Mozambique looks beyond Cyclone Idai to better protection in the future
By Amy Yee
The human toll of natural disasters is expected to increase as Africa’s population swells, especially in cities, leaving denser communities vulnerable to widespread destruction.
“Urbanization is a major driver of risk on this continent,” said Michel Matera, senior urban specialist at the World Bank based in Maputo, the capital.
In Beira, Cyclone Idai’s strong winds were more destructive than the floodwaters. Wind destroyed everything from houses to schools, hospitals and factories, Mr. Simango said. “The wind damage was way beyond anything ever experienced in Beira before,” said Ben Lamoree, a Dutch consultant who leads Beira’s post-cyclone recovery task force. Wind damage “was the real catastrophe, while the limited flooding was probably experienced as ‘normal.’”
New buildings that can withstand winds up to 150 miles an hour are being discussed with the United Nations Human Settlements Program (U.N.-Habitat) and other humanitarian agencies. That and many other issues will be on the agenda during a donors’ conference in Mozambique at the end of May, as part of a larger recovery plan.
Mozambique has also started other adaptation measures. With support from the United Nations Development Program, the country carried out a pilot program from 2012 to 2017 that improved meteorological monitoring and climate data collection. Under the program, local disaster management committees were formed in towns to organize early warning and evacuation systems.