AU urges action to reduce impact of disasters in Africa

Addis Ababa   –     The African Union (AU) reiterated on Friday that African governments and stakeholders must take actions in implementing policies to reduce negative impacts of disasters on the African continent.

The AU made the call on the occasion of International Day for Disaster Reduction (IDDR), observed every year on Oct. in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa,

The commemoration session held under the theme, “Home Safe Home, Reducing Exposure, and Reducing Displacement,” noted that Africa has continued to remain the continent most vulnerable to hazards.

In her remarks, Amira El-Fadil, AU Commissioner for Social Affairs, underlined the need to take actions in implementing risk reduction policies towards reducing the number of people affected by the natural and human-induced hazards.

She said: “in Africa, we have abundance of polices and decisions yet to continue to remain the most vulnerable continent to hazards.

“This commemoration comes as yet another wake-up call to the African governments and all the stakeholders to take actions that we see those policies being implemented.”

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The most hazard-prone countries in Africa, based on past frequencies and analysis of disaster risk indexes, are Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Mali, Niger, Sudan, and Uganda.

Also speaking, Mitiku Kassa, Commissioner for National Disaster Risk Management, said that .
inspite of Ethiopia’s impressive economic growth over the past couple of decades, natural disaster remains one of the biggest challenges facing the East African country,

Kassa said that millions of people have negatively affected by disasters in the Horn of Africa region, the Commissioner reiterated that more than eight million of people are affected by climate change-induced drought in Ethiopia.

He also stated that Ethiopia has been implementing policies and programs to deliver on commitment to prevent and reduce disaster risks in the country.

The UN General Assembly designated Oct. 13 as IDDR to promote a global culture of disaster reduction, including disaster prevention, mitigation and preparedness.

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The world body said between the years 1985 and 2015, losses in Africa range from 3.5 billion U.S. dollars to 22 billion dollars.

A total of 2,147 natural hazards recorded in those three decades, with more than 210,000 losses in human lives, close to 190,000 people injured, around 400 million people needing immediate assistance and about eight million people homeless, among other undocumented impacts of hazards.

Since the year 2000, sub-Saharan Africa has recorded an average of two disasters per week, affecting around 12.5 million people every year.

In August 2017, the African continent witnessed severe flooding and mudslide that killed 499 people and left close to 600 people missing and more than 1,000 people injured in Sierra Leone.

UN says more than 150 people also died and many others left injured and homeless due to landslide in the DR Congo.

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