This International Biological Diversity Day is a proud one for us. Today, we have pledged to provide a financial contribution of 2 million MZN (US$32,000) to help reconstruct the School of Marine and Coastal Sciences of Eduardo Mondlane University (UEM-ESCMC) in Quelimane, Mozambique, after it was severely damaged by Cyclone Freddy in March 2023.
The cyclone has affected over one million people in Mozambique, causing floods, cholera outbreaks, and significant damage to infrastructure. At UEM-ESCMC, approximately 500 graduate-level students specializing in marine sciences are unable to continue their regular classwork due to damages to their classrooms and laboratory facilities.
Since 2021, we have been working closely with two divisions of UEM, the School of Marine and Coastal Sciences and the Center for Marine Research and Technology, on designing the MozBlue project. The project involves restoring and protecting 140,000 Hectares of at-risk mangroves across 10 districts in Sofala and Zambezia provinces, central Mozambique.
The Amphitheatre Chuabo Dembe, which has the capacity to host 120 students daily, is the first structure to be rebuilt as part of this project. Blue Forest and UEM ESCMC are working jointly to ensure that construction teams will incorporate cyclone-resistant building methods so that roofing and infrastructure is more resilient to the impacts of future climate disasters.
Through this investment, we aim to empower the next generation of marine scientists and make them better equipped to tackle the threats of climate change, including cyclones. The benefits of rebuilding the ESCMC will serve not only the school, but the wider community. Our hope is that the more scientists that are trained, the greater the contribution will be to the restoration and protection of the mangroves in Mozambique.