Mozambique's Second Largest City is Sinking
by Andrew Mambondiyani
10 Nov 2017
A house destroyed by a strong wave in Beira [Andrew Mambondiyani/Al
Beira, Mozambique - Albano Joze, stares blankly at a group of
fishermen casting their nets in shallow waters on the coast of the
Indian Ocean, near Beira, Mozambique's second largest city.
He kicks a lump of soil and shakes his head in frustration.
"I have been living here for more than 10 years, but I have never
seen this sea as violent as it is these years," says Joze, an
informal trader in the city, which is just a few metres above
average sea level.
"One night I woke up to find all rooms in my house filled with
water and most of my household property was destroyed".
Most settlements in Beira, which is on the Mozambique Channel, are
poorly planned, and houses are badly built, leaving many at risk
Daviz Simango, Beira's mayor since 2003 and an influential
politician, has previously claimed that water-borne diseases such
as malaria, and even in rare cases cholera, pose a serious
"Every year we are experiencing violent storms and floods which are
making our lives difficult," Joze says with a weary sigh. "We can't
move away from the sea because our lives depend on it, one way or
He traverses the breadth and length of the coastal area in Beira
selling an assortment of wares, mostly to fishermen.
"I'm not a fisherman but these fishermen are my customers, and I
can't imagine leaving this place. How will I survive if I
"Do you think our gods are angry at us for whatever reasons? We
hope this problem of floods will go away soon".
But the problem is not going away anytime soon.
According to the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and
Recovery (GFDRR), Mozambique - with its coastal cities slowly being
swallowed by the rising sea level - ranks third among African
countries most exposed to multiple weather hazards.
Home to some 30 million people, the southern African country
suffers from periodic cyclones, droughts, floods, and related
"Floods occur every two to three years, with higher levels of risk
in the central and southern regions," says...