On January 23, 2021, tropical cyclone Eloise made landfall in Beira, Mozambique’s fourth-largest city by population.
The country had faced several previous disasters, including cyclones Idai and Kenneth in 2019, tropical storm Chalane in December 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic, and uprisings in the Cabo Delgado area.
Eloise made landfall as a category 1 storm, followed by heavy rainfall of 200 mm (7 inches) within 24 hours. Local weather reports forecast that the rains would continue for a week, affecting Manica and parts of Inhambane and Zambezia.
Tropical cyclone Eloise was expected to affect southern Zimbabwe, northern South Africa, southern Mozambique, Eswatini, and eastern Botswana, with cumulative high rainfall in some areas.
“Nine injuries have been reported, with one in critical condition in the Sofala province. No fatalities have been reported,” Rumbidzai Musengi, emergency response coordinator in Mozambique for the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), said. “Property has been destroyed, including over 20,000 hectares [more than 49,400 acres] of agricultural produce and thousands of homes by the heavy rains and floods. Those affected have been evacuated by authorities to temporary accommodation centers.”
ADRA deployed relief aid teams in the Chibuto, Guija, and Massangena districts of Gaza. Two districts in Inhambane, including Panda and Funhalouro, were already receiving help from ADRA through a Lean Season Assistance Project in partnership with the World Food Programme. In Mozambique, the project provides critical food assistance to farmers who experience low food supplies before the next planting and harvesting seasons.
“ADRA is also coordinating with the Seventh-day Adventist church in Vilanculos and other partners to participate in a rapid needs assessment that would be carried out as soon as the cyclone and the rains have subsided,” David Masinde, ADRA’s country director in Mozambique, said. “ADRA in Mozambique is also looking to a bigger response as we put resources together with the support of the global ADRA network.”
Mozambique was battered by severe floods from tropical storm Chalane in December 2020, where more than 9,300 families needed government assistance. Many received food for a week and were provided with safe drinking water. During that time, ADRA provided 200 tents to people seeking shelter in Beira.
While local accommodation centers provided makeshift shelter to accommodate housing needs, ADRA supplied non-food items, including face masks, mosquito nets, plates, and cups for 200 households in Beira to meet immediate needs.
Musengi explained that building back from the previous cyclones has not been quick enough to shield Beira’s people from the impact of tropical storm Chalane. “With the most recent cyclone, the situation has become direr for those in newly resettled areas and tents and tarpaulin shelters,” he said.