NEWS

Climate recovery in Beira: sustainable water and sanitation access for a more resilient city

Themes: Climate change Water
Countries: Mozambique

In the aftermath of Cyclone Idai, WSUP has been delivering sustainable, long-term water and sanitation solutions to help mitigate the effects of climate change for thousands of residents in Beira.

In March 2019 Cyclone Idai caused devastation across Mozambique, including in the city of Beira which suffered from widespread flooding and severe damage to its water network. A major relief operation saw many residents housed in resettlement camps with limited access to clean water and safe sanitation facilities.

With the support of Borealis and the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, WSUP has been working to restore and improve water and sanitation services for low-income residents in the most affected districts of Beira.

Throughout this work WSUP has been focusing on creating more resilient services to ensure that, as climate change makes extreme weather like cyclones more common, vulnerable residents in Beira have sustainable access to clean water and safe sanitation.

WSUP’s work with water utility FIPAG has improved water access for residents of resettlement camps like Ancha Luis. Credit: Stand Up Media

Extending the water network to underserved areas

A key part of WSUP’s work in Beira has been supporting the local water utility FIPAG to extend their water network and provide an improved water supply for their low-income customers. Alongside the utility staff we worked to extend the network to the most underserved areas of the city, particularly areas unable to supply water to additional residents resettled after the cyclone.

This has helped residents like Ancha Luis, a Beira resident currently living in a resettlement camp, access a reliable source of water.

“Every day we faced many challenges to clean ourselves. There was a shortage of water for drinking, washing clothes including the dishes. Now the search for water has become a lot better compared to when we first arrived. We used to have to walk from Block C to Block A, as the resettlement camp is divided in blocks.”

Rehabilitation of the existing water network in Beira is helping ensure a more reliable water service for Joao Manuel. Credit: Stand Up Media

Ensuring the reliability of the existing water network

WSUP has supported FIPAG to rehabilitate 112km of the existing network, including repairing and replacing worn pipes. WSUP helped facilitate communication between FIPAG and the community to promote the benefits of the project and raise awareness of the necessary requirements for households to get a potable water connection. This has helped to provide a more reliable service for low-income customers, ensuring existing water connections can continue to serve residents in the future.

This work has proved crucial for water connections in resettlement camps where large increases in the number of residents after the cyclone meant water fountains could initially only run for a few hours a day. Joao Manuel, a community chief living in a resettlement camp, recalls the dire situation in the days after the cyclone.

“When we arrived here, there was no water. We spent about 15 to 20 days without water and when we did get access it wasn’t enough for everyone.”

In the longer term, WSUP is working with FIPAG to extend water connections in peri-urban communities which are unserved, using high quality PE100 pipes.

WSUP has been supporting members of community-based organisations like Domingos Mafunga to ensure their organisations are able to help affected residents. Credit: Stand Up Media

Supporting community-based organisations serving vulnerable communities

WSUP has also been supporting community-based organisations that are directly supporting the most vulnerable communities in Beira to access water and sanitation services. This has included rebuilding the offices of these organisations and providing training to increase their capacity to support residents struggling in the aftermath of the cyclone.

For Domingos Mafunga, Coordinator of the Vision for Community Development Association, a community-based organisation supporting residents in Beira, WSUP’s support has been vital in ensuring his team can promote good sanitation and hygiene practices to displaced residents.

“The biggest challenge we all face is sanitation. It is a critical activity, because the majority of the population come from rural areas, so they are not used to an urban lifestyle.”

Learn more about our work in Mozambique