Mozambique’s Beira City ‘Returning to Life’ Needs Your Support

Ongoing Cyclone Idai response targeting 3 million people in three countries remains critically underfunded.

Nearly one month after Cyclone Idai slammed into the southeast African coast, the streets of Mozambique’s busy port city of Beira are “returning to life” as the search for survivors continues throughout neighboring Zimbabwe.

Acting proactively to this disaster, Webster Vienna’s Center for Liberal Arts organized on April 24th a Marlene Rutzendorfer’s “Keystone Seminar: City Life - Cities in Transition” course student’s attended the seminar: “Cyclone Idai and post-disaster recovery in times of climate change”. The host, Dr. Valentin Seidler, developmental economist and former representative of the Austrian Red Cross to the EU Commission in Brussels discussed how to build strategies for short-term relief and long-term development.

Dr. Valentin Seidler explained the students that “Cyclone Idai made landfall on the night of March 14th near Beira City in central Mozambique, affecting large areas with heavy rains and flash flooding. This quickly escalated into a tropical storm. Hundreds of people have lost their lives, significant damage was caused to the infrastructure of Beira and surrounding areas, and both livelihoods and properties have been destroyed throughout Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi”.

Students were particularly interested in how a largely destroyed port city like Beira would be able to deal with the immediate devastation, lack of clean water and health facilities. Back in Beira, schools are beginning to relocate the internally-displaced families who sheltered in classrooms during the first hours of the cyclone.    

Drawing on his previous experience, Dr. Seidler discussed the strategies of international organizations, such as the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, to support some 200,000 people with shelter, water, sanitation, hygiene, health, assisting them in securing their livelihoods and meeting basic needs.

On April 28th, another Cyclone Kenneth hit Mozambique. The destruction caused by Cyclone Kenneth, the strongest storm on record to hit Mozambique, may require another massive aid effort in a country still reeling from the Idai tropical cyclone. Cyclone Kenneth may require a major new humanitarian operation at the same time that the ongoing Cyclone Idai response targeting 3 million people in three countries remains critically underfunded.


Dr. Seidler is an economic historian and a developmental economist who has worked in post-earthquake relief operations in Indonesia and Italy, as well as in post-conflict humanitarian initiatives in Kosovo. From 2007 to 2009, Dr. Seidler served as a representative of the Austrian Red Cross to the EU Commission in Brussels. He has previously worked in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Mozambique, Moldova, Romania, East Timor and Cambodia and is now Erwin Schrödinger Fellow at the University of Vienna and a Resident Fellow at the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Digital History. He teaches Development Economics at the University of Vienna, and at the Diplomatic Academy in Vienna. 


Your help is needed, please donate via:

The Austrian Red Cross has opened a donation account for the emergency response to Cyclone Idai:

Erste Bank:IBAN: AT57 2011 1400 1440 0144

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