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The African Development Bank (AfDB) has called for urgent global action in the wake of a second cyclone to hit the southern Africa coastal region in six weeks. 

“We must have concerted international cooperation to establish management systems and responses to combat natural disaster,” commended the bank’s President, Akinwumi Adesina.

Cyclone Kenneth is the most extreme tropical tornado to hit Mozambique in the last 60 years, according to official records.

“Timely intervention of national, regional and international actors and stakeholders are crucial when disaster strikes. Increasingly, Africa’s ecological challenges will only be successfully tackled through the harmony of efforts and activities of continental and global institutions,” Adesina said.

Cyclone Kenneth ripped through Comoros and Mozambique last week and is likely to cause extreme flooding in areas where more than 70,000 people live, according to the country’s National Directorate for the Management of Water Resources.

Disaster strikes twice

On 15 March, cyclone Idai began pounding Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe and impacted the livelihoods of more than 3 million people.

The official death toll now stands at 1,007, with 602 killed in Mozambique, 344 in Zimbabwe, 60 in Malawi and one in Madagascar, according to relief agencies.

Infrastructural damage from Idai across Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe is estimated to be at least $1 billion.

“We are on the brink of an unprecedented humanitarian crisis. We need to brace up for post-cyclone flooding, landslides and disease outbreaks,” Adesina warned.

Speaking from Maputo, Mozambique’s capital on an official visit to the affected areas, Mateus Magala, Vice President for corporate services and human resources said, “What we saw on the ground in Mozambique after Idai, and in camps housing internally displaced persons in the south of Malawi, shows that we need to focus on restoring the dignity of citizens and the economic stability of communities when disaster strikes.”

Emergency Recovery Fund

Magala revealed that the AfDB has set up an Emergency Recovery Fund, which will disburse $100 million to jumpstart reconstruction efforts in Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

The bank is also planning to redirect funding, totaling $1.4 million, to the immediate relief effort, reallocated from savings and extensions of ongoing bank projects in Malawi’s water, roads and agriculture sectors. 

The bank’s Climate Fund will also release $150,000 to Malawi to enable authorities to assist communities and internally displaced persons impacted by the cyclone.

The AfDB’s long-term plans include designing and developing mechanisms for climate insurance and mitigating climate change.