Another step on the SADC road to improved disaster management

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A working Southern African Development Community (SADC) regional humanitarian and emergency operations centre in Mozambique is the forerunner of a similar one covering the region and based in Tanzania.

The east African country is the first of the 14 SADC members to commit to the SADC humanitarian and emergency operations centre (SHOC) doing so via signing an inter-governmental memorandum of agreement (MoA) in Dodoma, Tanzania.

The SHOC has as its objectives the co-ordination of humanitarian and emergency support to member states affected by disasters. This, according to a SADC statement, will contribute to disaster risk reduction and “resilience building”. The SHOC will be an autonomous, self-accounting SADC organisation with the MoA its establishing document providing a legal basis for its operationalisation.

Actions to date on SADC disaster risk management (DRM) include the Nacala, Mozambique regional centre taken into service in June 2021.

Speaking at the MoA signing, Tanzania Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, George Simbachawene, expressed the hope that the SHOC will deepen co-operation among SADC member states, strengthen regional capacity to address disasters, improve security of people and properties and lead to better relations among people of the region.

The centre will become fully operational in line with the Inter-governmental MoA once 11 or more of SADC’s 16 members sign it.

With the eye firmly on climate change, the SADC SHOC statement notes:  “Given the rapidly changing disaster landscape in the SADC region, now characterised by more frequent disaster events with intensified severity of impacts, the SADC Council of Ministers during their March 2022 meeting approved interim activities toward operationalisation of the SHOC while the SADC Secretariat facilitated the MoA”.