Senegal: The African Union recently established the African Risk Capacity (ARC) Secretariat, a specialised agency whose main goals are to reduce disaster risk of droughts, floods, earthquakes and cyclones; and to lessen hunger and food crisis in the African countries hit by drought. The experts will use satellite weather surveillance technology and software developed by the UN World Food Programme for this purpose.
Senegal has a pioneering status in this project; its government organised a technical workshop last July to educate stakeholders about risk modeling and the use of satellite-based information. Abdou Sané, UNISDR Parliamentary Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and member of Parliament from Senegal acclaimed the creation of the ARC.
During the time of disasters, African governments have relied on international emergency aid which ARC says commonly arrives between three to six months after the onset of the crisis.
The ARC project will allow African Union countries to estimate the total cost of intervention well before the start of the lean season, automatically triggering the disbursement of funds to the government within two to four weeks after drought is detected.
In addition to providing quick-disbursing funds, “ARC will assist participating countries to build capacities for risk management, developing and approving contingency plans as well as monitoring the use of ARC payouts,” said Secretary General of the African Union, Jean Ping.