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Defending Paradise: Cyclones, fires, flooding rains and rising sea levels

Workshop on Disaster Risk Management for Cultural Heritage


Ilha Blue manager Fahar Afai took time off from his busy schedule to participate in a UNESCO / GACIM sponsored 4 day workshop on Disaster Risk Management for Cultural Heritage. Understanding of the problem is very important because Ilha de Mozambique is particularly vulnerable, the island is exposed to significant risks particularly from natural disasters:

· Cyclones

· Fire

· Heavy rain

· Sea level rise

These risks are mainly a consequence of human activity, particularly the burning of fossil fuel which has led to climate change.

This is not a situation that Mozambique has created. It is the industrialised countries that have been burning fossil fuels to generate electricity for manufacturing that have created this problem.

“But what can we do? We can’t control the situation, we can’t ignore it, but we have to do something”.

Facilitators Rohit & Pilale discussed the Declaration of Universal Value Exceptional (VUE). This was followed by an Introduction to basic terminology related to disasters and climate risks.

Participants were invited to share their personal experiences, and many remembered the example of Cyclone Gombe in 2022. The devastation it caused and the important role that small enterprises played by provided boats, workers and assisting in coordination of the clean-up operations.

In the workshop a map was presented showing the predicted sea level in 2060. If it comes true much of the island will be inundated with rising tides, particularly Macuti town which already experiences regular flooding.

Participants were then divided into groups for fieldwork and sent out to do observations and data collection on key risks and vulnerabilities. The results of these field observations were presented back to the participants and risk analysis exercises conducted.

Consideration was given to the integrated management of disaster and climate risks to heritage with strategies for:

  • Mitigation

  • Adaptation and

  • Preparedness

Evaluation methodology integrated management of disaster and climate risks to heritage.

The importance of developing mitigation strategies was discussed with group exercises focused on adaptation and preparation for risk scenarios, response to emergencies and first aid for heritage


There can be no doubt that Ilha de Mozambique faces significant challenges from climate change, but the island is special, there is a real sense of community and people will come together to get through better than other destinations faced with similar issues. Ilha Blue was proud to be represented at the meeting by Fahar, as a community focused enterprise we can contribute in many ways and this workshop has helped us better understand and be prepared for the challenges ahead.


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