Shocks linked to climate disasters are increasingly understood as intertwined with inequities, devastating livelihoods, exacerbating food insecurities and impacting migration economies. Yet there is often a lack of sustained and situated attention to how these–and diverse secondary and tertiary shocks–are experienced in relation to gender and class inequalities, other social differences and underlying forces shaping differentiated mobility-related challenges over time. Divergent experiences and histories of shocks are often simplified, with (im)mobility-related struggles misunderstood or only abstractly represented. Amid these concerns, this article explores the ‘mobilities turn’ in climate disaster research, focusing on experiences articulated by people along the Zimbabwe-Mozambique border, examining multiple impacts of climate disasters and changing dynamics of (im)mobility converging with pandemic shocks and interrelated political and socio-economic struggles. In this region, impacted by one of the world’s most severe tropical cyclones in recent memory, we explore the embeddedness of shocks in dynamic political-economic landscapes and life trajectories. Part of a multi-method 5-year project, we focus on stories where articulations around mobilities, translocal connections and mobility disruptions, including from COVID-19, call for carefully understanding socio-economic ties and histories, land alienation and access inequities, mutating meanings of borders, and factors intensifying economic insecurities amid increasingly severe and frequent climate shocks.


This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Cite as

Spiegel, S., Kachena, L. & Gudhlanga, J. 2022, 'Climate disasters, altered migration and pandemic shocks: (Im)Mobilities and interrelated struggles in a border region', Mobilities. https://doi.org/10.1080/17450101.2022.2099756

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Last updated: 18 May 2023
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