Dutch-Mozambican consortium to protect Beira against coastal flooding

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The Netherlands Enterprise Agency has appointed a consortium comprising Royal HaskoningDHV, Deltares, Witteveen+Bos, Metier, and Partners for Resilience to enhance the Mozambican City of Beira’s coastal resilience to extreme climate events.

In 2019, Beira was devastated by Cyclone Idai, which killed more than 750 people, damaged 90% of the City’s infrastructure, including the country’s main port, and left entire areas under water. This event has triggered a stimulus to activate support and resources to implement interventions to strengthen the City’s readiness to mitigate, respond to, and recover from the future impacts of natural disasters and climate change.

The Coastal Protection Project aims to develop a strategy to protect Beira and its over 600,000 citizens against sea hazards, flooding, and other climate-related disasters. It forms part of the climate resilience component of the 'Cyclone Idai and Kenneth Emergency Recovery and Resilience Project' (ERRP), which aims to support the recovery of public and private infrastructure and livelihoods while strengthening climate resilience in the areas most affected by Cyclones Idai and Kenneth. The ERRP is financed jointly by the World Bank and Netherlands Enterprise Agency.

The newly commissioned Coastal Protection Project entails the preparation of a feasibility study including a preliminary design for the selected preferred coastal protection scheme for Beira, and is financed by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency through the Develop2Build (D2B) programme, with Administração de Infra-Estruturas de Águas e Saneamento (AIAS) acting as implementing agency. The project scope also includes an Environmental Pre-Feasibility Study and Scoping Definition (EPDA) and the development of an Implementation Strategy for the next phases. 

In the eye of a storm

Because Beira is in a low-lying area, it is often battered by intensive rainfall and coastal flooding. The overarching goal of the project is to repair and strengthen the coastal protection infrastructure and integrate these interventions into the urban and natural environment. 

As leading consultant on the project, Royal HaskoningDHV, an independent international engineering and project management consultancy, will lead the overall project, design and project management process out of its offices in Mozambique and The Netherlands.

'Climate change, economic and population growth, coastal erosion, and urban sprawl has made Beira and its inhabitants more vulnerable than ever, especially to cyclones. A significant improvement of the coastal protection scheme is needed to provide sufficient protection for Beira against sea hazards for decades to come. This improvement aims to not only protect Beira and its citizens, but to also add value to the spatial quality and stimulate desired socioeconomic and nature developments', says Royal HaskoningDHV technical lead, Odelinde Nieuwenhuis. 'We are very happy that our team from Royal HaskoningDHV and our partners get to contribute to these goals, in close collaboration with RVO, World Bank and of course the local stakeholders.' 

Deltares, an independent institute for applied research in the field of water and subsoil, will be responsible for the hazard assessment, and will be involved in stakeholder management based on its network and previous project experiences in Beira and its in-depth knowledge of coastal erosion and flooding hazards.

Peter Letitre, Sr. Project Manager Deltares: 'It is a privilege to be working again in Beira as project and stakeholder lead on this exciting project together with our partners Royal HaskoningDHV, Witteveen+Bos, Metier and Partners for Resilience and to see that the Beira Master Plan 2035 is making an important step further to implementation. It is a challenge to bring together the Dutch expertise in hazard and risk assessment and to produce feasible options for coastal protection that will enhance the safety of the people in Beira, for now and the coming decades.'

Engineering and consultancy firm Witteveen+Bos will contribute to socio-economic assessments and the design process. Metier, a Mozambican consulting company with strong experience in infrastructure development and maintenance strategic and institutional issues in the region, will lead the institutional analysis and discussions. Finally, Partners for Resilience, led by the Netherlands Red Cross, will act as independent observer to ensure that the needs of local communities form the core of the coastal protection plan for Beira.