Meeting of Ministers from Botswana, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and South Africa

Report
from Government of South Africa
Published on 03 Mar 2000
Pretoria, Friday, 3 March 2000

Ministers and officials from the four Southern African countries affected by the floods met in Pretoria to discuss the effects of the floods in each country, as well as mechanisms for coordinating relief and rehabilitation. The Ministers adopted a number of resolutions detailing immediate, medium and long term measures to ensure effective cooperation with respect to flood relief.

RESOLUTIONS

A. IMMEDIATE ISSUES

Having noted the aid already given and the progress made thus far in addressing the disasters which have struck our respective countries.

The meeting hereby resolves:

that the four countries will continue to cooperate in addressing the challenges arising from the recent disasters, and that the needs of Mozambique must receive priority attention;

that the disaster management officials from the four countries will, within the next 48 hours, produce a strategic plan outlining the practical steps to be taken to mitigate the effects of cyclone Gloria should it strike;

that a strategy be developed regarding the provisioning of aid/assistance/relief by the international community, so as to ensure that aid is provided to the countries which need it most, on an equitable and coordinated basis;

that we attend to the refugees who may have crossed our respective borders, jointly, in order to ensure that their well-being and the required support are addressed in a humane manner;

to appeal to the international community to approach each one of the affected countries directly through appropriate channels before relief aid is provided;

that, in view of the ongoing rescue operations, the Ministers of Defence should cause the respective Defence Forces to meet in order to coordinate rescue activities and address the sharing of resources;

that the SADC Ministers of Health should meet as soon as possible to consider the latest developments and draw up an action plan; and

that this meeting reconvenes in two weeks' time to review progress.

B. IMMEDIATE STEPS/PRIORITY ISSUES

The meeting hereby resolves:

that a structure made up of officials be set up within the next 24 hours to coordinate activities/action involving our countries in respect of these disasters;

that this structure be accountable to a core group of Ministers made up of the leaders of the four delegations at this meeting;

that the two teams referred to will prioritise the following:

provision of:

(aa) drugs, tents/emergency accommodation;

(bb) food;

(cc) water purification chemicals

(dd) blankets;

(ee) clothes;

(ff)other items which are necessary for the sustenance of the affected communities; and

(gg)items which cater, in particular, for the needs of women and children in the affected areas;

the development of a programme relating to the construction of damaged roads, infrastructure, bridges, other productive infrastructure etc, particularly those along our borders;

the constitution of volunteer teams of experts who will assist the respective countries in formulating plans relating to, in particular, road construction, building of bridges, rescue operations and medical requirements, etc.;

the identification of basic needs (including human resources), by each one of the countries in order to ensure that additional priorities can be identified and attended to on an ongoing basis; and

the rebuilding of homes, particularly homes belonging to the poor.

C. MEDIUM-TERM TO LONG-TERM ISSUES

The meeting hereby resolves:

that a team of experts be constituted to deal with the implications of the recent disaster on the economy, trade, agriculture, the general livelihood of the citizens of our respective countries, etc., and submit proposals thereon as soon as possible;

that we commit ourselves to promoting coordination in the handling of the current, and all future, disaster and to establish appropriate structures in order to realise this objective; and

that the disaster management officials from our countries should analyse the current system of disaster management with a view to enhancing our capacity to respond and prevent/mitigate disasters, and also consider the possible establishment of a SADC Disaster Management Unit.

D. CONCLUSION

The meeting hereby resolves that teams, under the leadership of the relevant heads of departments, will meet urgently to translate these resolutions into practical action plans, and thus develop a programme of action. The first meeting will be held later today.