• The Eloise weather system is passing over Botswana, after bringing heavy rains to central Mozambique, south-eastern Zimbabwe and northern South Africa.
• Mozambique bore the brunt of the storm, which hit the country as a Tropical Cyclone on 23 January, affecting nearly 176,500 people, displacing more than 8,300 people and leaving 6 dead, according to initial data from the Government.
• Governments and humanitarian partners are working to assess the situation and respond to needs in areas hardest-hit by the storm.
After crossing Mozambique, south-eastern Zimbabwe and the northern districts of South Africa, the tropical weather system generated by Eloise, which has now transitioned into a low pressure storm, is currently passing over southern Botswana. Eloise is expected to dissipate on 26 or 27 January, according to MeteoFrance.
In Mozambique, where Tropical Cyclone Eloise made landfall on 23 January, flooding is still affecting the central region of the country, especially Buzi District, in Sofala Province. Cyclone Eloise has affected at least 176,475 people, including 8,363 displaced, according to initial data from the National Institute for Disaster Management and Risk Reduction (INGD), as of 24 January. Thirty-two accommodation centres have been activated in Sofala province: Beira (14 centres, 9,437 individuals), Nhamatanda (5 centres, 1,885 individuals), Buzi (10 centres, 3,344 individuals), and Machanga (3 centres, 854 individuals), according to IOM/INGD, while nine accommodation centres activated in Dondo and Muasa districts have been deactivated by INGD. INGD informed that more than 8,800 houses have been destroyed, damaged or flooded, mainly in Sofala Province, and over 160 classrooms and at least 26 health centres will need repairs. Some roads, mainly in Buzi district, but also in Sena and Makossa districts of Manica Province, are impassable, hampering access to some villages. More than 142,150 hectares of crops have been flooded, which could impact the next harvest in April. WFP has informed that, although more assessments are required to determine the full extent of needs, food assistance will be crucial in the aftermath of the storm.
In Zimbabwe, heavy rains impacted south eastern Zimbabwe on 24 January, according to the Department of Civil Protection (DCP), with 97 mm received in Nyanga, 62 mm in Chipinge, 50 mm in Buffalo Range, 46 mm in Beitbridge, and 45 mm in Mukandi. As of the evening of 24 January, in Masvingo’s Chiredzi district, Chilonga and Mpapa bridges remained flooded, with road access challenges reported in wards 1 to 13. The Save River’s water level has risen and is affecting access to some villages in wards 1 and 2. Spilling of the Tugwi Mukosi Dam in Masvingo Province, which reached its full capacity, has intensified and the Tugwi and Runde rivers are expected to rise higher, possibly affecting those in southern Chivi, Mwenezi and Chiredzi, downstream of the confluence of the rivers. However, while localized flooding and mudslides impacted communities in several locations, no major damage or destruction was reported. In Chipinge District, Manicaland Province, three people reportedly died after being swept away by flooded rivers, according to DCP, and 15 houses were damaged. In Chimanimani District, Manicaland Province, 267 people who are still internally displaced after Cyclone Idai were evacuated from their displacement sites to three centres: Lydia Chimonyo School (39 people); Mutambara School (74); and Nyanyadzi High School (61). Of the 74 people evacuated to Mutambara, 4 have tested positive for COVID-19 and have been transferred for isolation at Mutambara Hospital. In Mazvingo District of Mazvingo Province, 46 families (274 people) from village 21 who are at-risk due to the spill over of the Tugwi Mukosi dam are being moved to higher grounds. The group includes 38 adult men, 49 adult women, 107 boys and 80 girls. In the capital, Harare, the families evacuated from Budiriro have since returned to their homes as water levels have begun to recede. However, most have lost their basic food stuffs and require food, soap, detergents, blankets, buckets, water treatment chemicals and mosquito nets, according to a rapid assessment by Danish Church Aid and local authorities.
In South Africa, heavy rainfall and flooding has been reported over the Lowveld areas of Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces, where Eloise settled as a tropical depression on 25 January. The South African Weather Service has issued a Level 10 (highest on their scale) warning for northern Limpopo. The Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) has urged people in the path of the cyclone to secure animals, livestock, and pets in high lying areas, and to have potable water and non-perishable foods for at least three days. Some of Vhembe district in northern Limpopo received in excess of 150mm of rainfall in less than 16 hours, with heavy rain continuing. At least one major dam (the Albasini) supplying the Makhado and Thohoyandou areas has had to open its flood gates. Several houses are flooded, and bridges, road and vehicles are submerged in Limpopo, with Vhembe District most affected. Several settlements are reported to have been flooded, with the Luvhuvu river having burst its banks. In Mpumalanga, heavy rains accompanied by strong wind have uprooted trees, blocking the R537 road between White River and Sabie. Authorities are assessing the extent of damage.
In Botswana, the Government’s Meteorological Services the Government’s Meteorological Services has issued an advisory for widespread rainfall from 24 to 28 January across all districts, with amounts of 70 mm or more forecast over Southern-Central District. Several districts may experience localized flooding, strong winds and lightning, which may cause possible damage to property.
Eswatini has received localized rainfall since 23 January, affecting several areas, and most rivers in the country are flooded. The storm has damaged several roads and bridges. The Royal Eswatini Police Service has urged motorists to be cautious as they approach flooded areas and to abide by the 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. curfew.
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs