The landfall of Tropical Cyclone Eloise in the night of 23 January 2021 and previously, the Tropical Storm Chalane on 30 December 2020, have deeply affected Sofala, in particular Buzi area, Manica, the southern part of Zambezia, Inhambane, and Gaza provinces. Out of these provinces, Sofala was the most impacted, reporting significant damages and people affected. According to the National Institute for Disaster Risk Management and Reduction (INGD), 441,686 people have been affected and over 56,000 houses were severely damaged or destroyed. Over 43,327 people have been displaced, while 34,566 people were evacuated. Although the resettlement sites established in the aftermath of Cyclone Idai in 2019 proved to be safe locations, Cyclone Eloise affected the shelter and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) structures in many sites due to strong winds and rains, with over 8,755 shelters severely damaged and destroyed in 64 resettlement sites.
By 1 February, 34,271 displaced people remained hosted in 36 temporary accommodation centers due to the conditions in their areas of origin, after both Chalane and Eloise storms. Conditions in accommodation centers showed congestion, unsafe sanitary conditions as well as a lack of COVID-19 preventive measures. To ensure decongestion on sites and support safe, dignified return, the planning for the gradual deactivation of accommodation centers, paired with simultaneous technical assessments of return and relocation areas and in new sites identified for resettlement have started.
Albeit damages to housing, a large portion of the population returned and an initial eight new resettlement locations were identified for those whose return conditions are not suitable and who are living without shelters. In some of the remaining accommodation centers, such as in Buzi, close to 10 people share the same shelter, heightening protection concerns. In the new settlement identified, substantial work will be required to ensure adequate settlement of displaced populations, the establishment of sound CCCM structures and systems on the ground to re-establish vibrant communities.
As of now, the absence of basic infrastructure on site represents an important concern and barrier to durable solutions. With the rainy season in full force and more storms predicted, urgent attention is required to ensure the provision of climate resilient shelters and the establishment of safe, durable and adapted settlements.