What next for cyclone-hit Mozambique?

2019-05-03 10:38
Aid is loaded onto a World Food Programme (WFP) helicopter to be deliver to Ibo Island and Quissanga in northern Mozambique. (Emidio Josine, AFP)

Aid is loaded onto a World Food Programme (WFP) helicopter to be deliver to Ibo Island and Quissanga in northern Mozambique. (Emidio Josine, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Mozambique is reeling after an unprecedented two cyclones swept ashore within six weeks, wreaking havoc and leaving hundreds dead and tens of thousands displaced.

As relief efforts continue, Birgit Holm, director of the Mozambican non-governmental development organisation ADPP, discusses the impoverished southern African country's next steps on the road to recovery following Cyclones Idai and Kenneth:

What impact did the cyclones have?

"They have had a very big impact, obviously." Though the first storm was much bigger than the second, "that didn't make the second one any better", said Holm, who has almost four decades of experience in Mozambique with ADPP.

"We have a situation in several provinces where schools have been destroyed and health clinics have been destroyed – bridges, roads too. In general these two cyclones have destroyed a lot, affecting more than two million people in all.

"It sets back Mozambique, already a country which is very poor and with many different problems, so this has just been disastrous."

What needs to be done?

"The big need is for those with some means and some funding to go in and rehabilitate all the infrastructure that was destroyed. Because so many people also lost their homes and livelihoods, (but) it's not only a question of infrastructure," said Holm.

"It's also about giving input to the people – a lot of it will be agricultural inputs because a great number of the population are working in agriculture. That part really needs a lot of emphasis so they can get tools and seeds."

What does the future hold?

"In the future, this (kind of weather) is going to increase. I don't think anybody is in any doubt about that," said Holm.

"The fact that the two cyclones came within six weeks, it's never happened – ever. And the size of these cyclones and the fact they were so big because of the very high temperatures in the sea, that is not going to be different in the future. It's going to be worse.

"We need to look into how buildings can be reinforced and built to be more resilient. How small-scale farmers can learn to use new techniques, whether it's (to mitigate) droughts or floods.

For several years in Mozambique, "we've had drought in the south, and people are suffering from that. Then we have floods in the centre and the north. So all these things have to be thought of in a different way from before.

"There has been years and years of work about mitigating climate change – but it just has to be even more than before... so the population can be prepared for these situations in the future."

Will the cyclone 'spotlight' help Mozambique?

"It always helps, but you do fear it's just there in the short period of the emergency and then it goes away again," Holm told AFP.

"What I hope, and what I hear from some organisations who have come to the country but never had a presence here before, is that some are thinking about continuing and doing longer-term (projects).

"The government is saying this will take at least five years to rehabilitate and get back to where we were – and where we were was not that high a level. So it's really needed and I hope that the organisations and institutions that have these means will start looking at giving Mozambique the help they need. And not only loans – we don't need more loans."

KEEP UPDATED on the latest news by subscribing to our FREE newsletter.

- FOLLOW News24 on Twitter

Read more on:    mozambique  |  southern africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.