Mozambique is not only one of the most exposed countries to tropical storms in Africa, but also one of the world’s most vulnerable countries to the effects of climate change. Frequent natural disasters negatively impact the agricultural sector and household livelihoods, and push thousands of people into poverty and hunger.
Mozambique was hit by Tropical Storm Ana on 24 January 2022 and Tropical Cyclone Gombe on 11 March 2022. These extreme weather events caused floods, damages to infrastructure (including roads and electricity poles), the evacuation of several thousands of people to temporary shelters, and the deaths of dozens of people. Furthermore, agriculture in these areas of the country was significantly impacted. Since the beginning of the rainy season up till now, it is reported that a total 220 425 hectares of crops have been lost (OCHA, 2022d).
In this context, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Geospatial Unit of the Land and Water Division (NSL) conducted a rapid geospatial assessment on crops and the exposure of rural people during the period 01 – 20 March 2022. This assessment provides information at the district and administrative posto levels.
This analysis combines Sentinel 1 (S1) Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) and Sentinel 2 (S2) imagery (both at a 10 m spatial resolution) with Planet imagery (5 m spatial resolution) and 2020 population data from Worldpop (100 m spatial resolution) to determine: (1) flood extent; (2) cropland area; (3) flooded crop area; and (4) exposure of population to flooded cropland for the period 01 – 20 March 2022. The results are provided in the form of maps by administrative units and tabular with descriptive statistics for the aforementioned indicators. With recent advances in geospatial and information technologies and updated land cover maps, crop specific information adapted to national conditions with tailored field campaigns have the potential to better support response programmes and agricultural development in the future.
The key findings from this rapid assessment are that for Area of Interest (AOI): 1) a total of forty-six (46) districts and one hundred and eleven (111) administrative postos have been impacted by Cyclone Gombe; 2) a total 1 327 376 ha of cropland is determined within the AOI; 3) a total of 238 266 ha of land area has been inundated by floods; 4) a total of 20 496 ha of cropland has been inundated by floods; and 5) considering the population, Nicoadala, Namacurra, Macuze, Maquival are the main administrative postos that have highest exposure of people to floods (504, 268, 222, and 132 square meter per person respectively).
This analysis builds on FAO experience in assessing impacts from natural hazards to the agricultural sector and highlights the importance to of regularly updating geospatial information for vulnerability and impact assessments in support to preparedness and response programs. The accuracy of the results provided can be improved by combining additional information, such as agricultural statistics, and field data.