Mozambique + 3 more

GDO Analytical Report: Drought in Mozambique and neighbouring countries - July 2020


Executive Summary

  • At the beginning of the dry season, northern Mozambique, surroundings of Lake Malawi and western Madagascar show a marked precipitation deficit, cumulated primarily in the second half of the wet season (February-April). The strong seasonality of rainfall now entails a sequence of three to four months without rain.

  • No major impacts were reported in relation to this specific event, mostly thanks to the late onset of drought in the agricultural season, but mild to severe food insecurity affects endemically the countries involved, and severe natural disasters are frequent in that part of Africa. Indeed, 2019 saw a historical cyclone (Idai) and a dry spell, so even minor events may cause distress during the current recovery stage.

  • The outlook at six months shows a very wet start of the next rainy season (October/November), but no significant precipitation is forecasted until then.

Risk of drought impact for agriculture (RDrI-Agri)

The indicator RDrI-Agri shows the risk of having impacts from a drought, by considering the exposure and socio-economic vulnerability of the area, with focus to the agricultural impacts (Figure 1).

Mozambique is one of the African countries most exposed to climate risks, ranging from floods and intense tropical cyclones to droughts. In addition, the vulnerability of population is very high, due to poverty and lack of coping capacity at scale1 . Drought hits more frequently the centre and south of the country, but the high rainfall seasonality is common to the north and exposes it to severe droughts too. Neighboring Malawi and Zimbabwe experience similar climatic extremes and population vulnerability. Both countries had socio-economic downturns in 2019 and 2020 and, like Mozambique and Madagascar, were hit in 2019 by the tropical cyclones Idai and Kenneth. The former had historic proportions and a devastating impact on population, infrastructures and built-up areas. Even though Zimbabwe and western Madagascar currently display low to no risk of drought impact, the events of 2019 and 2020 (COVID pandemic) add potential for a worsening of the situation.