Nairobi, 27 October 2021 - The President of the Republic of Kenya H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta inaugurated the first regional Situation Room of the Disaster Operations Center at the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (Ngong Town). The Room was setup by the CIMA Foundation as part of the multi-year program entitled "Establishment of the Impact-based Early Warning for Early Action and Trans-boundary Risk management function of the African Union”. The programme is coordinated by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) in collaboration with the African Union (AU), and is funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation. Through this programme will be established a system monitoring and predicting the evolution of different hazards in the region denominated on an area of 5.2 million square km which includes eight countries of the Great Horn of Africa Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda.
The room will provide fundamental information for managing the risk of disasters to the other centers that will be established at the African Union, the African Center for Meteorological Applications for Development (ACMAD), the meteorological and climatological centers at the Regional Economic Communities, and in the African Union Member Staes. All the rooms will be part of a system be connected through the myDewetra online platform developed through a multi-year collaboration between the Department of the Italian Civil Protection and the CIMA Foundation.
The activities planned in the first year of the programme include the creation of two additional situation rooms that will be inaugurated shortly:
- the Continental Situation Room at the headquarters of the Africa Union Commission in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), with the main function of informing the bodies of the African Union on potentially critical situations at the continental level;
- the ACMAD Multi-Hazard Advisory Center in Niamey (Niger), assigned to continental meteorological surveillance.
The three rooms, connected through the Italian platform "myDEWETRA", will be able to deliver forecast bulletins and emergency reports, such as the "Continental Watch" and the "Situation Report", which have already been rolled out after a testing phase. The Continental Watch was also presented as a "live demo" (sending the bulletin through a dedicated Telegram channel) on 13 October at the Dubai Expo during the "Spotlight on Africa DRR" Conference organized by Africa Union on the occasion of the International Day of Risk reduction (DRR Day).
This complex transnational warning and monitoring system for environmental risk, based on the Italian excellences in the field, is fundamental for a continent like Africa hit by frequent and serious disasters that have had very serious consequences on populations at economic, health, and food safety level. All that was possible thanks to the support of the Italian government, in partnership with the European Union, the Swedish government and the "Risk and Early Warning Systems -CREWS" initiative in synergy with UNDRR and other involved United Nations agencies and institutions in Africa, such as the AU and IGAD. It is the proof that only through close cooperation can lasting and effective results be obtained in the long term.