Rationale and aspects of regional co-operation on natural disaster monitoring in East Africa

Abdel Rahman Khider Hassan
University of Juba, P.O. Box 39670, Nairobi, Kenya. Fax: +254-2-605360,
E-mail: ibrahim@form-net.com

This paper attempts to highlight the importance of regional co-operation in devising frameworks suitable for applying effective systems of disaster warning/mitigation among eight neighboring East African countries, namely Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Somalia, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. These countries share a common geographic position centreed on the equator with similar socio-economic lifestyles and poor economies, which are mainly based on agricultural resources.

The region encounters natural hazards due to meteorological, environmental and geological factors. Episodic heavy torrential rainfall, floods or drought often hit the region and mostly trigger severe famine. Records of other hazards, such as soil degradation, desertification, degradation of the ecosystems and strong earthquakes also pose great threats to the region. Altogether, these factors have to be assessed and closely monitored, otherwise, the situation may lead to dramatic changes in the land use patterns in these countries. Serious regional co-operation and proper assessment of levels of risks and monitoring of the land and natural environments would achieve a multitude of objectives. In view of this approach, joint research, data exchange/integration, information co-ordination, workshops, technical training, etc., are very crucial.

Finally, the general output would obviously boost the economies of the countries involved and strengthen their bilateral relations.