Masisi said the project could not have come at a more appropriate time as the region continues to experience a plethora of disasters, especially those occasioned by climate change. “As we all know, many of our countries continue to suffer from the devastating impacts of recurring disasters across the region,” he said. He added that these disasters not only exert a heavy toll on the lives and livelihoods of the people of this region, but also continue to derail “our collective and individual efforts towards the realisation of our aspirations of regional integration and socio-economic prosperity”.
Masisi recalled the devastating effects of the strong winds, heavy rains and floods that followed the landfall of Tropical Cyclone Eloise early this year. This affected many countries in the region, including Mozambique, Botswana, Eswatini, Madagascar, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
As a result, Masisi said SADC attaches great importance to this Centre, which is a regional initiative aimed at assisting the SADC Member States affected by natural disasters and other emergencies. “The initiative emanates from our clear understanding and common conviction that together we can do better,” he said adding that “we believe that the effectiveness with which any region can address the impact of disasters depends on its institutional capacities, to develop and coordinate disaster risk frameworks, preparedness, collective response and recovery operations”.
Masisi is confident that the Centre will be able to effectively manage regional capabilities, including disaster risk funding; technical expertise and equipment; as well as collaboration with national, regional and international cooperating partners.