nwp_for_africa.jpgThe World Meteorological Organisation Regional Association 1 (Africa) estimates that between 1980 and 2000, over 1,2 million people died and over US$900 billion was spend in Africa coping with weather, climate and hydrological phenomenon, more of which could have been avoided by pro-active initiatives by governments and people.


The organisation revealed this at the 15th Session of the WMO Regional Association 1 (Africa) in Marrakech, Morocco.


The association secretariat said it has noted with concern the death of more than a million people in the region due to avoidable meteorological related natural disasters, adding that it is important that member countries put in place strong early warning systems to ensure the impacts of extreme weather events are reduced, to enable member countries to attain the meteorology Millennium Development Goals.


Speaking on the sidelines of the meeting, a climate change expert with the SADC Climate Services Centre, Mr Bradwell Garanganga, said, “Although Africa has in the past decade lost lives, the situation is set to improve in Southern Africa, considering that the World Meteorological Organisation has managed to provide a platform for regional integration and cooperation between WMO and various regional and sub-regional economic and technical organisations in SADC, for the development and implementation of programmes and projects related to
meteorology and hydrology.”


He said efforts to reduce the impacts of extreme weather events like flooding and drought are in place in Southern Africa through SADC Climate Services Centre, (former Drought Monitoring Centre), Regional Climate Service Centre and the Meteorological Association of Southern Africa among other regional bodies.


These are helping SADC countries to reduce the impacts and effects of natural disasters of meteorological nature.


Mr Garanganga said the 15th Session of WMO Regional Association 1 (Africa) meeting helps consolidate efforts being made in Southern Africa to significantly reduce natural disasters related to meteorology that have resulted in the death of millions of people through early warning systems.


African member states representatives at the 15th session agreed that because of widespread poverty and limited resources, adaptation and coping capabilities, the continent is one of the most vulnerable regions of the world to the projected impacts of weather, climate change and hydrological phenomenon.


Statistics from WMO also reveals that out of the 49 least developed countries in the world, 33 are from Africa, hence the need for the WMO to assist with funds to such countries which are facing difficulties in executing their duties because of resource constraints.


Meanwhile, the WMO in collaboration with USAID are developing a strategy for flood forecasting and early warning in the Zambezi Basin. The objective of the project is to assess the capacity for flood forecasting and early warning in the countries along the Zambezi River Basin and formulate a consensus strategy for flood early warning in the basin to reduce its impact.