Horn of Africa crisis results in effort to improve action on early warnings

Source(s): United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction - Regional Office for Africa

NAIROBI/GENEVA, 13 February 2012 - In advance of critical rainfall forecasts for the Horn of Africa, the UN office for disaster risk reduction, UNISDR, today announced a partnership with the WMO-supported African Centre of Meteorological Applications for Development (ACMAD) to ensure rapid dissemination of weather updates to disaster managers.

Pedro Basabe, Head of the UNISDR Regional Office for Africa, said: "The failure to mobilise an adequate and timely response to the food crisis on the Horn of Africa when the alarm was first raised 18 months ago has led to many unnecessary deaths. This scenario is in danger of repeating itself across the Sahel this year where more than one million children are at risk of severe malnutrition and ten million people face hunger.

"We hope this new partnership between UNISDR and ACMAD will forge closer links between the climate science community and disaster managers in Africa. The result we want is better understanding of early warnings and a more rapid response at all levels, local, national, regional and international."

Alhassane Diallo, ACMAD Director-General, said: "Structured dialogue between climate scientists and disaster managers will result in a better understanding of climate change and the impact on vulnerable communities. Early warnings and seasonal forecasts are all essential to the work of a disaster manager but climate change will mean even more extreme events and weather variability which will impact greatly on disaster management in the future."

The partnership was announced today at a forum on disaster risk management in Nairobi. It comes two weeks before the Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum in Kigali, Rwanda, which will provide the regional climate outlook statement for the all-important March to May 2012 rainy season.

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