At least 12 killed after Tropical Cyclone "Eloise" makes landfall near Beira, Mozambique

At least 12 killed after Tropical Cyclone

Tropical Cyclone "Eloise" made landfall just south of the port city of Beira, Mozambique early Saturday morning (LT), January 23, 2021. 

  • At least 13 people have been killed since the storm formed - 1 in Madagascar, 9 in Mozambique, and 3 in Zimbabwe.
  • The storm peaked shortly before making landfall in Mozambique with 1-minute sustained winds of 165 km/h (105 mph), making it a Category 2 equivalent hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale.
  • It left a trail of destruction in Beira, Manica, and Quelimane. The same area that was hit by the highly destructive Tropical Cyclone "Idai" in 2019, which left more than 1 300 people dead, many more missing, and over 100 000 displaced.
  • Eloise moved inland after making landfall, bringing heavy rains to southern Zimbabwe, northern South Africa, and far eastern Botswana.

At least 9 people have been killed in Mozambique -- all of them in the worst-hit port city of Beira (population 500 000). Most of the deaths were caused by falling trees.

Severe flooding and damage were also reported in the districts of Buzi and Nhamatanda, where thousands of hectares of farmland were flooded.

Tropical Cyclone "Eloise" at 01:00 UTC on January 23, 2021. Credit: EUMETSAT/Meteosat-8, RAMMB/CIRA, TW

In their first detailed report issued on January 24, Mozambique’s National Institute for Disaster Risk Management and Reduction (INGD) said Eloise had injured 12 people and displaced 6 859.

1 069 homes were destroyed, 3 434 partially destroyed and 1 500 flooded.

136 755 ha (337 928 acres) of crops were damaged, 11 hospitals were damaged, 9 schools destroyed and 17 others damaged.

At least three people were swept away in eastern Zimbabwe when they tried to cross flooded rivers, Reuters reports.

Eloise has dissipated by Sunday, January 24, and its remnants are now slowly moving over the Zimbabwe-Botswana-South Africa border region. The threat of more severe flooding remains throughout the region.

Apart from severe flash flooding along the coasts of Sofala and Zambezia provinces, there are forecasts of riverine flooding in the Buzi and Pungue rivers in Sofala and Manica, subsequently in Limpopo and Changane rivers in Gaza and Inhambane later next week.

OCHA estimates that more than 200 000 people in southern Mozambique could be impacted by floods over the next few days.

Heavy rain has been falling in this area since January 15, leaving more than 21 500 people affected and more than 1 900 homes flooded.

Eloise is the 5th named storm of the 2020/21 South-West Indian Ocean cyclone season.

Before striking Mozambique, it moved over Madagascar as a tropical storm, leaving at least 1 person dead.

At its peak, just before landfall in Mozambique, Eloise had 10-minute sustained winds of 150 km/h (90 mph), 1-minute sustained winds of 165 km/h (105 mph), and a minimum central pressure of 967 hPa. Landfall took place at the same strength.

Featured image: Tropical Cyclone "Eloise" at 00:15 UTC on January 23, 2021. Credit: EUMETSAT/Meteosat-8, RAMMB/CIRA, TW

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