Mozambique + 4 more

Southern Africa – Tropical Cyclone Eloise Flash Update No.5, As of 22 January 2021

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Situation Report
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HIGHLIGHTS

  • Tropical Cyclone Eloise is forecast to make landfall near Beira City in Sofala Province, Mozambique, as a Tropical Cyclone in the early hours of 23 January.

  • Sofala Province has experienced heavy rainfall, strong winds and flooding since 15 January, with more than 21,500 people affected and more than 1,900 houses flooded prior to Eloise’s landfall, according to the Government. With many rivers and basins above alert levels, the most immediate concern is the potential for significant flooding as Eloise brings further rains.

  • Following its landfall in Mozambique, Eloise is expected to move inland, bringing heavy rains to southern Zimbabwe, northern South Africa and far eastern Botswana.

SITUATION OVERVIEW

Tropical Cyclone Eloise has strengthened in the Mozambique Channel, and is expected to make landfall near Beira, in central Mozambique, in the early hours of tomorrow, 23 January, as a Tropical Cyclone, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

The Province of Sofala and the entire Zambezi Basin in Mozambique is already experiencing significant flooding as a result of heavy rainfall since 15 January, with the districts of Beira (Bairros Mungassa, Ndunda I e II), Buzi, Muanza, Caia, Dondo, Marromeu and Nhamatanda hardest-hit. Discharge of water from Chicamba dam and the Mavuzi reservoir has also affected residents in Buzi (Vila Sede, Guara-Guara, Ampara, Grudja, Estaquinha, Inhamuchindo, and Bândua).

Since the start of the heavy rains in mid-January, more than 21,500 people have been affected, 3 people have died, and more than 3,900 hectares of farmland have been impacted, according to Mozambique’s National Institute for Disaster Management and Risk Reduction (INGD). Preliminary satellite analysis by UNOSAT/UNITAR indicates that, within an analyzed area of approximately 50,000 km2 in Sofala and Manica provinces, about 2,200 km2 of land appears to be flooded, with Beira City, Buzi and Nhamatanda having the greatest number of people potentially exposed to flooding. These areas were directly impacted by Tropical Cyclone Idai in March 2019 and were also affected by Tropical Storm Chalane in December 2019. At least 100,000 people impacted by Cyclone Idai in 2019 remain in resettlement sites, which have been affected by the current rains. A further 200mm of rainfall could arrive in the next 24 hours, especially in areas of Sofala Province, according to Mozambique’s National Institute of Meteorology (INAM). A flood-risk analysis supported by the United Kingdom’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) has highlighted that, in addition to the immediate risks of flooding in and around Beira, Buzi and Nhamatanda, “severe river flooding is probable in the Lower Limpopo basin” where the Changane tributary joins the Limpopo near Chibuto, with the Chokwe and Xai-Xai districts in Gaza Province expected to be hardest-hit. The Limpopo basin did not experience flooding during Idai.

After its landfall in Mozambique, the Eloise weather system is expected to bring heavy rains to southern Zimbabwe, northern South Africa and far eastern Botswana, according to MeteoFrance. In Zimbabwe, heavy rains are forecast in the southern parts of Manicaland Province as early as the evening of 22 January, with heavy rains over Manicaland Province, the southern parts of Masvingo Province expected by 23 January, potentially spreading into southern Matabeleland South Province on 24 January, according to the Department of Civil Protection (DCP) and Meteorological Services Department. In South Africa, the SA Weather Service (SAWS) continued to issue alerts for heavy rainfall and potential flooding and infrastructure damage, particularly in Limpopo, Mpumalanga and potentially parts of northern KwaZulu-Natal.

HUMANITARIAN PREPAREDNESS AND RESPONSE

In Mozambique, the INGD President, INGD teams and humanitarian partners have deployed to Beira, in support of the provincial capacity. The immediate focus is on ensuring that flood-affected communities are able to reach safety. INGD has prepositioned boats to support evacuation efforts in Buzi, and more than 3,000 people have been evacuated so far, including with support from the Mozambican Red Cross. More than 3,350 people are now seeking refuge in at least five accommodation centres activated in schools and public buildings in Buzi (950 people), Beira (268 people) and Nhamatanda (323 people), according to INGD. Urgent priority needs in the Buzi accommodation centres include food, hygiene kits, and COVID-19 prevention materials, according to an IOM/INGD assessment carried out on 21 January. At the same time, people who were still living in resettlement camps following Cyclone Idai are being relocated into government buildings, schools and churches for shelter. The authorities have directed the closure of the Port of Beira with effect from 23 January for a period of 40 hours, in anticipation of the cyclone. The Port is one of two main entry point for goods into the area.

In Zimbabwe, humanitarian partners met with the DCP on Friday, 22 January, to discuss preparedness measures. The inter-agency contingency plan is nearing finalization and colleagues are being pre-identified for potential deployment during assessments, if needed.

In South Africa, the Provincial Disaster Management Centres in all three potentially-affected provinces (Limpopo, Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal) and the National Disaster Management Centre in Pretoria (which falls under the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) remit) are tasked with emergency preparedness and response coordination.

In Eswatini, the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) has initiated a vulnerability assessment to identify key areas of concern, with northern and eastern Eswatini, and areas of high altitude, identified for greatest focus. Early warning messaging to communities have been initiated and evacuation centres identified in case needed, in addition to other measures taken.

For more information, please contact OCHA Regional Office for Southern and Eastern Africa:
Guiomar Pau Sole, pausole@un.org +254 786 633 633
Saviano Abreu, deabreuisidoro@un.org +254 780 530 141

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.