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On 11.03.2022, Tropical Cyclone Gombe led to extensive flood events in northern and central Mozambique. 

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Preliminary impacts reported by INGD indicate that many houses and power lines have been destroyed or damaged; twelve people have been reported killed, several have been injured, and overall more than thirty thousand people have been affected. There are also over one hundred schools damaged or destroyed, one bridge has collapsed, and several roads have been affected.

As a consequence, Copernicus EMS and the International Charter Space and Major Disasters, making use of the potential of space-based technologies for emergency mechanisms, were active. Below, you find a collection of links to the activations…

Publishing date 18/03/2022

Heavy rainfalls connected to tropical storm Ana have triggered severe flooding events in eastern Africa, affecting Madagascar, Mozambique, and Malawi. Flooding began after heavy rain in Madagascar on 17 January and continued with tropical storm Ana passing over the countries from 22 January.

In an effort to support the national authorities and their disaster management agencies, several emergency mechanisms making use of space-based technologies have been activated. These mechanisms aim to provide a rapid assessment of the situation, giving information about the extent of the event, affected population, and a first damage assessment.

By utilizing and analyzing available optical and radar satellite imagery, this crucial data and information can be generated, put into maps, services, and reports, which are provided to and accessible by the authorities and other assisting organizations for more efficient disaster response.

Below, you find a selection of links…

Publishing date 02/02/2022

In recent years, Mozambique has suffered severe floods and droughts that have impacted urban and rural communities throughout the country. In the March and April 2019, tropical cyclones Idai and Kenneth triggered major floods in Mozambique, Malawi, Zimbabwe, and Comoros.  The Port of Beira was hard hit, as cyclone Idai destroyed transmission lines and bridges, leaving the port without access to these lifelines for several days.   In contrast the powerful El Niño event of 2016 triggered major droughts that affected most of the country. Thousands of farmers lost their crops and their cattle and had to rely on humanitarian assistance to cope with the impacts of this event.

Taking into consideration the benefits of the use of satellite imagery to map the geographic extent of floods and to monitor the effects of drought on vegetation; the Federal University of Santa Maria of Brazil (UFSM), in its role as a UN-SPIDER Regional Support Office (RSO); and UN-SPIDER…

Publishing date 10/08/2020

Millions of people in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe are struggling to cope with the aftermath of Cyclone Idai, which has swept through this part of southeast Africa over the last weeks, leaving devastation in its wake. It is thought that more than two million people in the three countries have been affected, but the extent of destruction is still unfolding.

The authorities and military are working  to rescue people, but roads and other transport and communication links are cut off. In order to plan and execute this kind of emergency response it is vital to understand exactly which areas have been affected, especially as accessing people cut off is extremely challenging.

The disaster triggered activations of both the Copernicus Emergency Mapping Service and the…

Publishing date 04/04/2019

Tropical cyclone Dineo hit the Inhambane Province in Mozambique on 15 February 2017. According to Al Jazeera, the winds were register at 130km/h, generating waves 6 meters high and causing heavy rains. Mozambican media reported that the cyclone has left 4 people dead. There is a high risk of flooding, as the area has already received above average rainfall during the last few months, which has affected tens of thousands of people.

NASA’s Terra satellite captured images of the storm as well as of the rainfall. The cyclone made landfall late on 15 February. By the 17th, the storm has weakened and continued moving inland. The imagery showed the storm’s clouds stretching over southern Mozambique, Swaziland, eastern Botswana and northeastern South Africa.

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Publishing date 22/02/2017

From 4 to 8 November 2013, eight organizations in Mozambique were trained on “Disaster mapping using space technology”. UN-SPIDER and UNDP-Mozambique jointly organized this training workshop which covered various disaster-related topics in Mozambique, a country that every two to three years suffers from floods and every 4 to 7 years from a drought event.

Experts from the University of Cologne and the University of Applied Sciences in Cologne (both in Germany), National Disaster Reduction Center of China (NDRCC) and from UN-SPIDER (Vienna and Beijing) trained the participants from organizations that are involved in data management of disasters. Topics covered included the use of remote sensing techniques for flood forecasting and flood detection, drought monitoring, rapid mapping of disasters and GIS techniques to evaluate the impact of disasters on the population.

The participants were actively involved in the processing of digital elevation models, rainfall…

Publishing date 08/11/2013

After days of torrential rain pushed the lower Limpopo River over its banks in late January 2013, flood water surrounded the city of Xai-Xai in southern Mozambique. The Advanced Land Imager (ALI) on NASA’s Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite captured this natural-color image on January 31.

Xai-Xai is situated about 10 kilometers (6 miles) from the ocean, where the Limpopo River meanders over a flat coastal plain. In late January, muddy water not only filled the river channel, but also washed over agricultural fields. Muddy water could even been seen in the rectangular street grid of Xai-Xai.

The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) anticipated the flooding. On January 29, the institute reported that flood water had reached the northern edges of Xai-Xai; that the airport was inundated; and long stretches of roads had been flooded. UNITAR reported that the high water on the…

Publishing date 05/02/2013

On 21 January, 2013 the International Charter "Space and Major Disasters" was activated to obtain satellite-derived maps for torrential rains and high winds in Mozambique. The mechanism was activated by UNITAR/UNOSAT on behalf of UNICEF.

Continuous storms have destroyed 6,000 cashew trees, power supplies, farm animals and crops. 4,000 people have lost their homes and four others have died. The southern provinces; Gaza and Maputo are the worst affected areas. The storms also reached as far as Kruger National Park, South Africa, where tourists had to be evacuated. Severe flooding has also destroyed 160 classrooms, 600 hectares of farm land and the main crops of Mozambique: the cashew nut.

Meteorologists warn of an intense Category 2 storm heading towards Mozambique with stronger winds and heavier downpours. In 2000, Mozambique experienced the worst flooding of its lifetime, where half a million people were left homeless and 700 people were killed.

Publishing date 22/01/2013

At the request of the Government of Mozambique, through the National Institute of Disaster Management (INGC), UN-SPIDER carried out a Technical Advisory Mission (TAM) from 7 to 14 October 2012 to evaluate the current and potential use of space-based information in all the aspects of disaster management and strengthen disaster risk management in the country by providing better access to space-based information for disaster risk reduction as well as response.

The mission team was comprised of nine experts from UN-SPIDER, the University of Salzburg (Austria), the Cologne University of Applied Sciences (Germany), the Center for Interdisciplinary Geospatial Information Technologies (United States), the Southern African Development Community (South Africa), Umvoto Africa Ltd (South Africa) and the Southern Mapping Company (South Africa).

The Technical Advisory Mission began with pre-TAM discussions of the mission team with the Crisis Prevention, Response and Environment Unit…

Publishing date 22/10/2012

From 8 to 12 October 2012, UN-SPIDER will conduct a Technical Advisory Mission (TAM) to Mozambique as agreed upon during the UN International Conference "Space based technologies for disaster management' organised by the UN-SPIDER Beijing office in November 2011. UN-SPIDER is pleased to invite experts to participate in this mission. Experts should have an organisational mandate to assist in assessing the current use of space-based technology and information for disaster management and emergency response in Mozambique, identifying potential areas where space-based technology and information could play a greater role and contributing to improving the access to space-based technology and information. The mission will also touch issues on how to make disaster risk reduction efforts more effective in Mozambique.

The experts will be part of the UN-SPIDER mission team. The mission team will meet all key agencies in Mozambique that are involved in disaster management and…

Publishing date 29/08/2012

As the UN marked World Food Day earlier this week, international representatives convened in Korea to discuss ways to curb the loss of productive land to desertification. Satellites play an important role in the monitoring and assessment of drylands.

Desertification is the degradation of land in arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas. It is caused primarily by human activities and climatic variations because dryland ecosystems are extremely vulnerable to over-exploitation, inappropriate land use and droughts.

This phenomenon has severely affected the livelihoods of farmers around the globe, causing food insecurity in many areas. Satellites have the capability to detect desertification and have seen active land degradation trends even in Europe.

Findings were presented at the 10th Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) in Changwon, Korea.

Held 10–21 October, the event gave representatives an opportunity to…

Publishing date 24/10/2011

Mozambique is exposed to weather-related hazards such as floods, droughts, and storms, which include tropical cyclones. As much as 25% of the population is at risk from natural hazards. The National Institute of Disaster Management (INGC) and UNDP Mozambique requested UN-SPIDER to carry out a Technical Advisory Mission from 8 to 12 October 2012. The key objectives of the mission were to assess national capacity and to evaluate existing disaster and risk reduction activities, policies and plans with regard to the use of space-based technologies and to facilitate access of national institutions to space-based information to support tasks contemplated in the full cycle of disaster management.

Disaster Mapping using Space Technologies

Topics covered in the training course included the use of remote sensing techniques for flood forecasting and flood detection, drought monitoring, rapid mapping of disasters and GIS techniques to evaluate the impact of disasters on the population.

The participants were actively involved in the processing of digital elevation models, rainfall data, satellite imagery and geographic data…

As a follow-up to the recommendations of the technical advisory mission to Mozambique conducted in October 2012, UN-SPIDER conducted a Institutional Strengthening Mission and jointly with UNDP-Mozambique organized a national training course on disaster mapping using space technology in Maputo. The course took place at the Eduardo Mondlane University.

The Federal University of Santa Maria of Brazil (UFSM), in its role as a UN-SPIDER Regional Support Office (RSO), and UN-SPIDER joined forces to conduct a virtual seminar on the use of the UN-SPIDER Recommended Practices to process satellite imagery to map the geographic extent of floods, and to elaborate a series of maps that allow government agencies, as well as regional and international organizations, to assess the severity of droughts in particular years in comparison to droughts in other years. The webinar, conducted on 4 August 2020, brought together more than 30 officers of government agencies of Mozambique, as well as researchers, faculty members and students from various universities.

During the event, researchers from UFSM made participants aware of efforts by the space community to develop drought indices extracted from satellite imagery that assess the impacts of drought on vegetation.  They also gave participants a brief introduction to the use of…