At least nine people died on Saturday after Tropical Cyclone Eloise hit Mozambique in Africa’s southeast, bringing rain and powerful winds of up to 160km/h (100mph). Preliminary reports from the government indicate that nearly 7,000 people have been displaced and more than 5,000 houses have been destroyed, damaged or flooded, mainly in Buzi, Dondo, Nhamatanda and Beira City. These numbers could rise in the days ahead as the full extent of the damage becomes known.
More than 1,000 houses have been totally destroyed and another 3,000 badly damaged, according to Antonio Beleza, from Mozambique’s National Institute for Disaster Management and Reduction. Eloise also ruined 136,755 hectares of crops, destroyed nine schools and damaged about 17 other schools and 11 hospitals. More than 160,000 people had been directly affected.
After making landfall in central Mozambique, Tropical Cyclone Eloise weakened into an overland tropical depression and crossed Mozambique on 23 January, causing heavy rainfall in its path. The weather system moved through southern Zimbabwe into the extreme northern parts of Limpopo Province, South Africa, on 24 January, according to the South African Weather Service (SAWS), and it is expected to reach parts of eastern Botswana in the coming days.
Local officials and aid agencies are assessing the scale of the damage so they can help those affected, and trying to restore power and communications, which were cut off in some areas.
Four people have been killed by cyclone Eloise, according to local officials. The victims died in the worst-hit port city of Beira. The districts of Buzi and Nhamatanda were affected by severe flooding.
The region is still recovering from two devastating cyclones, Idai and Kenneth, which hit in 2019, killing hundreds and forcing many thousands from their homes.