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EALA calls for emergency fund for flood victims

By: Martin Manyiel Wugol in Kampala.

The East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) has urged the East African Community Council of Ministers to urgently establish an emergency response fund to assist victims of floods and other environmental disasters.

The motion was moved by Kim Gai Ruot, a member of parliament representing South Sudan at EALA and seconded by Paul Musam. The motion was moved under articles 49 (2), and 59(1) of the treaty and rule of procedure of the EALA. The assembly was expected to discuss the motion yesterday.

In 2011 the Council of Ministers adopted the East African Community Climate Change Policy so as to address the adverse effects of climatic change and provide strategies remedy including the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Strategy.

However, in 2013, the Assembly passed the East African Community Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Bill, to provide a framework for intervention and assistance to persons affected by natural disaster but since then the Bill has never been assented into Law.

Kim Gai Ruot told Juba Monitor that there was urgent need to prioritize this very essential motion which can promote programs of reforestation and forestation within the region. He urged the leaders and the civil society to create awareness among citizens and oil companies that climatic change is real and threatening the lives of people.

Now the house has urged the member states to quickly find solution to the lack of a special disaster management fund which was proposed to be established by the Bill for supporting victims and activities related to disaster risk reduction and management.

The EALA noted that natural disasters such as drought and flooding need robust early warning system and emergency response to protect lives of people in the event of disasters.

“Further the delays by the council of ministers in presenting the climate change Bill to the assembly for debate and enactment is constraining and frustrating the efforts of the community to deal with the adverse effects of climate change and adversely affecting the livelihoods of our people and the environment,” the statement read in part.

In recognising that under article 49(2) (d) of the treaty, the assembly may discuss any matter pertaining to the community and make recommendations to the council as appropriate.

The assembly has passed the following resolutions:

In accordance with article 49 (2) (d) of the treaty, the Assembly recommends to the council of ministers of East African Community-to urgently establish a special Disaster Management Emergency Fund to facilitate and support victims of drought, floods and other environmental disasters in the challenging the peace and tranquility of the community.

To immediately expedite the development of the climate change bill and introduce it in the Assembly for debate and enactment as soon as possible as matter of urgent need.

To establish and strengthen the early warning system for flooding, drought and other environmental disasters affecting the existence of the East African Community.

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