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Conflict, gender inequality and disasters: how to respond

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by Suzy Madigan

As Cyclone Kenneth roared towards Cabo Delgado in northern Mozambique, residents of one archipelago island brushed off warnings transmitted through the ‘radio communitaria’: a government official riding a bicycle across the island yelling information through a megaphone. Five weeks earlier, Cyclone Idai had hit central Mozambique. Two cyclones of that magnitude in one season was unheard of.

Cynicism quickly turned to disbelief. As Kenneth ripped up everything in its path, islanders hunkered down in collective shelters as their homes were destroyed. One man described rushing his family to safety at the island’s colonial stone fort and seeing the crowd followed by a line of panicked donkeys seeking shelter. Another woman told us how she watched people’s savings scattering in the wind – with limited access to formal banking, islanders hide their money under rocks.

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