Record-breaking cyclone brings further decimation to world’s #1 climate vulnerable country
Tropical cyclone Freddy is set to make more international records–including possibly one for the longest-lasting storm, later this week. Having already decimated more than 1,000 houses in Madagascar, all of this is bad news for Mozambique. According to the most recent data from German Watch, Mozambique is currently #1 amongst countries most vulnerable to the impacts of climate disasters.
Having formed off the northern coast of Australia in early February, Freddy has broken an 8,000-km (5,000-mile) path to eastern Africa, bringing with it the highest accumulated cyclone energy of any storm to strike in the southern hemisphere. Not only is Freddy amongst the 5% of SW Indian Ocean cyclones that make landfall in southern Africa, but it is doing so for the second time. Instead of fizzling out over the continent, however, Freddy made a rare 360 back into the Indian Ocean and is now coming at Africa again.
Freddy’s first landfall impacted an estimated 226,000 people in Madagascar and 166,600 in Mozambique, according to ReliefWeb, where more than 28,300 homes were damaged or destroyed. Currently, Save the Children is reporting more than 900,000 people, half of whom are children, are in the path of Freddy’s anticipated track when it makes landfall again on Friday. The storm will come with sustained winds at 160kph and gusts to 190kph, as per Mozambique’s National Institute of Meteorology.
Mozambique is particularly vulnerable due to its low-lying and non-resilient infrastructure, and the reliance on natural resources, which are directly impacted by the worsening climate crisis. Drought, sea level rise, salt water intrusion, floods and rising temperatures are amongst the consequences that are facing the nation and devastating livelihoods and ecosystems.
Mozambique’s position as the most climate vulnerable country in the world is also a huge concern for climate justice. Its global share of emissions is 0.21% with a GDP per capita of 448.84USD, which means that it is being directly impacted by damages from worldwide emissions, the overwhelming majority of which it did not cause. For this reason, not only do we need to cut emissions immediately, but wealthy countries absolutely must come through with international finance pledges to help those like Mozambique justly face the crisis for which they are paying but did not cause.
To learn more about how the Arctic directly impacts vulnerable countries in Africa and around the world, check out https://arcticrisk.org/climate-vulnerable/