The destructive power of Cyclone Idai hit the Mozambican port city of Beira in 2019 hard. The reconstruction made it clear that better coastal protection and resilience to extreme climate events is more urgent than ever. A partnership between Invest International, the Mozambican government, the World Bank and the KfW Development Bank is making real progress towards protecting the coast and thus the 600,000 people living in the city.
Cyclone Idai raged across Mozambique in 2019, leaving a trail of destruction in Beira. Almost 90 percent of the port city was damaged or destroyed. Dozens of people lost their lives. Climate change, population growth, coastal erosion and urban expansion have made the city increasingly vulnerable. The expected rise in sea level will only make matters worse. Since many inhabitants live in potential flood areas, a future-proof strategy for coastal protection and resilience is urgent.
That led to the Beira project, consisting of studies into a coastal protection plan for the city located in the heart of the Pungwe River Delta on the Indian Ocean. The studies are important in gaining insight into the infrastructural investments needed to reduce the risk of disasters. Issues to be considered include cost efficiency, urban integration and the impact on the environment and living conditions.
The studies are financed by Invest International through the Develop2Build (D2B) programme as part of the collaboration between the Mozambican government, the KfW bank and the World Bank. For this, the Dutch and Mozambican governments signed a D2B subsidy contract. In addition to the ongoing D2B feasibility study, an environmental impact report and a detail design study are planned. The development of the strategy forms part of the Cyclone Idai and Kenneth Emergency Recovery and Resilience Project (CERRP) of the World Bank.Read more on the CERRP project
“Investing in better coastal protection is needed, especially because cyclones are becoming increasingly powerful as a result of climate change.”
A satellite image of a cyclone made by NASA.
After an international tender, Royal HaskoningDHV was selected to carry out the studies for a coastal protection plan. The consultancy firm set up a Dutch-Mozambican consortium to carry out the project. Royal HaskoningDHV launched a feasibility study in 2020 from its offices in the Netherlands and Mozambique. It led to the development of a preliminary design that offers the desired coastal protection, for example by charting the risk of flooding.
Odelinde Nieuwenhuis, Technical Lead at Royal HaskoningDHV: “A significant improvement of the coastal protection scheme is needed to provide sufficient protection for Beira against sea hazards for decades to come. This improvement aims to not only to protect Beira and its citizens, but to also add value to the spatial quality and stimulate desired socioeconomic and nature developments. Especially important, knowing that cyclones get stronger due to climate change.”
Royal HaskoningDHV supervises the project and works in the consortium with:
Through this financial support, Invest International wants to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals 8, 9 and 13. The project is a climate action, designed to lead to more resilient infrastructure and, eventually, to strengthen the Mozambican economy. The total D2B sum committed for the studies amounts to 2 million euros.
The first results of the preliminary studies are expected in early 2022. An international tender will be held for the implementation and execution of the actual coastal protection plan. All the work carried out aligns with the Masterplan Beira 2035, developed by Witteveen+Bos among others. The plan presents a vision for the challenges faced by Beira.
“Protection against the dangers of the sea is urgent. Not only for human lives but also to stimulate socio-economic development.”
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