Cyclone Idai makes landfall in Mozambique

WHILE South Africa is said to be spared most of the impacts of category 4 cyclone which is fast approaching the Mozambican coast, Durban-based emergency services officials are deploying to our coastal neighbour to provide rescue and relief aid.

"This particular weather system is expected to give rise to significant rainfall over Masvingo, Manicaland, Mashonaland East and Mashonaland Central provinces and may result in increased risk of flooding and damage to homes sand infrastructure". The government, with support from local and worldwide partners, is providing assistance to people already displaced by floods, but access is being impeded by road damage, according to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

At least 115 people were killed in Mozambique, Malawi and South Africa after heavy rains affected 843 000 people across southeast Africa, officials and the United Nations said, prompting calls for emergency aid.

"Sixteen accommodation centres have been opened in the provinces of Zambezia and Tete to accommodate the displaced", Comoana said. It is calling for a devastating 10- to 14-foot storm surge, with destructive waves and surf that could propel water even higher.

A light aircraft has been dispatched with a team of specialists to Malawi to establish the exact humanitarian assistance required. However, access has been damaging due to extensive damage to roads.

Delaware-based energy giant Anadarko and South African petrochemical group Sasol have significant investments in major liquefied natural gas projects off northern Mozambique, but these are now out of harm's way.

"Substantial devastation with massive flooding both from river and sea is expected" when Idai makes landfall, South African charity Gift of the Givers said, indicating it was ready to deploy 70 rescue staff, along with 4x4 vehicles, boats, and jetskis to help with rescue efforts. Almost 1.6 million people are estimated to live in areas that could be impacted by high wind speeds ( 120km/h), according to the latest analysis from UNOSAT.

The cyclone will dump heavy rains and winds over Mozambique, before moving to southern Malawi and later Zimbabwe, the department's director, Jolam Nkhokwe, said.

Vanessa Coleman

Comments