Published: 23 March 2009
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the African Centre of Meteorological Application for Development (ACMAD) signed a cooperation agreement on 23 March 2009, which is World Meteorological Day. This agreement - the first of its kind in sub-Saharan Africa between a humanitarian organization and a meteorological institute - will permit the design and implementation of better supported development projects for risk prevention in relation to disasters such as floods, droughts and cyclones.
“The emergency operations that have characterized the assistance we provide for many decades are no longer enough today. Our action must now promote the development of a prevention culture and partnerships at all levels,” explains Alasan Senghore, head of the IFRC’s West and Central Africa zone office in Dakar.
With the technological advances achieved in the area of climatology and hydrology, it is now possible to forecast disasters and reduce their impact. It is to this end that ACMAD and the IFRC have decided to form a partnership by means of a cooperation agreement.
“The meteorological information will enable us to give the population an early warning when a disaster occurs, reduce the impact of disasters at the community level and save lives,” remarks Youcef Ait-Chellouche, disaster management coordinator at the West and Central Africa zone office. In 2008, the IFRC launched an appeal for the first time for funds to prepare for floods in West and Central Africa. This measure aimed to reduce the impact of unusually heavy rainfall forecast for the region by weather offices, including ACMAD.
The prepositioning of emergency supplies in Dakar, Accra and Yaoundé and the training of rapid response teams in the light of the weather forecasts played an important role in reducing the impact of damage and losses caused by the heavy rains.