Mozambique is highly exposed and vulnerable to natural hazards and climate variability. Mozambique's extensive coastline is home to over 60 per cent of its population and heightens the country's vulnerability to tropical cyclones and storm surge flooding. It ranks third among African countries exposed to multiplied weather related hazards such as flooding, cyclones and droughts (World Bank, 2019). The country’s vulnerability is exacerbated by poverty and weak institutional development. There is a growing evidence base which demonstrates that disasters are a driver of inequality and poverty disproportionately affecting the poor, who have a limited capacity to cope with shocks. Recent analysis shows that experiencing a cyclone, flood or drought can lead to a drop of up to 25-30 percent in per capita food consumption (Baez et al., 2018). Increased flooding and drought threaten agricultural production which is 97 percent rainfed and employs roughly 75 percent of Mozambique's workforce (World Bank, 2019; USAID, n.d.). Overall, drought causes an estimated loss of US$20 million per year and climate change is expected to exacerbate the impact of shocks (World Bank, 2019). Flooding can also have devastating effects - in 2000 Cyclone Eline losses amounted to 20 percent of the country’s GDP. In 2015-16 Mozambique suffered a severe El Nino-induced drought which led the Government of Mozambique (GoM) to declare a Red Alert, the highest level of national emergency preparedness, in the central and southern provinces (WFP, 2016)1 .
In March and April 2019, Mozambique was struck by two consecutive major cyclones - Cyclone Idai and Cyclone Kenneth respectively. More than 1.7 million people were affected, with damages and losses amounting to US$3 billion and an estimated US$3.4 billion of total cost for recovery and reconstruction (GoM, 2019). Cyclone Idai made landfall in the port city of Beira, Sofala Province, in central Mozambique and caused huge storm surges and extensive flooding. Cyclone Idai hit four of the poorest provinces - Zambezia, Sofala, Tete and Inhambane and destroyed 715, 000 hectares of farmland across the country (Crossley, E. et al. 2021). Cyclone Kenneth, with wind speeds of 220 km/h, was the strongest cyclone on record to make landfall in Africa. Cyclone Kenneth battered the northern provinces of Cabo Delgado and Nampula, around 600 miles north of Idai’s impact zone. Agricultural production for the 2018-2019 main season was already expected to be quite low due to drought conditions in many southern and central areas of the country which coincided with the provinces most affected by cyclone Idai (GoM, 2019). At the same time as Cyclone Idai hit, an ongoing drought was affecting areas of the country. Cyclone Idai did enhance the conversation around early warning systems and impact-based forecasting and act as a catalyst for changes towards preparedness.
At the end of 2020, Tropical Storm Chalane made landfall in Muanza District destroying shelters, and displacing for a second time, over 270 families already living in settlements for survivors of Cyclone Idai where around 90,000 people still reside. On January 23, 2021, large areas of cropland were flooded by Tropical Cyclone (TC) Eloise which made landfall in the Central Sofala province. More than 314,000 people in Sofala and neighboring provinces Manica, the southern part of Zambezia, Inhambane, and Gaza provinces are estimated to have been affected (ACAPS, 2021). TC Eloise also induced flooding in the southern river basin of the Limpopo.
In the province of Cabo Delgado armed conflict continues driving widespread displacement of over 744,000 people (IOM, September 2021) and a rapidly growing humanitarian crisis (OCHA, 2021). In Northern Mozambique, where cyclone Kenneth hit in 2019 making the response more complex nearly 670,000 people are currently displaced, with the insecurity continuing to expand in scale, scope and complexity, pointing to potential further deterioration and additional displacement in 2021 (CARE, 2021) 2 . In the 2021 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) WFP was targeting 527,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). There are now over 740,000 IDPs from Cabo Delgado (IOM, 2021). Cyclone Idai did leave a psychological impact on communities which was reflected in their response to early warnings in response to Tropical Storm Chalane and Cyclone Eloise (GRC KII).
In terms of governance, Mozambique is divided into 11 provinces, the highest administrative division3 . The provinces are further divided into 154 districts and 407 administrative divisions, encompassing smaller localities and aggregated villages (povoações).