Monday, February 8, 2021

Cyclone Eloise hits Swaziland leaving six deaths and devastation in its wake

Six people were killed and more than 2,000 others were affected by Tropical Cyclone Eloise when it hit Swaziland (eSwatini).


In a report Acting Prime Minister Themba Masuku said the cyclone ‘resulted in the devastation of critical infrastructure such as roads and facilities, property, livelihoods, agriculture and the natural environment as well as disruption in the provision of essential services.’


Cyclone Eloise, developed in the Indian Ocean, landed in neighbouring Mozambique and reached Swaziland with above average rainfall but without strong winds. 


He reported at least 2,015 people from 500 homes were directly affected by the cyclone. A total of 105 people were displaced and evacuated from their homes to a safer place to stay temporarily. They were provided with food, water and home amenities. 


In addition to affected homes, critical infrastructure was damaged such as roads covering at least 775 km and 53 bridges. 


Mudslides and rock falls along roads and in some homes were experienced, 66 water pumps and several water reticulation facilities were damaged affecting irrigation capacity and access to potable water in some of the country’s urban areas, including the Swazi capital Mbabane. 


Masuku said, ‘Sadly, six people died while attempting to cross flooded rivers. It is clear that the deaths could have been avoided had we all heeded to the alerts and warnings issued by various government departments including the Police, National Disasters Management Agency and the Meteorology department that no attempts should be made to cross flooded rivers.’


He said government would need to reconsider settlement patterns in the kingdom to reduce the risk of future loss of life particularly along river banks. 


He said government would assist households without the coping capacity to rebuild their damaged houses.

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