UN Special Envoy on El Niño calls for adaptation to the rapidly changing climate

Oct 28, 2016

The Special Envoy of the United Nations Secretary-General for El Niño & Climate, Ambassador Macharia Kamau, visited Mozambique this week to highlight the urgent needs of 1.5 million people affected by the El Niño-related drought.

Ambassador Kamau visited drought-affected communities, interacted with humanitarian and development partners, was received by local authorities including Mozambique President Filipe Nyusi, the Minister of Public Works, the Director of the National Disaster Management Institute (INGC),   representatives of United Nations agencies and to discuss and evaluate the devastating effects of recent El Niño climate events in Mozambique.

"Humanitarian assistance needs to be urgently expanded and we need to have robust plans to reach those who are in need," said Ambassador Kamau. "We need more than $ 200 million for the immediate response, but only 57% of that figure is guaranteed. We need more in order to provide food, water, health care, nutrition and other emergency services for Mozambicans. "

"But we have to understand that the climate is changing rapidly and we also have to change with that," he continued. "We can not go back to '' business as usual, '' when this emergency passes. We can not solve today's problems with solutions from yesterday. We need long-term and sustainable solutions in a context of increasing frequency and severity of climate events such as El Niño. "

Mozambique is one of the countries worst affected by the drought in Africa - food insecurity is expected to increase until 2017. This has caused serious suffering to millions of people, especially the most vulnerable, among them children, women, people with disabilities and those living chronic diseases.

"The drought is pernicious and illusory," added Ambassador Kamau, speaking to reporters in Maputo at the end of his mission. "Unlike floods and cyclones, the trail of the devastation that the droughts leave behind can last for years. Some districts in Mozambique have not had rains in three years. "

Mozambique has declared a 90-day institutional red alert for its central and southern regions. At the regional level, SADC officially declared a regional disaster due to drought and launched a Regional Appeal for Humanitarian and Recovery Support in the order of 2.4 billion dollars, covering Six Member Countries (Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, Swaziland and Zimbabwe).

On 27 October, the Special Envoy traveled to the Magude District in Maputo Province to meet with people affected by El Niño to perceive and assess the situation, including the need for immediate and long-term response actions.

"Our visit to Magude district was a real awakening," said Ambassador Kamau. "This was a real destination on our long trip here. We saw stretches of land, carcasses of animals and desolate people. People are suffering from lack of water and food, lack of education and lack of prospects. We have to do better for them. "

The Special Envoy of the United Nations Secretary-General for El Niño & Climate, Ambassador Macharia Kamau, visited Mozambique this week to highlight the urgent needs of 1.5 million people affected by the El Niño-related drought.

Ambassador Kamau visited drought-affected communities, interacted with humanitarian and development partners, was received by local authorities including Mozambique President Filipe Nyusi, the Minister of Public Works, the Director of the National Disaster Management Institute (INGC),   representatives of United Nations agencies and to discuss and evaluate the devastating effects of recent El Niño climate events in Mozambique.

"Humanitarian assistance needs to be urgently expanded and we need to have robust plans to reach those who are in need," said Ambassador Kamau. "We need more than $ 200 million for the immediate response, but only 57% of that figure is guaranteed. We need more in order to provide food, water, health care, nutrition and other emergency services for Mozambicans. "

"But we have to understand that the climate is changing rapidly and we also have to change with that," he continued. "We can not go back to '' business as usual, '' when this emergency passes. We can not solve today's problems with solutions from yesterday. We need long-term and sustainable solutions in a context of increasing frequency and severity of climate events such as El Niño. "

Mozambique is one of the countries worst affected by the drought in Africa - food insecurity is expected to increase until 2017. This has caused serious suffering to millions of people, especially the most vulnerable, among them children, women, people with disabilities and those living chronic diseases.

"The drought is pernicious and illusory," added Ambassador Kamau, speaking to reporters in Maputo at the end of his mission. "Unlike floods and cyclones, the trail of the devastation that the droughts leave behind can last for years. Some districts in Mozambique have not had rains in three years. "

Mozambique has declared a 90-day institutional red alert for its central and southern regions. At the regional level, SADC officially declared a regional disaster due to drought and launched a Regional Appeal for Humanitarian and Recovery Support in the order of 2.4 billion dollars, covering Six Member Countries (Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, Swaziland and Zimbabwe).

On 27 October, the Special Envoy traveled to the Magude District in Maputo Province to meet with people affected by El Niño to perceive and assess the situation, including the need for immediate and long-term response actions.

"Our visit to Magude district was a real awakening," said Ambassador Kamau. "This was a real destination on our long trip here. We saw stretches of land, carcasses of animals and desolate people. People are suffering from lack of water and food, lack of education and lack of prospects. We have to do better for them. "