Tropical Cyclone Idai impacts Mozambique

German Red Cross supports the population with innovative disaster risk finance

Tropical cyclone Idai is hitting the Mozambique coast as of Thursday, March 14th, evening of local time. This system has sustained core wind speeds of 180km/h (100kts) and gusts up to 230 km/h (125kts), with a core pressure of 950 hpa (INAM and JTWC). The system is making landfall close to Mozambique’s third largest city, Beira. The Mozambique Red Cross (CVM) estimates more than one hundred thousand persons at risk. As part of the Forcast-based Financing project, the German Red Cross (GRC) supports the CVM, civil disaster authorities and the population in their preparations to deal with the cyclone’s impact.

During the past days, staff of the Mozambique FbF project and CVM-volunteers have been very busy disseminating warnings and reaching out to vulnerable populations even in remote areas. This helps the local population prepare for the cyclone and get themselves and their belongings to safety. For this case, and to enable their way to remote communities even in adverse weather, the Red Cross had already equipped volunteers with bicycles, rubber boots, rain coats, megaphones, as well as first aid kits more than a year ago.

The FbF-project in Mozambique has helped to transport goods for humanitarian assistance in the areas that will likely be hit the most. Goods include water purification tablets to keep drinkable water available after the cyclone has passed. In the provinces Sofala and Zambezia, which are forecast to be hit hardest, support is also provided to strengthening houses.

Mozambique is regularly hit by tropical cyclones, and is among the countries most vulnerable to extreme weather events. In 2007, tropical cyclone Flavio destroyed 130,000 buildings. The majority of Mozambique’s population lives along river basins or the coastline, which measures more than 2700 km in legth. Low-income and poverty in Mozambique mean that dwellings and built infrastructure are particularly vulnerable to the effects of tropical cyclones. Cyclone impacts include damage from strong winds and flooding, caused by both sea surge and heavy rain.

Forecast-based Financing assists this project by automatically allocating financial resources towards the mitigation of an extreme weather impacts, as soon as a pre-defined trigger value (wind speed) is exceeded. In the case of cyclone Idai it has been evident since the beginning of the week that this would be the case. The German Red Cross, the Mozambique Red Cross and local authorities have developed an Early Action Protocol, which defines what to do in exceedance of the trigger. This pilot project is part of the Package for humanitarian adaptation to climate change, funded by the German Foreign Office and coordinated by the German Red Cross.

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Update: Flickr Photos