Tropical Cyclone Gombe hit northern Mozambique in March, killing dozens of people and affecting almost half a million people nationwide. Communities that we support in Ilha de Moçambique and Mossuril in Nampula province reported multiple fatalities and damage to infrastructure and property due to high winds, heavy rains and flooding.
Through our partner Oikos Cooperação e Desenvolvimento and the National Institute of Management and Disasters (INGD), we supported the emergency response in some of the worst hit areas, where cyclone damage affected the delivery of education and health services.
“We have been helping rebuild a rural school in Cabaceira Pequena of Nampula Province, and in coordination with the Oikos team and authorities, we distributed aid to communities,” said Jamen Mussa, Blue Ventures’ fisheries officer in Mozambique.
The disruption caused by cyclone Gombe shows the increasing need to help vulnerable coastal communities become more resilient to climate shocks, including frequent tropical storms in the Mozambique Channel.
Three cyclones and two tropical storms hit Madagascar between January and March this year, affecting more than 900,000 people and causing numerous fatalities, widespread damage and displacement. The damage worsened a severe hunger crisis following two years of drought in the island nation, where most people depend on the land and sea to eat and make a living. In many already poor coastal communities, cyclone damage has destroyed infrastructure and development progress. Our recent research also shows the devastating impact of tropical cyclones on coral reefs in Madagascar.
Western Indian Ocean researchers recently gave stark warnings about the Mozambique channel warming faster than any other ocean, and an impending disaster for food security, livelihoods and marine life that could lead to widespread starvation in the region by 2035.
Extreme weather events can undo development gains overnight, and their increasing severity and frequency mean that coastal and fisher communities require more support to recover and rebuild. Beyond the Western Indian Ocean, in recent months we have seen the devastating effects of cyclone Seroja in Timor-Leste, and the worrying emergence of super typhoons in the Philippines.
We are helping coastal communities to mitigate and adapt to climate breakdown by safeguarding and rebuilding the fisheries on which they depend. Our community-led approach gives marine life and fishers a better chance of coping with stresses caused by climate-related shocks.