In 2019, Mozambique was hit by two powerful tropical cyclones. First, Cyclone Idai made landfall in March, followed barely one month later by the more powerful Kenneth, the strongest cyclone ever seen in the country’s recorded history. Winds reached as much as 220 km per hour and heavy rains dumped more than 200 mm of water in 24 hours, leaving loss of life and large-scale destruction of assets and infrastructure in their wake.
The toll was devastating. Entire swathes of crops were damaged (nearly 500,000 hectares), and there was severe loss of livestock, exacerbating food insecurity across the area. Many families were separated as they fled the rising flood waters, while others were trapped on high ground, roofs and trees, unable to access basic goods and services for days. Tens of thousands of people were displaced, many having to flee with nothing as the waters rose rapidly.
UNDP and the Government established the Mozambique Recovery Facility (MRF), a five-year programme supported by several Governments, which takes an innovative, integrated approach to balancing early recovery and resilience building. Focused on three core pillars — livelihoods and women’s economic empowerment; housing and community infrastructure and; institutional strengthening of the cabinet for reconstruction post-cyclones -UNDP is attempting to enable the restoration of livelihoods while at the same time building community resilience against future disasters through resilient infrastructure restoration to enable basic service delivery, and ensuring that gender equality and women’s empowerment are adequately addressed.
The contribution of the India-UN Development Partnership Fund has focused on Fund activities under pillar 2, the rehabilitation of the Macomia District Health Centre Complex that includes a maternity ward, public toilet and sanitation facilities, and four staff residences (two each for nurses and for doctors). Specialized facilities include an ophthalmology ward, a tuberculosis and leprosy building, and a mother’s waiting room. The project is also covering the construction of a solar-pump water system and the provision of hospital supplies and equipment.
Rehabilitation of both the sanitary and public toilet facilities and especially the maternity building was the project’s main priority. Following the cyclones, medical staff were handling pregnancies and related surgeries in the open in unsafe and inadequate facilities and without access to lighting and basic medical-care equipment. With their completion, the facilities are now serving 5,000 vulnerable people, with the long-term goal of supporting at least 12,500 people in the surrounding communities. The Fund’s work will continue through October 2023.
By combining the resources from several Governments since 2019, the Mozambique Recovery Facility has already supported more than 250,000 people. This has included direct support to vulnerable households, skills and business training, the recovery and reactivation of micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises and housing, and infrastructure reconstruction and rehabilitation.