From January 21st to January 23rd  Cyclone Eloise struck near the port-city of Beira in Mozambique. Although not as intense as Cyclone Idai in 2019, Eloise caused major flooding, landfall and damage to the coastal areas of central Mozambique. 

eLEAF is the provider of agriculture index insurance services to Hollard Mozambique, covering both drought and excess rainfall. Hence, we have been closely monitoring the situation with up-to-date information in order to assess the cyclone’s impact.

Using a pool of different data sources (from high frequency-low resolution to low frequency-high resolution), we were able to track the cyclone’s path every hour, compare the total amount of rainfall received to the long-term average and also detect areas that have been affected by flooding.

Figure 1 Above – Meteosat Image over Mozambique – 23/01/2021


Using radar data from Sentinel 1, we notice that the flooding is limited to the coastal areas and river banks close to Beira, the area which was hit harder by the cyclone.

With most of the insured farmers being further inland, we do not expect direct impact from flooding, but mainly from extreme amounts of rainfall.

Cyclone Eloise Figure 2 Sentinel 1 Images Before And After The Event Showing The Flooded Areas Close To Beira, Hollard Moz Broker

Figure 2 – Sentinel 1 images before and after the event, showing the flooded areas close to Beira

Excess rainfall

Nevertheless, the rainfall levels received during the event were well above average. The map in Figure 3, shows total rainfall on January 22nd, overlaid by some farm locations where insurance is offered. In the region of Beira, up to 112mm of rainfall has been recorded in a single day.

We look in more detail to some of the farms where the rainfall levels were highest. Specifically, the total rainfall received during the event (21 to 23 January) in five random farm locations (within the circled area on the map) was compared to satellite-based rainfall statistics from 1981 to date. The graph below shows that the rainfall volume exceeds by far the expected -for this period- levels. In fact, Eloise ranks in the top 3 most extreme rainfall events since 1981, with the worst being Cyclone Funso in 2012.

Cyclone Eloise Figure 3 CHIRPS Daily Rainfall 22012021, Hollard Moz Broker

Figure 3 – CHIRPS daily rainfall 22/01/2021

Figure 4, Hollard Moz Broker

Figure 4 – Total rainfall received in 5 sample locations between 21st and 23rd of January with respect to the statistical distribution of rainfall of the same period over the last 40 years. Major events in 2000, 2012 and 2021 are shown for comparison.

Thanks to the index insurance provided by Hollard Mozambique, the seeds of all insured farmers will be 100% replaced if the damage induced exceeds the predetermined by each policy level. Mozambique was classified in the most recent report of GermanWatch as the most vulnerable country in the world to extreme climatic risks: We believe that appropriate insurance cover is a key part of the risk coping mechanisms that are required to reduce vulnerability of smallholder agricultural farmers in Mozambique. Our current index product was developed with the support of the Global Index Insurance Fund of the World Bank Group. Currently, we have 3 main schemes with Phoenix Seeds, the Sustenta Project and the R4 Rural Resilience Initiative of the World Food Programme.

Seeds Pre-Paid Insurance

Through our USAID/FINTRAC index insurance distribution project of Phoenix Seeds and NCBA CLUSA, we have covered food crops for some of the smallholder farmers of iDE, International Committee of the Red Cross, MLTC, NCBA CLUSA, Parque Nacional do Gorongosa, Plan International, Portucel and World Vision. We are also very excited about our growing portfolio of numerous individuals that bought their seeds directly from the agro-dealer network of Phoenix Seeds that come with automatic pre-paid climatic insurance. For the next season, we shall explore ways to expand coverage of this market segment and contribute to increase of farmers accessing high quality formal seed market systems with supporting awareness material of our traditional storybook (Ngano), which is informed by indigenous knowledge systems.

Hollard Mozambique and eLEAF offer drought and excess rainfall insurance via seeds purchase since 2020. For more information contact Israel Muchena or Eleni Vakaki.

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