Navigating the climate crisis: Insights from Beira

07 Jun, 2024 - 00:06 0 Views
Navigating the climate  crisis: Insights from Beira Prone to severe flooding exacerbated by climate change, this Mozambican coastal city faces heightened risks for its most vulnerable residents.

eBusiness Weekly

In 2019, Mozambique was ranked the most climate-vulnerable country by the Global Climate Risk Index.

That same year, tropical Cyclone Idai claimed over 600 lives, displaced 16 000 residents, and damaged 70 percent of homes, with the poorest neighbourhoods bearing the brunt of the devastation.

Idai was succeeded by Cyclone Chalane (2020-21) and Cyclone Eloise (2021), leaving the city of Beira with insufficient time to recover before encountering subsequent impacts. More concerning is that these events are expected to increase in the coming years.

Situated at the confluence of two major rivers and a rising ocean, the low-lying city of Beira is one of the world’s most vulnerable.

Prone to severe flooding exacerbated by climate change, this Mozambican coastal city faces heightened risks for its most vulnerable residents.

Flooding intensifies during cyclone events. Yet, amidst these challenges, the people of Beira exemplify considerable resilience.

Take Emilia — a local mother and subsistence farmer. On a typical day, between caring for her children and crops and collecting water, Emilia clears debris that the Indian Ocean winds have blown across her land.

Her family’s house, built from sugarcane stalks and a plastic tarp, stands fragile against the elements and is encircled by one meter-deep ditches that serve as drainage channels.

When rainwater fills these, signalling potential flooding, Emilia evacuates her family to the Mungassa District school, which is the nearest pre-relocation centre.

Many Beirense have adopted such measures as a response to extreme weather events and have taken responsibility for what they can to strengthen their resilience.

Who is responsible?

Local authorities in Beira have the dual responsibility of helping to implement climate security for an exposed population, and navigate the various approaches to disaster management introduced by international partners.

Despite established community structures providing resilient subsistence services, losses and damages often remain uncompensated, and post-disaster aid can be sporadic, leaving the city isolated amidst climate-related events.

Building resilience to adapt to this exposure requires the international community to localise climate action. When cyclone Idai hit, assistance could not reach the city for several days, leaving the population without electricity for weeks.

Months later, the Mozambique Humanitarian Response Plan reported that over half a million people were still residing in destroyed or structurally damaged homes and makeshift shelters.

In the aftermath of such extreme weather events, vulnerable groups face risks that locally-driven aid can address, including infectious diseases, sexual exploitation, child labour, gender-based violence in shelters, and inadequate healthcare for pregnant women, individuals living with HIV, or those with disabilities. —

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