Natural Hazard Risk
Mozambique ranks third among African countries most exposed to multiple weather-related hazards and suffers from periodic cyclones, droughts, floods, and related epidemics. Drought occurs primarily in the southern region, with a frequency of seven droughts for every 10 years. Floods occur every two to three years, with higher levels of risk in the central and southern regions.
In 2015, the onset of flooding and Cyclone Chedza resulted in 140 deaths, the destruction of over 2,300 classrooms, and damages and losses totaling $861 million, or five percent of GDP, as estimated by a rapid needs assessment supported by the ACP-EU Natural Disaster Risk Reduction Program. Response to the crisis placed additional and unexpected pressure on public finances, further exacerbating an upward debt trajectory.
According to a number of studies, climate change is likely to worsen current climate variability, leading to more intense droughts, unpredictable rains, floods and uncontrolled fires. Mozambique was greatly affected by upstream river use in the Zambezi and the construction of the Kariba Dam in 1959. Studies and future models predict a 15 percent reduction in the flow of the Zambezi River but a 25 percent increase in the magnitude of large flood peaks along the Limpopo and Save Rivers.
The Government of Mozambique has taken significant steps to advance disaster risk management (DRM) and improve climate resilience. These include:
- Establishing a governance framework for disaster risk reduction both nationally and locally after the 2000 floods;
- Developing a National Master Plan for DRM (2006-2014) that is currently being updated and remains a key operational reference; and
- Enacting the DRM Law (2014) which empowers local governments, municipalities, communities, and stakeholders as champions for DRM.
To further advance the DRM agenda, priorities include:
- Strengthening the capacity of the National Disaster Management Institute (INGC);
- Developing risk financing mechanisms;
- Developing building codes and comprehensive land-use planning;
- Integrating risk information in development and contingency plans
- Strengthening early warning systems; and,
- Building the resilience of agricultural land and the coastline.
Since 2007, GFDRR has supported the advancement of DRM in Mozambique. Key areas of focus have included helping the Government of Mozambique better understand post-disaster damage and loss, providing high-quality hydrometeorological information for improved decision making, and mitigating against the risks of flooding and cyclones.
Among its activities, GFDRR developed a five-year DRM country plan in 2009 with the UNDP and development partners as a framework for engagements and investments. In line with the country plan, GFDRR has supported the rehabilitation of weather radars for improved early warning systems, as well as the development of high-resolution maps and a decision support system to enhance spatial flood management in the Limpopo basin. The GFDRR Hydromet Program, in coordination with WMO and other partners, is currently providing additional technical expertise to modernize early warning systems and increase the uptake of weather and climate information.
Following severe flooding in 2013 and 2015, GFDRR supported needs assessments that helped the Government of Mozambique estimate damage and loss. In 2013, these assessments resulted in the World Bank earmarking an additional $70 million for rehabilitation and recovery. GFDRR also helped communities rebuild their livelihoods by repairing essential roads. In 2015, over 520 kilometers of roads were rehabilitated. The 2015 impact assessment informed a $40 million World Bank project for emergency resilient recovery that is currently being implemented. The project will rehabilitate or reconstruct key dikes, weirs, irrigation systems, drinking water infrastructure, and schools so that they meet resilient standards based on GFDRR-supported assessment recommendations.
GFDRR, in coordination with the World Bank, UN-Habitat, and other partners, is also facilitating efforts to improve the safety of Mozambique’s school infrastructure in order to ensure that facilities remain operational when disasters strike. To date, the team has completed a risk assessment of over 600 schools; produced a tailor-made catalog of hazard-resistant school construction options; and developed a national plan for updating the country’s building codes and access to risk information. With financial support from the World Bank and other donors, the government is in the process of constructing 950 classrooms compliant with disaster resilient guidelines. It plans to scale-up these efforts and construct 30,000 more classrooms.
GFDRR anticipates continued demand to:
- Integrate DRM and climate change adaptation into district development plans;
- Enhance capacity for emergency management, coordination, communications and response;
- Strengthen hydromet systems;
- Promote community-based DRM;
- Develop disaster risk financing mechanisms; and,
- Establish web-based data management platforms for INGC to improve preparedness for disaster response and resilience.