EAC to set up Urgent response fund for floods and environmental disaster victims

Over 2.8 million people have now been affected due to unusually heavy rainfall and flooding in Eastern Africa. PHOTO| Red Cross Burundi.

The East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) has called on the regional heads of state to put in place an urgent response fund for floods and environmental disaster victims in the community.

While addressing the parliament EALA Member of Parliament Mathias Kasamba said that it was critical to adopt early warning mechanisms, adaptation measures and mitigation measures which will minimize the fatality at risk of human lives.

 “Time has come in to look at how do we finance emergency situations not only at national level but on the regional… we don’t have a disaster committee at regional,” said Mathias Kasamba a regional law maker from Uganda.

The move comes at a time when the region is experiencing floods that has claimed more than 280 this year according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA).

Over 2.8 million people have now been affected due to unusually heavy rainfall and flooding in Eastern Africa.

Across the region, homes, infrastructure and livelihoods have been destroyed and damaged in the hardest-hit areas, and the risk of communicable diseases—including cholera—is rising.

Kenya alone recorded more than 132 deaths due to floods caused by the increased rain from the month of October to December, including 72 who were killed by a landslide which buried their homes in West Pokot County.

In South Sudan more than 900,000 people have been affected by floods since June, and in Burundi 3,100 people were affected by torrential rains in Munyinga with already two people lost their lives.

Burundi government confirmed that at least 26 bodies were found and ten still missing after a mad slide in the country’s Cibitoke province located in the North Western part of the country.

Floods and landslides in Uganda have impacted at least 12 districts including Bundibugyo District, where more than 4,000 people were affected.

In Tanzania the death toll is over 50 including 10 people who were drowned by a flood-swollen river.

“We are going to study this for appropriate actions on the concerns about floods and environmental disasters this year we had people who lost lives and properties in the community,” said Olivier Nduhungirehe the chairman of the EAC council of ministers.

The community already has an EAC Climate Change Policy and Strategy and a climate change master plan for 2011 -2031 with the aim of addressing and guide preparation measures to address the climate change in the region.

A climate change bill is expected to be introduced in the East African Legislative Assembly by the community in the next financial year 2020-2021.

More than 250 people have been killed and three million affected by flash floods and landslides across East Africa, and about half of the deaths (120) have occurred in Kenya with more than 160,000 people affected.


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