Monday 2021-03-01

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CYCLONE ELOISE TRAIL OF DESTRUCTION

By Phephile Motau | 2021-01-26

Mbabane CATASTROPHIC!

This one word best describes the trail of destruction left by Cyclone Eloise to the country.

The storm affected 515 people after 74 homesteads were destroyed in different parts of the country. None of the regions were spared, according to information sourced from the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA).

The numbers are expected to grow, as these were from the initial assessment conducted by the agency. The NDMA conducted a press briefing on the effects of the cyclone, which brought torrential amounts of rainfall, starting from the early hours of Sunday.

NDMA Director Early Warning and Research Eric Seyama said the cyclone affected 32 households in the Hhohho Region. He said infrastructure was damaged, with about 160 people affected.

They included nine homesteads from Mbabane East, four from Mbabane West, two from Mhlangatane, five from Ntfonjeni and two from Nkhaba.

The rest were five homesteads from Motshane and seven from Pigg’s Peak. In the Manzini Region, three households reported infrastructure damage, with about 15 people affected.

The homesteads were from Kukhanyeni and Ludzeludze constituencies. Seyama said in the Lubombo Region, 30 households reported infrastructure damages with about 150 people affected. He said 20 of these households were from Nkilongo.

The other affected areas are Siphofaneni, Nkilongo, Sithobela and Dvokodvweni.

In the Shiselweni Region eight households reported infrastructure damage, and about 40 people were affected. They were from Mtsambama, Shiselweni 1, Ngudzeni and Maseyisini.

Not only households were affected by the cyclone as some roads, bridges and other infrastructure were damaged. According to Seyama, businesses were also affected including the Mbabane Mall and Emfuleni Lifestyle.

Seyama said along the Mhlambanyatsi Road, between Mbabane and Siphocosini, the road collapsed due to a rock fall.

The falling rocks completely barricaded the road on Sunday night, and by yesterday, cars were using only one lane.

Other areas that were affected included Malagwane Hill, which was also partially closed.

There were also mud-slides in other areas such as Mncitsini, Manzana, Nkwalini Zone 2 and Malunge Township, causing extensive damage to houses and vehicles. Other areas that experienced mud-slides included Mangwaneni, Mpolonjeni, and a host of others.

Seyama added that all gravel roads in the country were extensively damaged, while all low level bridges were flooded and some bridges cut off.

Logged

The cut-off bridges included one connecting Malindza to Dvokodvweni. People who were on either side could not get to the other side from Sunday evening.

Seyama said there were a number of road accidents due to roads water logged. He also stated that there were ongoing evacuations by emergency responders, including the Red cross.

He said three men who were stuck in the middle of an overflowing river were yesterday rescued by helicopters.

He said rapid assessments were ongoing as well as the finalisation of a response plan that would be shared with partners for resource mobilisation and support. Seyama said they had activated humanitarian response space charter and would conduct comprehensive rapid assessment using drones.

He said this would not show the number of lives lost, but would help them better understand the amount of infrastructure and environmental damage caused by the cyclone.

He added that as soon as all areas become accessible, food parcels would be distributed to affected households.

Meanwhile, Wandile Mavuso warned people against crossing of over flooded rivers, particularly where they could not see the bridges.

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