Mozambique cyclone leaves thousands homeless
A tropical cyclone that hit central Mozambique over the weekend has displaced thousands of people and caused severe flooding in an area battered by two deadly cyclones in 2019, response teams and aid agencies said.
Cyclone Eloise made landfall in the early hours on Saturday, bringing high-speed winds followed by torrential rain over the port city of Beira, capital of Mozambique’s Sofala province, and the adjacent Buzi district.
Almost 7,000 people have been displaced and over 5,000 houses destroyed or damaged in the area, the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said yesterday, citing preliminary government figures.
National emergency response teams on Sunday confirmed six fatalities and 12 serious injuries, and the death toll rose to at least 12 yesterday, according to figures from authorities across south-eastern Africa.
“So many places are flooded already and it’s getting worse,” said United Nations’ children’s agency UNICEF Mozambique spokesperson Daniel Timme.
He also said the cyclone had disproportionately affected the city’s poorer neighborhoods, where homes made of tarpaulin and corrugated iron were swept up by winds.
Hundreds have taken refuge in a school and were in urgent need of food, medicine and proper shelter.
Eloise hit an area previously devastated by two successive super-storms in March and April 2019. The first, Cyclone Idai, killed more than 1,000 people and caused damage estimated at around US$2 billion.
Timme said aid workers were scrambling to provide safe drinking water and avoid cholera, which broke out in temporary shelters across Beira around two weeks after Idai hit.
The agency estimates 176,000 people have been “severely affected” by Eloise, half of them children.