- The development of better meteorological services are crucial for Africa's development and its fight against poverty, considering its vulnerability to climate change, variability and extreme weather events, a conference of finance and economy meeting in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa was told.
Michel Jarraud, the Secretary General of the United Nations World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) believed that “African National Meteorological and Hydrological Services must be seen as actors of development."
“They have an important role to play in regional and international action plans, particularly with regard to evaluating and monitoring the environment, preparing for natural hazards, agricultural production, water resources and, particularly, climate change,” he said.
Many African countries are vulnerable to meteorological and hydrological disasters such as drought, flooding, cyclones, among others, resulting to lost of life, property, crops and cause water shortages.
Countries have been urged to invest in the development of observational capacities of their national meteorological and hydrological services, improve weather forecasts and early warnings of imminent natural hazards.
In reality, Mr. Jarraud added, African meteorological services at the moment are not capable of performing these critical functions.
“Serious gaps still exist in observation networks, often due to instrument and systems failure, as well as the high costs of operation and maintenance," he said.
“Leaders can promote this by investing in and developing methods that can assess the socio-economic advantages of national meteorological and hydrological weather services."
In February, Mozambique and Madagascar were struck by heavy cyclones, which took great toll on life and property.
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