natural disasters

Special Envoy for El Nino and Climate

The United Nations’ Secretary General has appointed Special Envoys on El Nino and Climate - the former President of Ireland Mary Robinson and Kenya’s Ambassador to the United Nations Macharia Kamau.
The appointments come at a time of great urgency with droughts and flooding associated with El Nino creating massive needs, especially in the worst affected regions of Southern and East Africa, Central America and the Pacific.

Funds Needed for African Weather Services

The World Bank is working with other development finance institutions to raise some US$500 million to modernise weather and flood forecasting services in Africa.

Daniel Kull, a disaster risk specialist with the World Bank, says the bank is talking to lenders, including the African Development Bank and the Islamic Development Bank, about mobilising the funds to improve prediction, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa.

Meanwhile, experts say more accurate and timely warnings of extreme weather would help protect lives and assets from disasters.

NGOs Ignore Flood Victims

According to an article titled ‘NGOs turn a blind eye on Chingwizi’’ by Zvamaida Murwira and George Maponga, the majority of local non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have ignored the humanitarian emergency facing over 3 000 families displaced by flooding in the Tokwe-Mukosi basin in Masvingo.

Murwira and Maponga states that only the corporate sector and a few organisations providing 98 percent of assistance rendered so far, while investigations by The Herald show that there are less than five local NGOs active at Tokwe-Mukosi.

Capetonians Come With a Superhero Effort to Smash Records for the Twitter Blanket Drive 2013

Capetonians came with a superhero effort over the weekend in the Twitter Blanket Drive when they broke the record for blanket collection of last year in a much shorter time frame, this year. Last year, 1 600 blankets were collected via Twitter in a three-month period. This year the campaign was just over three weeks long and more than 1 600 blankets were collected. Various teams were collecting blankets for a range of non-governmental organisation (NGOs).

Mozambique Residents Evacuated After Floods

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Mozambique has collaborated with the government to assist in the evacuation of residents affected by the heavy rains.

Mozambican authorities say they have evacuated about 3 000 families affected by floods to higher ground, since yesterday.

UNDP's humanitarian coordinating officer in Mozambique, Casimiro Sande, says the flooding is caused by the high rain fall recorded in South Africa and other countries as Mozambique is in a downstream.

At least 40 people have been killed since the start of the rains.

Maruleng Hit Hard by Floods

The Department of Human Settlements in Limpopo says that a total of 220 families have been affected by this week's floods in Maruleng.

The department spokesperson, Tseng Diale, says that according to a preliminary assessment, 101 families are in need of immediate shelter and tents are being provided for them.

Meanwhile, spokesperson for the Limpopo Department of Health, Kenny Mathivha, says the Mopani district - encompassing Baphalaborwa, Giyani, Letaba, Maruleng, and Tzaneen municipalities - was hardest hit by the flood.

NGO to Send Rescue Team to Japan

Rescue South Africa says a South African rescue team will leave for Japan to help with relief efforts following a 8.9 magnitude earthquake and tsunami that hit the country's east coast.

Rescue South Africa spokesperson, Ian Scher, says the organisation has put a team of a maximum of 50 people to go to the quake-hit north-eastern part of Japan where a tsunami struck the coast of Miyagi prefecture.

Heavy Rain Puts Relief Agencies on Alert

Heavy rains and localised flooding across southern Africa from Angola to Madagascar are raising fears that the devastating floods of 2000 will be repeated, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Hein Zeelie, an OCHA humanitarian affairs officer based in Johannesburg, points out that, "All countries in contiguous southern Africa are expected to receive normal to above-normal rainfall between January and March 2011.


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