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Rivers flood and roofs blown away as people put on high alert

People put on high alert as Cyclone Eloise lands

View of the damage after Tropical Cyclone Eloise, in Beira, Mozambique January 23, 2021 in this social media image obtained by REUTERS.
View of the damage after Tropical Cyclone Eloise, in Beira, Mozambique January 23, 2021 in this social media image obtained by REUTERS.

Cyclone Eloise has wreaked havoc in Mpumalanga, Limpopo and neighbouring Mozambique, blowing away houses and leaving many without shelter.

A number of houses had their roofs blown off and walls collapsing in Nkomazi Block B near Komatipoort, Mkhuhlu in the Bushbuckridge local municipality, and parts of Sabie and Graskop. Some areas were flooded.

The Vhembe disctrict in Limpopo was one of the most affected, with pictures emerging on social media of residents crossing a flooded river while carrying coffins.

Vhembe district municipality spokesperson Moses Shivambu said the community members had to cross a flooded bridge between Tshedza and Vuvha around the Nzhelele area.

“A temporary bridge was flooded this morning and residents found themselves stranded. The main bridge is under construction and a temporary one was created for residents to continue using it,” he said.

Shivambu said that one household in Mbaleni had been flooded and another at Makonde had its roof blown away .

“Some areas in the Makhado, Musina, Thulamela and Collins Chabane local municipalities didn’t have electricity," said Shivambu. 

Mpumalanga department of cooperative governance and traditional affairs spokesperson George Mthethwa said: “For now, we have a number of houses which were damaged in Mkhuhlu. We just got reports from the Thembisile Hani local municipality that they are also having the same situation.

“In the Nkomazi municipality, we just got news that at Block B, some houses had roofs blown away and some walls collapsing. For now there are no fatalities but families are being displaced and we are working to help them. We are also monitoring the rains and calling for all our people staying on low-laying areas to be on high alert and always try not to cross flooding rivers either by foot or vehicles.”

Tree branches and rocks had fallen on the roads between Graskop and Lydenburg. Flooding was reported in Mbombela.

The Kruger National Park announced yesterday that most roads inside and outside the park were flooded and rivers and dams were overflowing.

Limpopo farmer Thomas Makhubele, from Seaphole village in the Greater Letaba municipality, who has planted hectares of tomatoes, said he was fearful that if the rain intensified, he might lose his crops.

“Tomato is very sensitive and doesn’t need a lot of water. Hence, too much rain will damage all the crops and we can’t afford to lose it - it would be a setback for us,” he said.

The Limpopo department of social development together with its agencies, the SA Social Security Agency and the National Development Agency, have activated a relief programme.

In Mozambique, the coastal city of Beira which houses one of the country’s most important ports, had seen mild damage to property and flooding after tropical cyclone Eloise made landfall early on Saturday, an official said in a television report.

“Beira had mild damage but is too early to quantify the extent and scale of destruction,” Luisa Meque, president of Mozambique’s National Institute for Disaster Risk Management and Reduction (INGD), said in a television interview with national broadcaster TVM.

Cars were submerged in water, walls of some low-lying buildings collapsed and swathes of land were flooded in Beira, posts on social media showed.

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