A hundred and seventy kilometres separates Pemba in Mozambique’s strife-torn Cabo Delgado from Nacala in Nampula where the planned Southern African Development Community (SADC) humanitarian and emergency centre is to be located.
The centre, officially the SADC Humanitarian and Emergency Operations Centre (SHOC), will be responsible for co-ordinating regional disaster risk preparedness, response and early recovery to member states affected by disasters. Additionally, the SHOC will facilitate supply chain management of equipment and supplies for SADC responders during humanitarian support deployments.
A virtual meeting last week between SADC executive secretary Elias Magosi and Luísa Meque, president of Mozambique’s National Institute for Disaster Risk Reduction and Management, ended with both committing to intensifying efforts to make the SHOC a reality and operational.
Mozambique offered to host the SHOC and provided land and buildings in the Nampula provincial capital for it. Until such time as what an SADC communique terms the “legal instruments” to finalise the SHOC are in place, Mozambique will fund support and management of the facility, which can only become operational when two thirds of the SADC’s 16 members commit to an inter-government memorandum of understanding.