Drone footage shows destruction after Cyclone Idai. Photo © CNN, 2019.
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NIRAS joins task force to chart a way forward for hard-hit city in Mozambique

A reconstruction plan will be drawn up for Beira, assessing the city’s greatest needs, estimating costs, and working to secure donor funding following the catastrophic cyclone last month

17. Apr 2019

After cyclone Idai made landfall on 14 March, the city of Beira was devastated by high winds, torrential rain, and unstoppable flooding. More than three quarters of the city was damaged or destroyed as a result of the disaster.

In the immediate aftermath of the cyclone, the priority was to save as many lives as possible by rescuing people stranded by the rising waters and providing food and shelter for the tens of thousands of displaced persons. Yet the long-term challenges remain daunting: critical infrastructure has been heavily damaged, and the process of rebuilding both the city and the outlying districts will be drawn out and costly.

Idai came as a big shock. Most people in the city of Beira didn't realise the cyclone would hit that hard. It did a lot of damage, as we all know, but the hardest hit are the poor people in the surrounding districts who lost everything due to the floods.

Johan Boerekamp, NIRAS Mozambique Country Director

The first step towards recovery for Beira comes in the form of a reconstruction task force, formed in partnership with the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO), who are well situated to provide assistance for the creation of an “Integral Masterplan for the City of Beira”. They have been involved in climate change mitigation projects in Beira for years and are thus familiar with the local situation. At this early stage, the Dutch government has provided EUR 3 million for immediate response, with further funding to be determined based on the task force’s findings.

NIRAS Mozambique has been contracted to provide a consultant to the task force: Country Director Johan Boerekamp (who has also been involved in the Beira Masterplan) will contribute his expertise to the damage assessment component, which includes several other experts contracted by RVO. The task force was deployed to Beira during the first week of April and will continue working during the next weeks/months.

110,000

people forced into camps by the cyclone (as of 30 Mar 2019)

Coordination between other (emergency) organisations working in Beira and the surrounding affected cities and districts is central to the process, and the results of the task force will be jointly presented with results from other organisations during a donor conference organized by the national government in coordination with the municipality of Beira. This conference will take place in Beira during second half of May.

After assessing the city’s needs, the task force will then present  a master plan for the reconstruction activities. Another significant responsibility for the task force will be to coordinate and communicate with potential international donor organisations and agencies which will play a key role in funding the reconstruction.

As Mr. Boerekamp puts it, “In view of the changing climate, the residents of the city now want to be better prepared for the next one.”

Aerial footage shows the the extent of the devastation. Photo © ICRC, 2019.