Tropical storm Eloise makes landfall, leaves trail of destruction and much need water
Tropical storm Eloise brought heavy rains and strong winds to parts of South Africa, after hitting Mozambique at the weekend. Emergency services were on high alert around the country and flood warnings were issued. The Kruger National Park had to close the Crocodile Bridge Gate due to the river overflowing. In Mozambique, the storm’s destroyed schools and crops. Eloise has also caused heavy rainfall in Zimbabwe and Eswatini. At least four people died after tropical storm Eloise swept through parts of KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and Limpopo said Cooperative Governance Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma in a virtual update. In Limpopo, roads were damaged and bridges wiped away, said Limpopo Cooperative Governance MEC Basikopo Makamu. Mpumalanga's Cooperative Governance Acting-HoD Sam Ngubane said a five-year-old boy drowned after he was swept away by floodwaters. "The body has been discovered... there are two people who vanished and they are still searching." KZN Cooperative Governance MEC Sipho Hlomuka said there are 110 houses that have been partially destroyed under Umkhanyakude district in Jozini. A 14-year-old drowned in KwaZulu-Natal
Low-lying areas of Limpopo experienced mild flooding and debris, which caused some roads to close. The Mufongodi and Luvhuvu rivers overflowed its banks. Strong winds knocked down trees. However, the eThekwini and uMgungundlovu district municipalities experienced only light rainfall. Disaster management teams reported that KwaZulu-Natal settlements, such as Jozini, were already experiencing flooding. Kruger National Park closed multiple roads and camps and rivers in the park overflowed. There were sporadic reports of damaged houses and infrastructure. The Gert Sibande and Dr Pixley Ka Isaka Seme areas also experienced heavy rainfall. Dams were also having their water levels be monitored for potential tipping points and the Albasini dam had to open its flood gates.
A dam was empty at 08h00am but by 09h30am was overflowing. A farmer’s dam collapsed.
Bridges and vehicles are submerged in affected areas as well with the Vhembe District being the worst affected. The province received 150mm of rain in less than 16 hours. After a two day operation, Rescue SA uncovered the body of a 35-year-old man who had drowned in the Blyde River. A mother and baby were swept away while crossing a flooded river in Elukwatini and a one year old drowned.
The Eastern Cape, Free State, Gauteng and Northern Cape all experienced higher rainfall than in 2020, according to a report released by AfriWX. Steven Vermaak, chairman of the Transvaal Land Union of water affairs, said that the Nyl River in Limpopo ran for the first time in 15 years.
In Eswatini, storm was reported to have killed two people. The country had most of its rivers flooded and several areas are affected. Gravel roads and low-lying bridges have been washed out by rains. The Mncitsini, Manzana, Mangwaneni, Mpolonjeni provinces all reported mudslides and landslides. Over 1 500 people have been affected in the country. Water supply systems were damaged.
Roughly 190 homes were either damaged or destroyed by the storm in Madagascar. While passing through Madagascar, Eloise enhanced some monsoon winds, generating rainfall up to 200mm in some places. Eloise exited Madagascar on 21 January 2021, leaving one person dead.
At least nine people have died so far in Mozambique when Eloise made landfall around 2h30am CAT on 23 January 2021 with wind speeds of 160km/h. Due to flooding, cars were submerged in water; walls of some low lying buildings collapsed and swathes of land were flooded in Beira, while the power supply was shut down as Eloise damaged power lines and uprooted some electricity poles. More than 5 000 homes in total were damaged across Buzi, Dondo, Nhamatanda and Beira City, according to the government's preliminary data. Specifically, 1 069 are destroyed, 3 343 are damaged and over 1 500 are flooded. Dozens of classrooms were damaged or destroyed and at least 26 health centres were damaged. At least 142 189 hectares of crops have been flooded, such as maize, rice, cassava and others.
Flooding occurred in Zimbabwe, damaging homes and property. The country's civil protection unit reported that three people had been swept away, who were presumed dead. Schools have been damaged in Chimanimani and Chipinge districts and communities near the Save River have moved to higher ground due to the water level rising. The Manyuchi and Tugwi Mukosi dams have started spilling and downstream areas have been placed on high alert. Rains also caused a mudslide in Chipinge and Tanganda, with large boulders blocking some roads. These also damaged at least three schools across the province.
The clean-up and assessments continues.
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