In Focus: The Calm Before the Storm


Before a natural disaster hits in the United States, most Americans learn about incoming dangerous weather events through mobile phone weather apps, weather websites, radios, and televisions. But in many developing countries, people are often unprepared when a storm hits.

The consequences can be dire. In a country that is particularly vulnerable to natural disasters, damages caused by flooding are expected to cost Mozambique approximately $45 million by 2030, and caused more than 2,000 deaths between 1956 and 2008.

To help citizens avoid being caught unaware, USAID’s Coastal City Adaptation Project has launched the 3-2-1 service in Mozambique. The new service offers any citizen with a mobile phone free access to pertinent weather information through SMS or calls, and suggested ways to protect individuals and property.

Although the use of mobile phones to disseminate weather information isn’t unique to Mozambique, the extent to which it is integrated into the country’s existing disaster management system certainly is. By incorporating the 3-2-1 service as part of a coordinated approach, Mozambique’s National Disasters Management Institute could save the government significant amounts of money on repairs — not to mention lives and livelihoods.

In Focus is an occasional series highlighting photos from Chemonics’ work around the world.

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