Tropical Cyclone Eloise, category 2, made landfall in the first hours of 23 January 2021, 20km south of the Beira City in Sofala Province, bringing winds of 140km/h and wind gusts of over 160km/h as well as extreme and widespread rainfall in Beira – 250mm in 24h - and many districts in Sofala, South of Manica, North of Inhambane and Eastern Gaza. Other areas were already flooded ahead of Eloise’s landfall, especially surrounding places including Buzi and Nhamatanda resulting in thousands of displaced people.
At least 11 people died and many were injured. The cyclone caused severe flooding in the same areas that were just recovering from two similar cyclones in 2019 – Idai and Kenneth – and by tropical storm cyclone Chalane on 30 December 2020.
The areas were already experiencing significant flooding as a result of heavy rainfall since 15 January 2021. Discharge of water from Chicamba dam and the Mavuzi reservoir had also affected residents in districts of Buzi.
Sofala, Manica, Zambezia and Inhambane are the provinces most directly affected by all cyclones, Idai, Kenneth, as well as strong storms Chalane and Eloise. They also have the highest vulnerabilities as a result of slow and interrupted recovery processes due to recurrent disasters. Sofala Province was the most affected and Buzi District was the epicentre of the Cyclone and was heavily affected by post-cyclone flooding, especially for communities along the Pungwe and Buzi Rivers. There were significant damages to homes, water and sanitation infrastructure across the district. Latest reporting states in Sofala 10 accomodation centers are still open with over 4,000 households.
Mozambique is still in the midst of the rainy season and rains are predicted until the end of March 2021. These will most likely cause more flooding in the provinces of Tete, Zambezia, Manica and Sofala.