Maputo/Geneva, 28 December 2020 – In anticipation of Cyclone Chalane’s potential landfall on Wednesday in Mozambique, the Mozambique Red Cross, with the support of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and German Red Cross has activated its recently approved Early Action Protocol for Cyclones, with a series of preparedness actions to minimise the cyclone’s impact on communities.
Forecast-based Action is a new form of Red Cross readiness and preparedness actions. It is governed by an ‘Early Action Protocol’, consisting of a preparedness phase with the strategic prepositioning of materials that are tailored to reduce the impact of disasters, and a readiness phase consisting of a tranche of funding that is disbursed up to 72 hours prior to an impending disaster when a cyclone reaches a “trigger” level. In doing so it allows humanitarian actors who are on high alert to kick into action before the event takes place.
Jurg Wilbrink, Forecast-based Action Project Manager IFRC Southern Africa, said:
“Our emphasis at this stage is on anticipation and not reaction. Instead of waiting for the cyclone to hit, we are preparing for its impact. By Wednesday, if the cyclone makes landfall, Red Cross staff and volunteers will have launched early warnings and supported reinforcing houses and public structures, as well as strategic stock in place to limit the potential damage caused to people and infrastructure in targeted vulnerable communities.”
Early actions will include the delivery of shelter kits and other emergency supplies like items for increased hygiene and sanitation, as well as COVID-19 hygiene kits, quick efforts to fortify houses and the distribution of non-food items to buffer the impacts of Chalane. Red Cross volunteers will also be active in sharing potentially life-saving information, including the position of safe areas, medical help and key actions to take before landfall in the area.
Mozambique is a country prone to cyclones and tropical storms which can lead to flash flooding, hundreds of deaths, and massive destruction of property and crops.
Chalane is expected to strike the districts of Buzi, Beira, Dondo and Muanza in Central Mozambique - areas that were devastated by Cyclone Idai in March 2019, and was again hit by severe flooding in February this year, with thousands displaced from their homes and many left clinging to trees to avoid being swept away by the rising river. Cyclone Chalane is expected to reach windspeeds of up to 125km per hour. Recent Red Cross analysis suggests that, even if it makes landfall with windspeeds of 72km per hour, 30 per cent of vulnerable housing structures could be destroyed.
Jânio Dambo, Forecast-based Financing Project Manager at the Mozambique Red Cross (CVM) said that early action will roll out over the next three days ahead of Wednesday evening’s predicted landfall:
“We were busy finalising the details of the early-action protocol in Mozambique when Cyclone Idai hit. At the time, what needed to happen was being put down on paper. This time around, we are putting everything into action. Early action.” Less than a month ago, over 1,000 individual actors participated in a large-scale simulation exercise, testing the workings of the protocol in Moma, Nampula. The lessons learnt during that exercise have already proved invaluable for how decision-makers are approaching Mozambique’s potential cyclone.
For photos and videos of the ‘Early Action Protocol’ simulation exercise in Moma, Nampula, held from 27 November to 6 December 2020: