GENEVA, Mar 16 (Xinhua) -- The First Conference of Ministers Responsible for Meteorology in Africa will be held in Nairobi from April 12 to 16, and ministers from across the continent will discuss disaster prevention, food security, health issues and climate change, the World Meteorological Organization and the African Union announced on Tuesday.
"This is not just yet another meeting. This is the first ministerial meeting, not only in Africa but also in the world," said Michel Jarraud, WMO's secretary general.
"The African continent is among the world's most vulnerable to these phenomena, so it is paramount that we strengthen the meteorological systems," Jarraud said.
According to Jarraud, the density of the meteorological network in Africa is more than eight times below WMO's recommended standards. Jarraud contended that more instrumentation and better dissemination could improve seasonal forecasts and therefore government responses.
Khadija Rachida Masri, a permanent observer to the African Union, stressed that when it came to natural disasters, " prevention is better than recovery."
Africa has seen increasing variation in weather patterns over the last decade. Kenya, for example, recently emerged from a three- year drought, one of its worst in decades. Flooding last September in Western Africa peaked in Burkina Faso, where 263 mm of rain fell in less than 12 hours, breaking a 90-year old record.