoming more costly

The Sendai Framework was adopted on March 18, 2015, at the Fourth United Nations (UN) World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, Japan, "to achieve the substantial reduction of disaster risk and losses in lives, livelihoods, and health as well as in the economic, physical, social, cultural, and environmental assets of persons, businesses, communities, and countries over the next 15 years."

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Mathews Malata Jr.
An ardent environmentalist, LEAD Fellow & versatile award-winning journalist passionate about SDGs

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