Senior Officials from respective ministries and departments dealing with transport logistics and food security in SADC Member States are currently attending a two day meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa.The meeting convened in order to map the way forward on how the region could sustain itself during the difficult times caused by the effects of El-Nino.
The meeting is a follow-up to the recent declaration of a SADC Regional Disaster and launch of a Regional Appeal for Humanitarian and Recovery Support amounting to US$2.4 billion by the Chairperson of SADC and president of Botswana, Lt. General Dr Ian Khama.
A statement from SADC this week states that the objective of the meeting is to strategize and adopt a coordinated regional transportation plan for humanitarian relief cargo.
The Regional Disaster Appeal reveals that the devastating El-Niño-induced drought has affected an estimated 40 million people across the SADC region, and out of this figure, more than 23 million are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance.
It is further stated that the Regional Disaster Appeal estimates that the region has a cereal shortfall of 9.3 million metric tonnes. Considering that only two SADC countries recorded a surplus, (Tanzania and Zambia), the bulk of this shortfall will be covered with imports from outside the region.
A supply chain assessment conducted by the WFP in March this year and the recent consultative mission to key SADC ports by the SADC El Nino Transport Logistics Team this month, on the state of preparedness of the regional transport corridors, both indicate that the regional transport infrastructure and services have adequate capacity to handle the anticipated surge in imports, their storage and distribution. However, they need to be coordinated.