Death, destruction and displacements due to cyclones are not uncommon in the Indian Ocean countries. What is worrying, of late, is the growing intensity.
When cyclone Enawo hit Madagascar in March 2017, Mr Getachew Taa, Head of the Country Cluster Support Team for East Africa and Indian Ocean for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said: “Tropical Cyclones are not unusual for Madagascar at this time of year. However, the severity of Enawo is troubling.”
Alongside this increasing severity, there are two additional challenges: global humanitarian funding is dwindling, and the level of disaster preparedness is not yet optimal.
To help redress this situation, IFRC President Tadateru Konoé travelled to Comoros from 24 to 26 September 2017, to reiterate the message of strengthening preparedness and local fundraising.
“More efforts should be made to boost domestic resource mobilization, building community resilience, and country-level policy dialogue between governments and local actors such as National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies,” said Mr Konoé in Comoros, where he also met leaders of the National Red Cross Societies of Mauritius, Seychelles and Madagascar.
He noted that the devastating humanitarian and economic impact of natural disasters in the Indian Ocean countries will only worsen with time without increased investments in resilience and preparedness.
Thousands of lives in the Union of Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius and Seychelles remain at risk due to the sub-region’s increasing vulnerability to natural disasters, including cyclones, floods, earthquakes and tsunamis.
Comoros Red Crescent is the youngest National Society in the sub-region. It however has a relatively big grassroot network of more than 8,000 volunteers. The Society also enjoys a lot of goodwill from the government, as confirmed during Mr Konoé’s meeting with senior government officials including Mr Moustadroine Abdou, the Vice President of the Comoros for Agriculture, Fishing, Environment, Spatial Planning and Urbanism.
Mr Konoé’s visit comes weeks before the end of his mandate as IFRC President. “I am finishing my term as the IFRC President shortly, but I am happy to make this long-pending visit to this sub-region,” he said during the visit. “This mission [including the one he conducted to Lesotho in the same week] is my last as IFRC’s President, but will certainly be one of my best and I will cherish it forever.”