THOUSANDS STRANDED AS TROPICAL CYCLONE ELOISE STRIKES LIMPOPO

Judas Sekwela

Thousands of residents of Tshakhuma, Nzhelele and surrounding villages in Vhembe, Limpopo were left stranded after the Tropical Cyclone Eloise hit their villages during the early hours of Sunday morning.

Heavy rainfalls accompanied by strong winds left many panicking and leaving their homes even after being warned not to. 

Trees were uprooted while bridges and streets were overflowing. Houses and vehicles were also submerged under water.

Even though residents were warned to stay indoors, avoid crossing rivers, flooded roads and low-lying bridges, villagers from the affected areas decided to leave their homes on Sunday morning to save their lives. 

Tshifhiwa Neguda, 33, said the rain forced them to move out of their home.

“We thought we would be safe at our home, but that was not the case. The roof started leaking and water came through the door. That is when we decided to take some of our important things and go for safety,” she said. 

Vhembe District Municipality spokesman Moses Shibambu said rescue services are busy assisting families with food parcels and tents. 

Meanwhile in Mozambique, ten people including a child are reported to have died while more than 160,000 were affected after Tropical Cyclone Eloise made landfall in the country. 

Most of the victims were killed by falling trees, Mozambican authorities said.

The most hit is the country’s port city Beira where cars were submerged and homes destroyed in the early hours of Saturday morning. 

The South African Weather Service (SAWS) issued a warning for disruptive rainfall as Tropical Storm Eloise was expected to hit Mozambique and move over the border of Zimbabwe and Limpopo in the early hours of Sunday. The SAWS warned of severe risk orange alert level 9.

Walls of some low lying buildings collapsed. Power supplies were shut down as the cyclone damaged power lines and uprooted some power poles. According to the World Meteorologist Organisation, the cyclone has since lost its strength and has been downgraded to a tropical storm.

The Mozambique National Institute of Meteorology also said Sofala Province which includes Beira had seen 200mm of rainfall with winds of 150km/h and was likely to see another 100mm of rain over the next 24 hours.

Cyclone Eloise hit Mozambique as the country was still trying to recover from the devastating impact of Cyclone Idai which also wreaked havoc and killed more than 1,000 people in March 2019.  Beira houses one of Mozambique’s most important ports.

Caption: Cars were submerged under water while others damaged by cyclone Eloise in Beira, Mozambique.

Caption: Roads were flooded and some building walls also submerged.