Threats to life and infrastructure in Mozambique from Cyclone Gombe

WaterAid is gravely concerned about the impact Cyclone Gombe might have on vulnerable communities in Northern Mozambique. The cyclone could be the most serious of this year's storm season to hit the country which is still reeling from Storm Ana five weeks ago. WaterAid personnel have just been in the province of Zambezia working with partners to assess the extent of the damage from that storm to water, sanitation and hygiene infrastructure.

Cyclone Gombe has made landfall today (Friday March 11th) with torrential rain and predicted wind speeds of up to 160kmph. It already passed over Madagascar as a weaker tropical storm but strengthened into a cyclone over the Mozambique Channel.

WaterAid is deeply concerned about the impact Cyclone Gombe could have on already vulnerable communities in Northern Mozambique, particularly on their water and sanitation infrastructure which is essential for the prevention of disease following floods.

Adam Garley, WaterAid Mozambique Country Director, said:

"We are extremely worried that Cyclone Gombe will cost more lives and will cause damage to vital infrastructure for years to come. It's high time to support vulnerable communities like these on the frontline of the climate crisis to face the impact of erratic weather. Safe water, sanitation and hygiene are the basis of all human life, and we need to make sure people have access to it, no matter what the climate does."

Elijah Adera, WaterAid Regional Programme Manager for southern Africa, said:

"It is difficult to forecast the damage this cyclone will do, but bearing in mind the impact of recent storms like Ana, and cyclones Idai and Kenneth in 2019, it's vital to prepare and also to ensure water and sanitation facilities can withstand impact. The first thing people need after a disaster like this are food, shelter and clean, safe water to survive, including sanitation facilities to prevent outbreak of diseases. This should be a key part of all adaptation measures in communities that are vulnerable to climate change."


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Notes to Editors:


WaterAid is working to make clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene normal for everyone, everywhere within a generation. The international not-for-profit organisation works in 28 countries to change the lives of the poorest and most marginalised people. Since 1981, WaterAid has reached 28 million people with clean water and nearly 29 million people with decent toilets. For more information, visit, follow @WaterAidUK or @WaterAidPress on Twitter, or find WaterAid UK on Facebook at

  • 771 million people in the world -- one in ten -- do not have clean water close to home.[1]
  • 1.7 billion people in the world -- more than one in five -- do not have a decent toilet of their own.[2]
  • Around 290,000 children under five die every year from diarrhoeal diseases caused by poor water and sanitation. That's more than 800 children a day, or one child every two minutes.[3]
  • Every £1 invested in water and toilets returns an average of £4 in increased productivity.[4]

Just £15 can provide one person with clean water.[5]

[1] WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) Progress on drinking water, sanitation and hygiene: 2017 update and SDG Baselines

[2] WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) Progress on drinking water, sanitation and hygiene: 2017 update and SDG Baselines

[3] Prüss-Ustün et al. (2014) and The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (2018)

[4] World Health organization (2012) Global costs and benefits of drinking-water supply and sanitation interventions to reach the MDG target and universal coverage