A fact-finding mission sent to Mozambique by World Meteorological Organization (WMO) recommends a package of disaster risk reduction priorities.
GENEVA, Switzerland, May 29, 2019 – Fact-finding mission makes recommendations for future resilience
The devastation caused by cyclones Idai and Kenneth which hit Mozambique within the space of a few weeks is a wake-up call about more high-impact tropical cyclones, coastal flooding and intense rainfall linked to climate change, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
A fact-finding mission sent to Mozambique by WMO recommends a package of disaster risk reduction priorities to strengthen the southern African nation’s early warnings systems and cut socio-economic damages from weather, climate, and water-related hazards like tropical cyclones, floods and drought.
“The two cyclones are a wake-up call that Mozambique needs to build resilience,” WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said in a message to an international pledging conference to secure support for reconstruction.
“Although the number of tropical cyclones globally is expected to reduce in the future, the number of most intense tropical cyclones (category 4 and 5), associated with more rainfall, will increase in a warming climate,” he said.
“Future sea level rise will exacerbate the impact of storm surge on coastal regions, raising concerns about flooding from the sea, particularly for low lying cities as Beira,” said Mr Taalas. This raises major concerns regarding Mozambique’s vulnerability to floods from both rivers and sea.
The report from the international team of meteorologists and hydrologists, headed by WMO’s Filipe Lúcio, will be presented to an international pledging conference for Mozambique scheduled for 1 June in the coastal city of Beira.
The fact-finding team said that investment of nearly US$ 27 million is needed for the meteorological and hydrological sector. This includes reconstruction, rehabilitation and modernization of infrastructure and equipment, land surveys for flood risk mapping and satellite rainfall estimation, improved database management systems, training on the latest forecasting products, improved standard operational procedures, and better communications tools.
Unprecedented back-to-back cyclones
Idai made landfall in the vicinity of Beira on 14 March at Category 4 strength, provoking one of the worst weather-related disasters to hit the southern hemisphere. Months’ worth of rain fell in a matter of hours.
The humanitarian consequences were huge. The cyclone and subsequent flooding caused the death of more than 600 people, injured an estimated 1600, affected more than 1.8 million and caused an estimated US$ 773 million in damages to buildings, infrastructure and agriculture.
“In times of floods, Mozambicans seek safety on roofs of buildings. But the ferocity of Idai’s winds blew the roofs away. The magnitude of the cyclone, the size of the storm surge and the extent of the flooding overwhelmed years of work by authorities in Sofala to increase community resilience to floods,” said Mr Lucio, who used to head Mozambique’s national meteorological service.
“It is a salutary warning about the future scale of the combined challenges from urbanization and climate change-related sea level rise and extreme weather. This will necessitate much greater emphasis on improved land use, urban and floodplain planning,” said Mr Lucio.
The fact-finding team’s visit coincided with tropical cyclone Kenneth, which made landfall on 25 April in Cabo Delgado province as the most intense tropical cyclone ever known to have hit the area.
The WMO mission focussed on Cyclone Idai, especially in terms of damages to hydro-meteorological equipment and institutional coordination and collaboration involving the meteorological, hydrological and disaster management services. However, its general conclusions are meant to inform plans and investments in strengthening the Early Warning System in a multi-hazard approach, and disaster risk management in the country, particularly during reconstruction to ensure building back better and overall strengthening of resilience.
With Idai and Kenneth, the tropical cyclone warnings issued through WMO’s operational network – via its Regional Specialized Meteorological Centre La Reunion (Météo-France) were of good quality. Flood warnings were challenging, an area where special focus needs to be put.
g said the report.
The communication of messages needs to be simplified and should include indication of potential impacts. Education and awareness raising should be permanent, the mission found.
Early warning can only be effective if complemented by effective disaster management practices. There is a need for:
The WMO team identified major weaknesses on preparedness, emergency coordination and response, including the following:
Mozambique is downstream of nine major river basins. It is prone to devastating impacts of floods but can also experience low-flows in rivers during drought due to water use upstream, exacerbating the impacts of droughts.
The biggest floods recorded recently were in 2000, when weeks of heavy rain exacerbated by tropical cyclone Eline caused the death of 700 people and affecting 2 million people.
With a coastline of 2700 km in the South West Indian Ocean, Mozambique is hit by a tropical storm or cyclone every two years on average – although Madagascar often acts as a buffer.
Climate change projections indicate a global decrease in numbers of tropical storms and cyclones. However it is projected that there may be increases in their maximum intensities and associated rainfall. Future sea level rise will exacerbate the impact of storm surge on coastal regions, assuming all other factors equal.
For the Province of Maputo, which has never suffered from direct hit of a tropical storm or tropical cyclone, and the Province of Gaza which was hit just once (cyclone Domoina in 1984) the likelihood of direct impact over these southern areas may increase over the next decades.
In Blantyre yesterday, the incumbent President Peter Mutharika was the announced victor in the Tripartite Elections of 21st May 2019. The Malawian Electoral Commission (MEC) announced this yesterday, so the President didn’t wait a second to have his official ceremony and start his second term. He had to do this quickly before the Tipp-Ex results got altered again.
This happens as the Opposition is crying foul. They are doing this with justification. AS the Opposition Candidates couldn’t even have the time to table a case to nullify or make the counting of voting “null and void” as there are evidence of open rigging in this elections. Even if his numbers are low and not really a huge victory. The Incumbent President won with 38,75%. Not like he rigged himself with a major majority, which is a lazy way of rigging himself in power.
It is like the recounting scheduling, which the High Court made happen in several of districts was important to challenge the first partial results. Nevertheless, the same results happen. Maybe, that is why as the President was swearing himself, the Opposition Party Malawian Congress Party was tear-gassed by the authorities. Therefore, the President and his government are really showing his true force on the same day his resuming his office.
President Mutharika should be more humble, not like his popularity is there. Maybe, because his statements in the past. As the Head of State has told the public to “eat mice and grasshoppers or die” to survive in the middle of hunger and food crisis. That is why the public should remember that he did this too them.
The MCP and UTM didn’t manage to beat the incumbent now. Certainly, combined with all the other Presidential Candidates they have about 62 % of the population. That is why the President and his party needs to humble themselves. Since, we know they rushed today and the acts of swearing-in. As they should have waited for petitions against the counting and announcing of the results. That is because there is open questions about credibility.
As long as these questions are unanswered, the incumbent will be remembered for this and the reality of the memory of this will not go away. He will always be remembered for some as the Tipp-Ex President. The White-Out President and the one who needed whitening fluid to get into power. That is a real weakness, as he didn’t have the natural swagger or popularity to get the public on his side.
Maybe, the DPP shouldn’t endorse Motorola phones, worry about Cashgate or even Maizegate. The DPP and Mutharika has so many scandals in their first term, that if it was serious, the electorate and the whole republic would have chosen anyone else. Maybe they did, but we will not know now, as the MEC has announced him and his VP. They will surely rule, but on shaky grounds, as his legitimacy is weak at best.
This is nothing new, but the chicken thief gets harshly punished and get time, but if you still a republic, you become President.
TIPP-EX President, what’s up? Peace.
Well, Blantyre must a special place to be at the moment. As the results and announced results of Triparte Elections of 21st May 2019 is coming in. We are 4 days in after the polls. The Final statement from Malawi Electoral Commission on the Parliamentary Elections. Shows further results, but also how the MEC and the Government uses certain tools to deem it free and fair.
We can certainly see, that if anyone disagree or deems the results unfair. If they feel the results are not justified. Than, the candidates have to get evidence, affidavits and take it to the Courts. This is normal practice, but in a world of social media. We have seen clear evidence of malpractice and of altering results. Especially on the Return Forms from the Polling Stations.
The way MEC has answered this is like this: “The Commission received a number of queries regarding the parliamentary elections and they have been attended to. The concerns from political parties over discrepancies and irregularities have been heard and given attention. Regarding any concerns among political parties and candidates about the results, they are entitled to file petitions in the High Court within seven days” (MEC, 25.05.2019).
We know there been breaches and there are some questionable behaviour. Therefore, this should be taken to court and challenged. As someone has changed and altered the results. Since, the need for Tipp-Ex has been so obvious.
Also, another statement in the report dropped today, shows the values of the Election Observer Missions, as even there is particular challenges with the polls. They are there to do this: “The credibility of our elections has also been attested to by various observer missions who have all commended the Commission for managing a credible process that allowed for the freedom and will of the voters to prevail” (MEC, 25.05.2019).
We can clearly see what it does and what we can ask ourselves. Since the first official results are out. The party of the incumbent President have the most MPs, but not alone. The Presidential Elections Results are awaiting as they are pending, because of a Court Order contesting several of the poll results in several of regions. This means, those results will come out later.
Who knows how that will end, as the only indication earlier, was that the results was too close to call. However, that could mean, they were awaiting for the definite results in favour of the incumbent. That wouldn’t be shocking.
We can just await and see, but the exposure of both military arrests of election workers and the return forms littered in Tipp-Ex. Surely, put this all in jeopardy, because the legitimacy and the questions of a credible comes into question. That is why the coming days and the hours of recounting is important. That its done with all the stakeholders, as Thabo Mbeki the Commonwealth EOM Chairman travelled home to be part of swearing-in Cyril Ramaphosa. That is just the way things are.
This is why, the realities are there and the knifing for the Presidency is there, as there are remaining questions in the air. The MPs and Parliamentary Elections results are out and surely some of the constituencies will be challenged in the Courts. As there is most likely not only rigged tallies in favour of one, but of several. There is also likely not only at the Presidential level, but also at the MPs. As any likelihood, everyone wants an advantage. This is just my cynicism. I might be wrong, but hell, Tipp-Ex my statements, if you have too. Peace.