Somali Magazine September 15, 2023-A meeting was held at the central office of the National Disaster Management Agency (SoDMA) in Mogadishu, where various stakeholders discussed the potential impact and mitigation measures of the El-Nino disaster, which is expected to hit some parts of the country with severe storms and droughts. The meeting was attended by officials from different ministries, partner organizations, civil society and women’s groups.
The Chairman of SoDMA, Mahmoud Ma’allin Abdulle, welcomed the participants and thanked them for their cooperation and support. He said that the El-Nino phenomenon is a global challenge that requires collective action and coordination among all actors. He urged the participants to share their views and suggestions on how to prepare and respond to the disaster effectively.
The Minister of Education, Farah Sheikh Abdulqaadir, said that the education sector is one of the most vulnerable to the effects of the El-Nino disaster, as many schools and students could be affected by floods, landslides, displacement and disruption of learning. He said that his ministry is working on contingency plans and emergency education programs to ensure that children’s right to education is protected and promoted.
The Minister of Health, Dr. Ali Haji Adan, said that the health sector is also facing a high risk of outbreaks of diseases such as cholera, malaria, measles and malnutrition due to the El-Nino disaster. He said that his ministry is strengthening its surveillance and response systems and mobilizing resources and partners to provide health services and supplies to the affected populations.
The State Minister of the Prime Minister’s Office Hirsi Jaama Gaani, said that the government is committed to providing leadership and guidance to all stakeholders in addressing the El-Nino disaster. He said that the government has established a national task force and a coordination mechanism to oversee and monitor the situation and the response activities. He also called for more support and assistance from the international community and donors to help Somalia cope with the disaster.
Sheikh Bashiir Ahmed Salaad, a representative from civil society, said that civil society organizations are playing a vital role in raising awareness and mobilizing communities to prepare and respond to the El-Nino disaster. He said that civil society organizations are working closely with SoDMA and other partners to provide humanitarian assistance and advocacy to the affected people.
A representative from women’s organizations said that women are among the most affected by the El-Nino disaster, as they bear the burden of caring for their families and communities. She said that women’s organizations are advocating for gender-sensitive approaches and interventions in addressing the El-Nino disaster. She also emphasized the need for women’s participation and representation in decision-making processes and structures related to disaster management.
The Director of the National Emergency Response Centre (NEOC), Hassan Cabdulqaadir Ise, presented a brief report on the current situation and outlook of the El-Nino disaster in Somalia. He said that according to meteorological forecasts, Somalia is likely to experience above-normal rainfall in some regions and below-normal rainfall in others during October-December 2023. He said that this could result in floods, landslides, displacement, crop failure, livestock loss, water scarcity, food insecurity, conflict and human suffering. He also shared some of the preparedness and response actions that SoDMA and NEOC are undertaking in collaboration with other partners.
The meeting concluded with a discussion on the challenges and opportunities in preparing and responding to the El-Nino disaster. The participants agreed on some key recommendations and action points, such as:
- Strengthening information sharing and coordination among all stakeholders at national and sub-national levels.
- Developing contingency plans and emergency response plans for each sector and region.
- Mobilizing resources and capacities for preparedness and response activities.
- Enhancing community resilience and coping mechanisms through awareness raising, early warning, risk reduction and livelihood support.
- Advocating for more humanitarian assistance and protection for the affected people.
- Monitoring and evaluating the situation and the response activities regularly.
The meeting was part of a series of consultations that SoDMA is conducting with different stakeholders to enhance Somalia’s preparedness and readiness for the El-Nino disaster.