Mozambique - 1.1 Mozambique Humanitarian Background

Disasters, Conflicts and Migration 

Natural Disasters 



Comments / Details 



Mozambique is a country located in Southeast Africa, and it is prone to droughts due to its location in the subtropics. The country has a history of recurrent droughts, which have had a significant impact on its agricultural production and food security. The frequency and severity of droughts in Mozambique appear to be increasing, likely due to climate change. The Southern Africa region as whole, including Mozambique, has seen an increase in droughts in the last few decades. Some of the factors contributing to this trend include rising temperatures, changes in precipitation patterns, and an increase in evaporation rates. These factors are expected to continue in the future, which could lead to more frequent and severe droughts in Mozambique and the surrounding region. 


Historically, drought has impacted negatively on people livelihoods and economic activities in Mozambique. It's been affecting farming practices, such as crop failures and loss of livestock, hampering the rural population's main source of income and food security. Also, it can cause displacement of people and worsening humanitarian crisis, as they seek assistance and alternative livelihoods options. 





Mozambique is in a seismically active region and has a history of earthquakes. The country is situated on the East Africa Rift System, a zone of tectonic activity that runs through the continent from the Red Sea to Mozambique. The East Africa Rift System is characterized by frequent seismic activity and is considered a high-risk zone for earthquakes. 


Historically, earthquakes in Mozambique have been relatively infrequent but can be strong when they do occur. The most recent significant earthquake in Mozambique was a magnitude 6.1 earthquake that struck on August 10, 2020, near the border with Malawi. The earthquake caused moderate damage to buildings and infrastructure in the affected area and caused power outages. However, no deaths were reported. 


In the past, there have been several earthquakes in the country with magnitude greater than 6.0. In 2002, an earthquake with a magnitude of 6.2 struck near the city of Nampula, killing at least 31 people, injuring more than 400, and damaging or destroying more than 20,000 homes. In 2011, another earthquake with a magnitude of 6.3 struck near the city of Chitima, killing at least one person, injuring more than 50, and damaging or destroying more than 2,000 homes. 


Overall, while Mozambique has a history of earthquakes, they are relatively infrequent, but when they happen can have significant impacts on the people and the infrastructure. 







Mozambique has a significant HIV epidemic, with an estimated prevalence of 11.5% among adults (ages 15-49) in 2019. This equates to around 2 million people living with HIV in the country. The epidemic is driven mainly by unprotected heterosexual transmission and is especially prevalent among women. In 2019, women accounted for 63% of new HIV infections in Mozambique. The number of people living with HIV on antiretroviral therapy (ART) reached 1.2 million by the end of 2019. 




Malaria is a major public health problem in Mozambique, with high incidence and prevalence of the disease. According to the World Health Organization, in 2019, the country had an estimated 12.4 million cases of malaria, with a rate of 585 cases per 1,000 population, and an estimated 10,600 malaria deaths. These figures represent a significant burden on the country's health system and its population.  


Despite these high figures, the country has been making efforts to address the malaria epidemic, and there is a trend of decreasing number of cases and deaths in recent years due to an increase in malaria prevention and control measures such as distribution of mosquito nets and access to diagnostic tests and treatments. 




Since 2017, cholera outbreaks have been reported in Mozambique every year during the hot and rainy season (October to April), mainly from Nampula, Cabo Delgado, Sofala and Tete provinces. 


Mozambique reported 3,930 cases of cholera in 2022, 3,787 in 2020, and 7,010 in 2019. The first case of cholera in the current outbreak was reported to the Ministry of Health and WHO from Lago district in Niassa province on 14 September 2022. As of 19 February 2023, a cumulative total of 5237 suspected cases and 37 deaths.  


WHO and other organizations have been providing support to the Mozambican government to try and control the spread of the disease, including through the provision of vaccines and treatment for those who have been infected. 



Extreme Temperatures 





Mozambique is prone to flooding due to its location along the Indian Ocean coast, which is susceptible to tropical storms and cyclones, as well as its numerous river basins that cross the country. The country has a history of recurrent flooding, which has had a significant impact on its population and infrastructure. 


The frequency and severity of floods in Mozambique appear to be increasing in recent years, likely due to climate change. The Southern Africa region as whole, including Mozambique, has seen an increase in floods in the last few decades. Some of the factors contributing to this trend include changes in precipitation patterns and intensification of storms, as well as the increase in human activities such as deforestation, urbanization and poor land-use practices. 


In 2019, Mozambique was hit by the worst cyclone Idai in the recorded history, which led to the displacement of more than 2.6 million people, caused over 600 deaths and left massive damages on infrastructure, economy and agriculture in the affected regions. The exact figures of damages are not available for that year but the estimate was about 2 billion USD. 


In 2000, the country was hit by another severe flood, which affected more than 1.5 million people and caused more than 700 deaths. The estimated damages were around $250 million. 


Mozambique has several major river basins, including the Zambezi, Limpopo and Save, which are prone to flooding during the rainy seasons. These river basins are a major source of water for irrigation, domestic use, and hydroelectric power generation. However, due to the increasing frequency and severity of floods, they also pose a significant risk to the population and infrastructure in the surrounding areas. 


Overall, while floods in Mozambique have historically been an irregular event, the pattern of their frequency and severity has been increasing in recent years, and they can have devastating impacts on the population and the infrastructure. 



Insect Infestation 


The country suffers from several types of insect pest, including termites, beetles, and moths, which can cause significant damage to crops such as maize, cassava, and cotton. 


Climate factors and agricultural practices in Mozambique can greatly influence the population and distribution of certain insects. For example, prolonged droughts can lead to crop failures and a decrease in the population of insect pests, while the extensive use of pesticides may contribute to an increase of resistance insects. 





Mozambique has a history of mudslides, particularly during the rainy season, which runs from October to April. These mudslides are often caused by heavy rainfall and can be exacerbated by deforestation and poor land management practices. 


In 2019, heavy rainfall and Cyclone Idai caused widespread flooding and mudslides in the country, resulting in more than 600 deaths and affecting over 2 million people. 


In 2019, Cyclone Kenneth also hit Mozambique, causing widespread damage and flooding, including mudslides. The death toll from the cyclone was at least 41 people, with many more missing. Additionally, over 270,000 people were affected and tens of thousands of homes were destroyed. 


Moreover, those disasters have also caused significant damage to infrastructure and agricultural lands, which had long-term effects on the country's economy and food security. 



Volcanic Eruptions 



High Waves / Surges 






High Winds 


Mozambique is located in a region that is prone to high winds, particularly during the cyclone season which is from November to April. Cyclones and storms can cause significant damage to buildings, infrastructure and crops, as well as loss of life. 


In 2019, Mozambique was hit by the worst cyclone Idai in the recorded history, which led to the displacement of more than 2.6 million people, caused over 600 deaths and caused massive damages on infrastructure, economy and agriculture in the affected regions. The exact figures of damages are not available for that year but the estimate was about 2 billion USD. 


In 2000, the country was hit by another severe cyclone Eline, which caused over 31 deaths and affected over 1 million people, leaving damages estimated at 250 million USD. 


Overall, while high winds in Mozambique have historically been an irregular event, the pattern of their frequency and severity has been increasing in recent years, and they can have devastating impacts on the population and the infrastructure. The country continues to be susceptible to natural hazards such as high winds and cyclones, particularly due to the predicted changes in weather patterns caused by climate change. 


Man-Made Issues 

Civil Strife 


Since the end of the civil war, Mozambique has been relatively peaceful, but there have been sporadic incidents of violence and civil unrest, particularly in the northern and central regions of the country. These incidents have been related to disputes over land, natural resources, and political power. 


Overall, while Mozambique has been relatively peaceful since the end of the civil war, sporadic incidents of violence and civil unrest still occur in some regions of the country. 



International Conflict 



Internally Displaced Persons 


The sixteenth round of the DTM Baseline assessment was carried out in 219 localities, located in the provinces of Cabo Delgado (108 localities), Nampula (76 localities), Niassa (20 localities), Sofala (4 localities) and Zambezia (7 localities).  


As of June 2022, an estimated 869,603 IDPs were identified in Cabo Delgado, while an additional 73,699 IDPs were identified in Nampula, 2,130 in Niassa, 680 in Zambezia, 310 in Sofala and 86 in Inhambane. This brings the total number of individuals displaced in the six provinces to 946,508 Internally Displaced Persons, or 208,046 displaced families.  


All displacements are a result of the insecurity situation in northern Mozambique. 



Refugees Present 


Mozambique is currently hosting 29,500 refugees and asylum seekers, predominately from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi (as of January 2022 (UNHCR)). About 34 percent of the refugees live in Maratane settlement in Nampula province. The large majority of them (86 percent) have been living in Maratane settlement for between 05 to 20 years, calling for long-term durable solutions. 


The Instituto Nacional de Apoio aos Refugiados and WFP have been assisting refugees with in-kind food assistance targeted based on household vulnerability. Additionally, the Livelihoods for Durable Solutions Programme (2016-2021) – jointly implemented by WFP, UNHCR, FAO and UN Habitat - has aimed to support self-reliance and local integration through a range of livelihood interventions that focus on market and value chain development and aim to lift refugee and host community households out of chronic poverty and food insecurity. 



Landmines / UXO Present 


Mozambique’s landmine problem was once one of the most severe in the world, with a legacy of landmines and explosive remnants of war from 16 years of conflict. Tens of thousands of landmines were laid in the country during its 1964-1975 fight for independence and throughout the civil war that followed. All factions used landmines to defend provincial and district towns, roads, airstrips, key bridges, power supply infrastructure, and military posts. Although the fighting stopped in 1992, landmines and unexploded ordnance have continued to claim lives and hinder development. 


HALO Trust, APOPO and Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) are the main operators dedicated to mine clearance. 


In 2015, Mozambique was declared officially landmine-free. At the end of the civil war, there were estimates of over 2 million landmines in the country, which the government calculated had killed up to 10,500 people in the 40 years since they were laid. Many of the mines were in poorly marked locations, and de-mining operations were given a high priority.  


In June 2018, Mozambique reported that a government strategy to develop a sustainable national capacity to address residual mine and explosive remnants of war (ERW) contamination had been developed and was being implemented with the training of national police units and military personnel. Under the strategy, police units in both the District and Provincial Police Commands were being trained to respond to and destroy any items of Unexploded ordnance (UXO) and isolated mines reported, and to provide community awareness-raising on the threat of residual contamination. Any additional mined areas discovered would be responsibility of the Mozambique armed forces’ specialized regional demining units. 


In 2021 and 2022, NPA has been supporting the Forças Armadas de Defesa de Moçambique (FADM) in the destruction of surplus and obsolete ammunition to reduce the threat to people and infrastructure.  



For a more detailed database on disasters by country, please see the Centre for Research on Epidemiology of Disasters Country Profile. 


Seasonal Effects on Logistics Capacities 

Seasonal Effects on Transport 

Transport Typ

Time Frame 

Comments / Details 

Primary Road Transport 


Heavy rain and surface flooding can affect roads throughout the country. However, primary roads are the least affected and only if extreme weather conditions occur. 

Secondary Road Transport 


Unpaved secondary roads, several of them with drift river crossings become impassable with relatively small amounts of rain. However most rivers tend to drain quickly after a few days without rain. 

Rail Transport 


Railway lines usually do not suffer much during the rainy season because usually they are elevated and built on an embankment with drainage system. However, traffic delays may occur. 

Air Transport 


Air transport is not affected by seasonal weather. Most airports are in good condition, well paved and constructed to allow good drainage. 

Waterway Transport 


Waterways have distinct seasonal variations. During the wet season they tend to become swollen and flooded and during the dry season water levels decline making it difficult to find paths in which to navigate. 

Mozambique has a tropical climate, with two distinct seasons: the rainy season and the dry season. The rainy season, also known as the monsoon season, typically runs from November to April. During this time, heavy rains and storms can cause flooding and landslides, which can disrupt transportation by road and rail. Flooding can also damage infrastructure, such as bridges and roads, making them impassable.  

The dry season, also known as the dry monsoon season, runs from May to October. During this time, the weather is generally more stable, and transportation is less affected by weather-related issues. However, due to the high temperatures, vehicles and equipment may experience increased wear and tear. Additionally, the dry season is typically the time when farmers in Mozambique harvest their crops, which can lead to an increased demand for trucks and other transportation to transport the crops to market. 

Overall, the rainy season can have a significant impact on transportation in Mozambique, as flooding and landslides can disrupt travel and damage infrastructure. The dry season is generally more stable for transportation, but it can also have its own set of challenges, such as increased wear and tear on vehicles and equipment, and increased demand for transportation during harvest time. 

Seasonal Effects on Storage and Handling 

Activity Type 

Time Frame 

Comments / Details 



During the rainy season, more frequent aeration is required due to increased humidity inside warehouses. Insect infestation can increase during the rainy season. 



Open-air handling of food commodities is not advisable during the wet season for obvious reasons; thus, being restricted to covered loading and unloading bays. 



In some cases, when transporting food from coastal areas of Mozambique and South Africa that need to cross highlands, commodities may be affected by condensation. 

In Mozambique, the rainy season can have a significant impact on commodity handling and storage activities. The heavy rainfall and high humidity can cause damage to goods that are stored outside or in poorly ventilated warehouses. Additionally, the flooding and landslides that can occur during the rainy season can disrupt transportation and make it difficult for goods to be transported to and from warehouses. 

As a result, it may be necessary for businesses involved in commodity handling and storage to take measures to protect their goods during the rainy season. This may include moving goods to more secure and better ventilated warehouses, or using waterproof packaging to protect goods from damage. Additionally, it may be necessary to pre-stock before the rainy season to ensure that there is enough inventory to meet demand during the period when transportation is disrupted. 

On the other hand, during the dry season, transportation is generally less affected by weather-related issues, and the ports and airports are typically less congested. This makes it easier for goods to be transported to and from warehouses and production facilities, and for businesses to meet demand for their products. However, as the dry season is also the time when most of the agricultural activities take place, there may be an increase in demand for certain goods, such as packaging materials for crops. As a result, it may be necessary to pre-stock before the dry season to ensure that there is enough inventory to meet demand. 

Capacity and Contacts for In-Country Emergency Response 


In Mozambique, the government has a range of agencies and ministries that are involved in emergency response efforts. The main agency responsible for coordinating the government's response to emergencies is the National Institute for Disaster Risk Management and Reduction (Instituto Nacional de Gestão e Redução do Risco de Desastres - INGD), which works closely with other government agencies such as the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Transport and Communications. The INGD is responsible for leading the government's efforts to prepare for, respond to, and recover from emergencies, including natural disasters, health crises, and complex humanitarian emergencies. 

The government of Mozambique also cooperates with the humanitarian community in emergency response efforts. International organizations such as the United Nations and international NGOs are often invited to participate in emergency response efforts and are invited to take part in government-led emergency response coordination mechanisms. 

The use of military and civil defence assets in emergency response operations is not a regular practice in Mozambique. The government primarily relies on its emergency services and civil protection agencies to respond to emergencies. In the event of a large-scale emergency, the government may request support from neighbouring countries through the SADC Standby Force, or other international organizations. However, there are legal and operational limitations that would need to be addressed before using these assets for relief operations. 

For more information on government contact details, please see the following link:

4.1 Government Contact List 


In Mozambique, the humanitarian structure is led by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) which serves as the primary coordinating body for humanitarian efforts in the country. The OCHA is responsible for leading the humanitarian response, including the development and implementation of the Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) and the coordination of the efforts of international humanitarian organizations, the government and local partners. 

Some of the key humanitarian agencies operating in Mozambique are the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the World Food Programme (WFP), and Oxfam. These agencies have been working in the country for many years and have a wide range of ongoing programs in place to address the humanitarian needs of the population. For example, the ICRC is providing clean water, sanitation, and health care services to communities affected by natural disasters and armed conflict. The WFP is providing food assistance to people affected by food insecurity and malnutrition, while Oxfam is working to improve access to clean water and sanitation and supporting the most vulnerable communities. 

Other important humanitarian actors include the International Organization for Migration (IOM), which is assisting internally displaced persons (IDPs) and returnees, while the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) is working to improve access to education and health services for children. These agencies are working closely with the government and local partners to ensure that the most vulnerable communities are reached with the necessary aid and support. Additionally, NGOs such as CARE, Mercy Corps, and Plan International are also active in the country aiding the most affected communities. 

For more information on humanitarian agency contact details, please see the following link:

4.2 Humanitarian Agency Contact List 

Jump to top