Climate change ‘means more disasters’ for Mozambique

Floods, droughts, cyclones and epidemics will increasingly plague Mozambique in the coming years as climate change raises temperatures, the national disaster centre said in a study Monday.

Mozambique is already disaster-prone, with long stretches of low-lying coast that make it one of Africa’s most vulnerable countries to climate change.

As temperatures have risen over the past three decades, natural disasters and epidemic disease have increased — a trend that is likely to worsen in the future, says the National Disaster Management Institute’s new “Climate Change Report.”

“Mozambique’s exposure to the risk of natural disaster will increase significantly over the next 20 years and beyond as a result of climate change,” the study found.

The report, funded by the United Nations and Denmark, warns that Mozambique will suffer if the world does “too little, too late” to curb climate change.

Mozambique’s coast could shift 500 meters inland due to erosion, the study added — a scenario the authors say “will probably be catastrophic” given that the country’s population is concentrated along the coast.

The country could suffer more severe droughts and floods, more intense cyclones, and worse outbreaks of malaria, the leading cause of childhood death in Mozambique, the study said.

The report also warned that decreased rainfall in the Zambezi river basin could reduce the energy output of Mozambique’s Cahora Bassa dam, one of Africa’s largest hydroelectric projects and a crucial regional power source.

The study advises the Mozambican government to expand its disaster preparedness “far beyond” current levels and develop a national strategy for responding to climate change.

Mozambique is still recovering from Cyclone Jokwe, which last year slammed into the northern coast with winds at 140 kilometres (87 miles) per hour, killing at least 17 people, injuring scores and leaving thousands homeless.

Mozambique also suffered deadly floods that forced tens of thousands from their homes in 2000 and 2007.


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