Forecast-based Financing: Closing the gap between disaster preparedness and emergency relief in Southern Africa - Mozambique
Since 2015, Mozambique Red Cross (CVM) has been building and implementing Forecast-based Financing with the support of the German Red Cross, financed by the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Extensive lessons have been learned along five years of developing anticipatory actions for flood and cyclone risk, with two early action protocols (EAP) finalized and part of CVM’s disaster risk management tools. Mozambique has recently entered the regional FbF project for Southern Africa as anticipation mentor, developing a third EAP on drought risk.
Cyclones | Floods | Droughts
Districts in the coastal zone of Mozambique in particular in the provinces of Nampula, Zambezia, Sofala and Inhambane, in total 26 districts with a total population of 4,476,827 people and 1,065,868 households
Districts along the different river basins of Mozambique in particular in the provinces of Gaza, Sofala and Zambezia, in total 12 districts with a total population of approximately 1.151.000 persons and 230.200 households living near the rivers.
Currently being defined.
Early action sectors
Shelter | WASH
Anticipatory Action Protocols/Plans in place
Cyclone EAP | Flood EAP
Key actors/implementing partners
The Mozambique Red Cross (CVM), with technical support from the German Red Cross, the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre, the International Federation of the Red Cross, as well as the 510 initiative of the Netherlands Red Cross works closely with Mozambique’s National Disaster Management Authority INGC, the National Institute for Meteorology (INAM) and the National Directorate for Water Resource Management (DNGRH), as well as UN agencies and the Humanitarian Coordination Team (HCT).
Anticipation in practice: Project description
The Mozambique Red Cross (CVM) and the German Red Cross (GRC) have been working on establishing FbF in Mozambique since 2015 with the support of the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre (RCCC) and the German Federal Foreign Office. CVM’s country-wide cyclone protocol, approved in 2019, was the first EAP that has been accepted by the FbA by the DREF fund in Africa. A flood protocol for four major rivers – the Limpopo, the Buzi, the Zambéze and the Licungo – was submitted in 2020 and is in the final stages of validation. With the support of the FbF team, CVM was able to swiftly deploy staff and relief items to the areas with the highest predicted impact before Tropical Cyclone Idai made landfall in March 2019. Lessons from this experience have been used to improve the existing FbF protocols.
The cyclone EAP, which was developed to reduce the humanitarian impact of endemic diseases and destruction to housing structures and school buildings consists of the early actions below:
- Preparatory administrative and preparedness activities (verification of established systems, trainings and pre-stocking (tools and NFI)
- Awareness messages (radio, TV, megaphone)
- Rapid training or capacity development in housing and school reinforcement techniques
- Housing reinforcement with shelter kits
- Reinforcement of primary school units built with precarious material
- Distribution of chlorine (Certeza) and buckets
The Cyclone protocol is triggered when a storm is forecast to have a wind speed of 120 km/h at landfall with a lead time of 72 hours.
As second prioritized risk for FbF in Mozambique, a protocol on flood risk was developed aimed at reducing the impact of endemic diseases and the loss of important assets and documents. The Flood EAP currently under review aims to reduce the humanitarian impacts of extreme floods by supporting the following early actions:
- Preparatory administrative and preparedness activities (verification of established communication systems, training and pre-positioning arrangements (NFIs), identification of safe evacuation routes, pre-agreements with petrol stations and owners of different means of transport in case evacuation is necessary)
- Awareness messages (radio, TV, megaphone)
- Activation of volunteers, communication lines (Provincial Secretary, volunteer focal points, heads of provincial and district committees)
- Distribution of mosquito nets and chlorine, buckets and mugs at evacuation centers
- Distribution of means for protection of documents
The trigger is reached when the three-day hydrological forecast indicates flood waters will reaching a meter below the five-year return period water level at an upstream river guage station. The maximum lead time to complete these activities in 72 hours.
The project is now working to address drought in a third EAP, for which new partnerships and a national technical working group for drought FbF are being built. The Drought EAP development process is being supported by the Red Cross Climate Centre and the 510 Initiative of the Netherlands Red Cross.
Outcomes and lessons learnt
The EAP for Floods was activated in January and May 2022.
A test activation of the Cyclone EAP in anticipation of Cyclone Idai in 2019 showed an institutional shift within Mozambique Red Cross towards acting earlier, having been the first humanitarian actor on the ground prior to disaster impact.
The benefits of FbF go beyond the direct benefits to the communities assisted. The process of developing the structures and processes necessary for FbF also helps to build capacity for more effective and efficient response within the National Society.
The analysis that goes into the EAP development can provide valuable information and background to facilitate traditional/early response as well as wider early action and supports the data preparedness of the National Society to support emergency response operations.
The scarce data landscape in a country such as Mozambique has implications for FbF development and for impact-based forecasting systems developed to support the EAPs.
Forecast-based Financing (FbF) as an anticipatory mechanism oscillated a lot in its introduction to Mozambique, at first it was not grasped very well, but then it became viral and gained ground at the national level and I can even say that it is here to stay, because it was taken in by the National Society as a very valuable instrument for disaster management. Mozambique comes out stronger along the introduction of this mechanism, since it cyclically suffers from natural extreme events. Today, almost all humanitarian actors know the mechanism in Mozambique, which shows the success of disseminating and advocating for the approach.
From my point of view, this is no longer just an instrument; in a few years’ time, it will be seen as the instrument that came to change the way disasters are managed, and the wider disaster risk management system will profit from it.
Southern Africa has much to gain from this instrument, as the difficulties that fall upon one member state from natural disasters greatly influence the other SADC states as a whole - if member countries are committed to reducing risks and losses from disasters, FbF is the future.
Forecast based financing in Mozambique
The Mozambique project is mainly focusing on floods along the Limpopo basin. Thresholds are developed for floods and actions for each of this thresholds.