On December 11, 2023 at 2pm, Uacitissa Mandamule will present her thesis entitled "When the elements rage: Displacement and resettlement of populations affected by Cyclone Idai and flooding in Búzi (Mozambique)". The defense will take place at the Laboratoire Population Environnement Développement, at Aix-Marseille University, with a jury comprising Sandrine Revet, Jacques Véron, Michel Cahen, Stéphanie Duvail and Valérie Golaz.
If you wish to attend in person, please let us know before 06/12 to obtain access to the campus (firstname.lastname@example.org). A zoom link is provided for those who would like to attend remotely:
Meeting ID: 864 7742 0143
Secret code: 13003
This thesis focuses on one of Mozambique's greatest disasters: cyclone Idai and the floods that followed, in March 2019. Using a combination of different methods (interviews, observations, analysis of documents and reports, cartography, ...), we sought to understand the representations and practices around population displacement, the logics of public policies for resettlement outside the floodplain and the adequacy of this policy with the needs of the populations.
The research carried out in Búzi shows that the resettlement of populations in non-flood zones is part of the continuity of the authoritarian modernization policy pursued by the Mozambican state during the radical socialist period (1975-1990). Behind the rhetoric of providing security for populations living on flood plains, this policy had other objectives, such as securing control over a territory, winning back the electorate in an opposition zone, reinforcing the state's authoritarian hold over the population, or taking advantage of resources from humanitarian aid.
In the face of these ill-conceived humanitarian policies, power strategies are played out between the various players to take advantage of the influx of aid and the reorganization of the territories. Displacement is a source of social change, mostly unfavorable to many households that used to benefit from the floodplain, but also favorable to more vulnerable categories of the population (women and young people) who are becoming empowered. This work calls for a rethinking of responses to so-called "natural" disasters, which will become more frequent, to better take into account the practices, needs and aspirations of the inhabitants of the territories concerned.
Keywords: cyclone Idai; floods; disasters; resettlement; authoritarian modernization; Mozambique.