By Bahle Gama
The government of Eswatini has committed E8 million towards the country’s Cyclone Readiness Plan in preparation for Cyclone Freddy.
Following reports of Cyclone Freddy wreaking havoc in Madagascar whilst making its way to the Southern parts of Africa, the country has seen fit to ensure that it is prepared for when the cyclone hits land.
The plan has allowed National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) to be on high alert through prepositioning of response materials and mobilising resources for a comprehensive response.
Speaking during a press conference, deputy Deputy Prime Minister Themba Masuku stated that the government has committed the aforementioned amount towards the damages incurred from the ongoing rains and those anticipated this coming weekend.
“To this end, His Majesty’s government has committed E8 million to cater for the current damage and potential challenges expected from Cyclone Freddy in the event it hits the country,” said Masuku.
He stated that to ensure adequate response, the government through the NDMA and stakeholders, has activated different sectors as per the disaster management act of 2006, these being agriculture and food security, education, water sanitation, and hygiene, health and nutrition, early warning, social protection, environment, and energy, shelter and camp co-ordinationation, emergency ICT and security.
“In this regard, I hereby request PS and HOD, UN agencies to be actively involved in the preparedness planning for this cyclone and work with the NDMA to ensure that emaSwati are safe from this impending threat,” he said.
He further stated that as a result of the cyclone, the ongoing rains in the country have significantly disrupted services as emaSwati found it difficult to access services in the different sectors and the government through the NDMA continues to respond to these damages to ensure that normalcy is restored in the country.
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“Whilst responding to the damages caused by the rainfall, latest reports emanating from the African Union hazard early warning system and the SADC disaster reduction centre indicate an impending threat of tropical Cyclone Freddy that is expected to affect parts of the country this coming weekend,” he said.
Having made landfall over Madagascar on February 21, Cyclone Freddy is likely to do the same in Mozambique on Friday and track westward towards Eswatini.
The DPM stated that regular updates and advisories will be constantly issued to all media platforms daily.
“I would also like to advise emaSwati to exercise extreme caution and follow all warnings issued by the country’s authorities,” added Masuku.