Donors Give Mozambique Less Than Half of What's Needed for Cyclone Recovery

The damage after Cyclone Kenneth hit the city of Pemba in Mozambique May 1, 2019.
The damage after Cyclone Kenneth hit the city of Pemba in Mozambique May 1, 2019.
Photo: AP

When Cyclone Idai slammed into the African nation of Mozambique in March, the world knew recovery would be an uphill struggle. Then, just a month later, Cyclone Kenneth came roaring through with speeds reaching 174 miles per hour. Recovery from the twin cyclones is going to be a costly, uphill struggle.


The country is in need of international assistance, and some donors at least are coming through. At an international conference in Beira, donors from around the world promised to donate $1.2 billion to recovery efforts. That’s less than half of the $3.2 billion the country actually needs to properly reconstruct, according to the United Nations Development Program.

“The important point coming out of this conference is that this recovery needs to be resilient,” said Noura Hamladji, the Africa Bureau regional director for the U.N. program, in a release. “Mozambique is prone to climate change disasters, and those cyclones were not a one-time event, unfortunately, and the probability of these disasters reoccurring, many times in the future, is very high.”

A resilient recovery will require building energy infrastructure that won’t go dark during future storms, which Norway is helping fund. The country also is developing a Disaster Management Fund with the support of the World Bank so that it can respond quickly to disasters like these and have money to prepare for them before they hit.

The United Nations Central Emergency Fund has given the country $24 million, but Mozambique suffered incredible damage. Idai left more than 1,000 people dead and both storms washed out roads and other infrastructure. The people of Mozambique need more funds to rebuild bridges, health facilities, and schools. Hundreds of thousands of acres of crops were ruined, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Nearly 24,000 homes were damaged and destroyed. And that’s only in Mozambique. Other countries like Zimbabwe and Malawi also experienced widespread death and damage from flood and rains from Cyclone Idai. Some communities remain displaced and in need of food and shelter.

The Mozambique government wants to be careful to rebuild with climate change in mind so that next time an intense cyclone hits, the infrastructure is resilient—and people are, too.


Yessenia Funes is climate editor at Atmos Magazine. She loves Earther forever.