BEIRA, 24 January 2021 – Four people have been killed in Beira, Mozambique’s second biggest city, and dozens are missing or injured in the aftermath of Tropical Cyclone Eloise.
Officials say most of Central Mozambique, where the city of Beira is found, is heavily soaked or under water.
The cyclone which made landfall near the city of Beira, packing wind speeds of up to 100 mph (160km/h).
Nearly everyone of the city’s 500,000 inhabitants is directly impacted by the storm.
The winds have died down considerably and some residents had begun the painful cleanup process on Sunday.
Officials at Mozambique’s National Institute of Meteorology downgraded Cyclone Eloise to a tropical storm Sunday.
No fewer than 4,000 homes have been partially or completely destroyed in the storm.
News reports on Sunday cited Antonio Beleza of Mozambique’s National Institute for Disaster Management and Reduction as putting the number of totally destroyed homes at “more than 1,000” and the number of “badly damaged homes” at no fewer than 3,000.
Drone imagery taken over the flooded town and farmlands suggests that the full extent of the damage will not be known until after the waters subside.
Search and rescue missions were underway Sunday.
As many as 160,000 of the 500,000 residents of Beira are believed to be directly impacted by the storm.
Northern South Africa and Zimbabwe issued warnings to residents ahead of the storm sweeping through parts of the two countries.
Parts of the two countries on the path of the storm experienced heavy rainfall late Saturday and Sunday.
Torrential rains fell in Beira city, Mozambique, in the period immediately leading up to and following the eye of the storm hit the city.
Meteorologists on Sunday estimated that no less than ten inches of rain had been recorded over the last 24.
Water levels were already high before the storm compounded the problem.
The loud humming, whistling and “bang-bang” noises that characterized the night was described by residents as so scary we could not sleep.
Residents say they spent the night planning escapes to the roof of their homes in case the water levels rose too high within their houses.
They were steering into the night from any windows they could crack open or cracks through doorways in the hope that dawn would arrive earlier than usual and the storm would just pass them by.
Residents say they spent the night of Saturday to Sunday too afraid to go to bed.
Power supply lines are down from trees toppling them over and power is out in most homes in Beira and most parts of central Mozambique.
Citizens living in parts of the town on higher ground say they cannot wait to charge their phones once power is restored in order to reach out to friends and relatons who live in lower lying parts of the city where the flood waters rose much higher in homes.
Hundreds of people were killed across central Mozambique when Cyclones Idai and Kenneth struck in 2019.
Thousands of people driven from their homes during those storms are still waiting to be resettled.