Floods Killed 2,000 Africans In 2022, FAO Advises New Management Approach

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News in brief: The FAO urges governments worldwide to adopt new flood management approaches due to the significant loss of life and property caused by floods last year. It emphasised the agricultural sector’s potential role in flood management and highlighted the benefits of working with natural water processes.

In a press release, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations advised governments around the world to adopt new approaches to better manage floods. The release is a brief of the 43rd session of the FAO Conference.

The organisation said that 2,000 Africans and 1,700 Pakistanis lost their lives in flooding incidents in 2022. For Pakistan, the results were devastating as floods rendered about 8 million people homeless and nearly one-third of the country was under water.

While flooding is a natural disaster that affects all sectors when it happens, the agricultural sector can play a key role in its management because of its position as consumer of 70% of global freshwater resources.

FAO Director-General, QU Dongyu, advised government and industry representatives during a roundtable to work ‘with’ natural water processes instead of against it. He gave an example of how Vietnam fish farmers turned flooding to an asset by trapping trash fish caught when it flooded and feeding them to cultured fish. By doing this, the country enhanced its food security, Dongyu said.

As part of the “Integrated Flood Risk Management” discussion, the international food organisation presented a Technical Report on Integrated Flood Risk Management. The report says that better approaches to flood management include: managing and reducing exposure to flood hazards, reducing vulnerability and building coping capacity, reducing flood impacts on those exposed, and managing flood risks through better governance.

Agriculture ministers from South Africa, Yemen, Zimbabwe, and Finland all mentioned the importance of early warning systems in flood management. Countries lacking these systems will be more exposed to hazards than countries who have them optimised. FAO Deputy Director-General Maria Helena Semedo said that it is more economically beneficial to take anticipatory action before flooding than interventions after.

Obinna Onwuasoanya
Obinna Onwuasoanya
Obinna Onwuasoanya is a tech reporter of over five years, fiction writer, SEO expert and an editor. He is based in Lagos, Nigeria, and was previously shortlisted for the Writivism Short Story Prize 2018.

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