Tip: Activate javascript to be able to use all functions of our website

A new living standard for the center of Beira

Beira is located in a bay on the Indian Ocean and at the mouth of the River Pungue in the centre of Mozambique. The city and its 600,000 residents have a special relationship with the sea, with the majority of its economy based on fishery and the large port. However, the sea also has its risks. With the onset of climate change, the coastal city is increasingly under threat of flooding and coastal erosion.

The effects are already making themselves known, with poorer sections of the population suffering most. Cheizin Mussa, who lives in the fishing village of Praia Nova, tells of how a large section of her village's shoreline has been swallowed by the sea – and that her home is also at risk of disappearing into the waves soon. When asked why the coast is changing so much, she explains: "Temperatures are rising, the sea is getting closer and closer." Climate change has slowly become a talking point among all citizens of Beira.

The historic city centre is surrounded by mostly informal, poor settlements, often in risk-laden locations. One such settlement is Goto, which has sprung up in the middle of the banks of the River Chiveve and is now home to over 10,000 residents. Though it may sound idyllic, reality tells a different story. Chaimel Calido, an 18-year-old trainee welder, explains that rainfall has got increasingly worse over recent years, regularly flooding the district. "We have to wade through the mud to get to work; we don't have wellington boots. Children are getting ill and coming down with diarrhoea, headaches and malaria," explains Calido.

An african woman shows with her broom the water level of the last flooding
A Beira woman shows up to where the floods have been going in the past. A number of new safeguards are supposed to increase protection against rising water levels.

The mayor of Beira, Daviz Simango, confirms the city's precarious situation: "Every year, 1,000 people here die of cholera as a result of flooding. During the rainy season, many people are forced to leave their homes after flooding.”

To reduce the risk of flooding and other climate effects in Beira, KfW Development Bank on behalf of the German government financed the rehabilitation of the Chiveve, a tidal river. During the project, solid waste and sediment were removed from the 3.7-km river that runs through the centre of Beira. A set of tidal gates were also built to open the river back out into the Indian Ocean, restoring the Chiveve's role as a drainage facility. As a result, rain water from areas like the Goto settlement in the upper reaches of the river will reach the sea a lot quicker. This is an effective way to tackle the stagnant, contaminated water and the diseases it helps to spread.

The second phase will see KfW Development Bank working with the World Bank to develop the green area that runs along the Chiveve. The creation of an urban park aims to protect the mangrove-lined river from further urbanisation, give residents access to a sustainable area for their leisure time, and also generate economic incentives for local neighbourhoods. The plan also aims to increase biodiversity in the river and on the banks of the Rio Chiveve in an effort to make an additional contribution to adjustments to climate change.

The project's impact has been further reinforced thanks to a range of partnerships. For example, KfW is working with GIZ to improve waste collection and tertiary rain drainage in Goto and has also collaborated with the local non-governmental organisation ADEL to reforest the mangroves.

Overall, the measure is increasing Beira's resilience to the consequences of climate change. By restoring the Chiveve's role as a natural drainage system, the city is better adapted to climate change, heavy rainfall and rising sea levels. As a result, the project is creating important underlying conditions for the enhancement of the entire urban area. It is becoming a safe and attractive environment for the people who live and work there. With the general renovations to the city centre, the city is generating incentives for urban renewal measures.

Read moreKfW Stories