The BAGC region has now experienced two consecutive cyclones Chalane and Eloise that affected the central regions of the country in late December and January.

Severe Tropical Storm Chalane  made landfall in Mozambique  on 30th December. The Port of Beira shut down for 2 days as it was in the path of Chalane. LAM cancelled flights from Beira, Chimoio, Nampula and Tete and Government officials issued red-level (high risk) tropical storm warnings for Sofala and Manica Provinces.

Cyclone Eloise making landfall at Beira

As if the region had not already been critically devastated by Cyclone Idai in 2019 with thousands displaced from their homes, Chalane made landfall with maximum sustained winds of 85 kph/50 mph. Officials stated that Chalane caused less damage than expected. Unfortunately though, seven people were killed in Sofala and Manica provinces.

Then early on 23rd January Cyclone Eloise made landfall just north of Beira before weakening. Beira’s port was closed again for about 40 hours, and limited supplies of emergency non-food items were given out to families within the path of the cyclone. Many families sheltered in tents at accommodation centers and were provided with kits for food, hygiene and Covid 19  protection.

Access roads leading to BAGC Irrigation schemes

The two cyclones both brought heavy rains and strong winds leading to flooding of crop fields, excessive soil erosion and damage to physical infrstructure particulaly roads, electrical lines as well as social infrastructure.

The Sofala cluster was the most affected with direct effects of the cyclone and subsequent flooding of major rivers such as Buzi and Save. This has led to wide scale displacement of families living in low lying areas. The project’s Buzi sites are once again completely under water.

Before and after the rains – Manica Cluster

For Manica cluster, the effects were less dramatic compared to those registered under cyclone Idai. Continuous and excessive rains have resulted in flooding of crop fields, dislodging of tall crops such as maize as well as damage to roads. The good news is that no damage was reported to the post Idai repaired irrigation infrastructure.

Lodged maize affected by high winds (Sussundenga district)

A direct effect on project activities has therefore been with respect to BAGC’s summer demonstration plots. These have largely been lost, except for a few of maize in more sheltered locations.

The BAGC team and partners are now reviewing appropriate responses that could be supported by the project. These include:

  1. Support in the reconstruction of last mile access roads into some of the irrigation schemes
  2. Support for inputs for the winter crops within the framework of cost sharing grant mechanisms with beneficiaries.

This support should be possible within the framework of the programme’s available resources.

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