Cyclone Eloise, which lost its force, hit the port city of Beira early on Saturday, but the danger of flooding remains.
Tropical Cyclone Eloise made landfall near the Mozambique port city of Beira, which was devastated by Cyclone Idai less than two years ago.
“Beira suffered slight damage, but it is too early to quantify the extent and scale of the destruction,” Luisa Meque, president of the National Institute for Disaster Risk Management and Reduction (INGD ) from Mozambique, in a television interview with the national television channel TVM.
The South African Meteorological Department said Eloise made landfall around 2:30 a.m., with wind speeds of 160 kilometers (99 miles) per hour. The cyclone has since lost strength and has been downgraded to a tropical storm, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
– Fahmida Miller (@FahmidaMiller) 23 January 2021
Cars were submerged in water, the walls of some low-rise buildings collapsed and swathes of land were flooded in Beira, messages on Twitter showed.
Beira was the epicenter of Idai’s damage in March 2019, which ravaged the country’s second-largest city and killed more than 1,000 people in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe.
Fahmida Miller, of Al Jazeera, reporting from Johannesburg, said the affected area is where “people live in informal settlements, houses made of plastic sheeting. [and] corrugated sheet “.
“It appears that hundreds of these homes were destroyed by the cyclone, and these people are still seeking shelter in places like schools,” Miller said.
She added that the flooding is expected to continue for the next 72 hours, adding that areas outside Beira have also been badly affected.
“Aid agencies cannot come out… there are a lot of concerns about the ability of aid agencies as well as government to help people.”
Mozambique’s National Meteorological Institute (INAM) said Sofala province, which includes Beira, saw 200mm (8 inches) of rain and was likely to see an additional 100mm of rain over the next 24 hours.
Power supplies were cut as the cyclone damaged power lines and uprooted some utility poles, power company EDM said, local digital news outlet A Carta reported.
“The cyclone is still in the territory of Mozambique and should be released at 8 pm today,” Gorkhmaz Huseynov, head of the Mozambican delegation to the International Federation of the Red Cross, told Reuters news agency.
On Friday evening, WMO had transformed the storm, fed by the warm waters of the Indian Ocean from the Mozambique Channel, into a tropical cyclone of a force equivalent to a category two storm. Category two strength – on a scale of five levels – refers to hurricanes with maximum wind speeds of 154 to 177 km / h.
“By tomorrow it will be a tropical depression on land. At that time, the speed will be 60 km / h, ”Mbazhi Maliage, forecaster with the South African Weather Service, told Reuters.
The meteorological department said on its official Twitter account that more than 200mm of rain was expected from Saturday evening to Monday in parts of the South African provinces of Mpumalanga and Kwa-Zulu Natal and in the South African kingdom of eSwatini .
⚠️🌀ELOISE is expected to reach tropical cyclone status and make landfall near Beira in Mozambique. It is then expected to become a terrestrial depression and bring heavy rains over eastern parts of South Africa. Take a look at the warning zones below. pic.twitter.com/zSvbnATpiz
– SA Weather Service (@SAWeatherServic) January 22, 2021
Before the cyclone arrived, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies warned that at least 100,000 people would be affected.
“Heavy rains will persist for more than 24 hours,” he said. “The amount of rain will be sufficient to flood the low areas of Beira and Buzi. Further flooding could occur days later as accumulated water flows along the Pungue and Buzi rivers from Zimbabwe. “