Catastrophic floods barreled through the lower Limpopo valley and other parts of southern Mozambique in 2013, leaving a trail of despair that claimed the lives of 113 people and displaced some 172,600 people. Some villages, including Chókwè, were completely cut off. Others were only accessible by boat.
“The water rose to 3 meters,” said Simon Nhumaio, a Chókwè resident. “We stayed [on the rooftop] until [local authorities] came to rescue us.” Nowadays, however, he’s proudly – and literally – laying the foundation of a more resilient Chókwè.
Nhumaio is working for a private sector implementing partner of the Roads and Bridges Management and Maintenance Program. With a combined investment of nearly $110 million from the Climate Investment Funds (CIF) and the World Bank, this initiative is working to rehabilitate flood-damaged roads and vital infrastructure in the southern province of Gaza, where an estimated 70% of transportation networks have been impacted by floods.
As part of the project, nearly 300 kilometers of roads and other vital infrastructure will be fitted with climate-resilient upgrades to spur economic growth and place 6.1 million rural Mozambicans on a resilient development path. One critical upgrade is the use of geocells, or high-density plastic webbing, to evenly distribute road stresses while reducing cracking and water seepage.
“I am very happy with what I’m doing here, particularly because I’m contributing to a road which is much better than it was before,” said a beaming Nhumaio. “I’ve been able to improve my home. I am able to not only provide for my family but also send my kids to school.”
There are 60 people working with Simon at the site. Eleven of them are women, including Epifania Nhumaia. She says the income she earns there supports her six-month-old child and the reconstruction of her six-person family home, which was destroyed during the 2013 floods.
Nhumaia is proud that her work will prevent another catastrophe in her community.
Connecting neighborhoods that were isolated due to damaged roads
Introducing climate-proof infrastructure guidelines into national policies
Providing local employment opportunities
Encouraging women to take advantage of employment opportunities
Improving infrastructure to better respond to floods and droughts
Piloting new approach to mainstream world wide
km of roads climate-proofed
improved standards for road infrastructure
construction workers in Chókwè