Cyclone Eloise shatters Mozambique’s progress to recover from 2019 storms
By Chloé Farand
Nearly two years after it was hit by devastating cyclones, debt-ridden Mozambique’s recovery effort is backsliding as it is battered by another powerful tropical storm.
More than 250,000 people are estimated to have been affected by cyclone Eloise, which made landfall on 23 January in the central Sofala province, according to the UN.
Humanitarian and development agencies have worked to rebuild this central region from the devastation caused by cyclone Idai two years ago. The tropical storm killed over 1,000 people and destroyed more than 100,000 homes when it swept through Mozambique in March 2019. Nearly 100,000 people were still waiting to be resettled when cyclone Eloise struck, according to the Red Cross.
Food vouchers and financial support to buy farming equipment and fishing nets were still being delivered to help thousands of people rebuild their livelihoods.
Climate projections in the region point to an increase in the intensity of heavy rainfall across the country. Jennifer Fitchett, from the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa, told Climate Home that the South Indian Ocean had seen an increase in high intensity storms – a trend, she said, linked to climate change.
“And climate change is likely to continue to heighten the probability of higher intensity tropical storms,” she added.
The lack of funds in the first place hindered efforts, said Marie David, acting assistant country director for Care International in Mozambique. Funds have been made available for less than half of the humanitarian response needed, she said, adding that a lot more money is needed to build resilience in the long-term.