Tropical storm Chalane hits Mozambique but causes little damage


THE powerful tropical storm Chalane made landfall near the central Mozambique city of Beira, bringing heavy rain and wind but less damage than had been initially expected to an area devastated by a cyclone nearly two years ago.

Beira, a low-lying coastal city of 500,000 people, is home to Mozambique’s second-largest port, which serves as a gateway to landlocked countries in the region.

Myrta Kaulard, United Nations resident coordinator for Mozambique, said most of the rains had been concentrated in an area north of Beira, where thousands were also resettled after Cyclone Idai about two years ago.

International aid agencies say that tens of thousands of people are still displaced from Idai and living in camps.

The storm had weakened as it crossed into Zimbabwe where rains were expected, Mozambique’s meteorological service department said.

That means Beira could be vulnerable to flooding if rivers in eastern Zimbabwe, which flow towards Mozambique, were to overflow, Kaulard told Reuters.

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“What we are hearing is that some people in temporary shelters, precarious shelters, did lose a roof or so” in Beira, Kaulard told Reuters.

“But overall, the damage has been less than expected. We are far out of trouble with Chalane but we are all really relieved that the damages were not stronger and hope that flooding does not happen.”

International aid agencies will carry out a full assessment on Beira on Thursday, said Kaulard.

She said resources of the agencies were already stretched by the humanitarian situation in the northern Cabo Delgado region, where some half a million people have fled militant attacks.

In Zimbabwe, the government had started evacuating eastern parts of the country, where thousands were displaced by Cyclone Idai. Zimbabwe’s Meteorological Services Department said there was a high risk of flooding in the region.

The government postponed the reopening of schools planned for next week due to the storm and a surge in coronavirus infections.

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