Mozambique + 5 more

Southern Africa – Tropical Cyclone Eloise Flash Update No.9, As of 26 January 2021

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Situation Report
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HIGHLIGHTS

• Nearly 250,000 people have been affected, and nearly 17,000 houses impacted, by Tropical Cyclone Eloise in Mozambique, according to the latest figures from the Government.

• Across Southern Africa, the Eloise weather system has left at least 15 people dead, including 7 in Mozambique, 3 in Zimbabwe,2 in Eswatini, 2 in South Africa, and 1 in Madagascar.

• The low pressure area caused by Eloise has moved south-west and is close to the border between southern Botswana and northern South Africa, where it is projected to dissipate by tomorrow, 27 January.

SITUATION OVERVIEW

The Eloise weather system—which has affected more than 250,000 people and left at least 15 people dead across countries in its path—has largely dissipated, having transitioned into a low pressure area during its passage over land. However, it could bring further heavy rains and flooding to Botswana, eastern South Africa and Lesotho in the days ahead, according to media reports. On 26 January, Dr. Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi—President of the Republic of Botswana and Chairperson of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation—expressed sympathy and solidarity with the Governments and people of the Republics of Botswana, Eswatini, Madagascar, Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe, and thanked the governments of the affected countries, civil society organisations, and local and regional partners for the “proactive steps […] taken to save lives and to support the communities negatively affected by the Cyclone.”

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, where about 100km2 of land appears to be flooded, based on the latest analysis from UNOSAT/UNITAR. Eloise has affected at least 248,481 people, including 16,693 displaced, according to latest data from the National Institute for Disaster Management and Risk Reduction (INGD), as of 25 January. Thirty-three accommodation centres have been activated in impacted areas, with 31 centres in Sofala Province accommodating 15,510 people and 2 centres in Manica Province accommodating 1,183 people. At least 16,967 houses have been destroyed, damaged or flooded, mainly in Sofala Province, and over 411 classrooms and at least 74 health centres will need repairs. Some humanitarian facilities, including one WFP warehouse, were also damaged. However, WFP’s emergency stocks are safe and will be distributed to affected communities. More than 142,189 hectares of crops (including maize, rice, cassava and others) have been flooded in central Mozambique, which could impact the next harvest in April and the ability of affected families to meet their food needs in the period ahead. The Buzi and Pungwe basins are beginning to decrease, according to Mozambique’s National Institute for Meteorology (INAM). However, the Save basin will need to be monitored closely, given the potential impact of the discharge of dams in Zimbabwe. Flooding is also possible along the Lower Limpopo river basin in southern Mozambique, as water levels are predicted to peak around 26 and 27 in Chokwe and Xai-Xai, according to analysis commissioned by the United Kingdom Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).

In South Africa, the hardest hit districts include Vhembe and Mopani in Limpopo Province, Ehlanzeni in Mpumalanga Province and districts in the far-north of KwaZulu-Natal Province, according to the South African Government News Agency. Eloise reportedly uprooted trees, blocked roads, and destroyed buildings in affected areas, with at least two deaths reported. Search and rescue operations are still searching for two other people who went missing on 25 January.
The South African Weather Service (SAWS) reported that the Eloise weather system has lost most of its intensity but could still cause some rain over the western parts of the North West on 26 January. SAWS reports that, from 27 January, the remnants of Eloise are expected to merge with another weather system, with potential for heavy rain over eastern Northern Cape, parts of the North West, Free State, and eastern Eastern Cape.

In Eswatini, major rivers were flooded, two people drowned and nearly 1,500 people were affected, across all four regions of Eswatini, according to the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA). Water supply systems were also damaged, affecting sources of potable water in Mbabane, Lobamba and Siteki. Mudslides/landslides were reported in Mncitsini, Manzana, Mangwaneni, Mpolonjeni and other locations. Gravel roads around the country have been impacted by the heavy rains, with low-lying bridges flooded and some completely washed away, according to NDMA. Assessments are ongoing to determine the full extent of the storm’s impact, and further rains are expected in the days ahead.

In Botswana, the Government’s Meteorological Services’ advisory for widespread rainfall from 24 to 28 January remains in effect. Meanwhile, in Zimbabwe, people displaced by the storm are returning home from evacuation centres, where possible, as the heavy rains brought by Eloise have begun to recede. These developments come on top of Eloise’s earlier impact in Madagascar, where it affected at least 1,000 people and killed one.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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