Cyclone Dineo is still DANGEROUS
Heavy rain expected, despite storm being downgraded, writes Sizwe sama Yende
The Mozambican government deployed a team to assess the damage in the aftermath of tropical cyclone Dineo this week as mop-up operations began in earnest.
At least 116 government buildings, including hospitals, had their roofs blown off and more than 170 000 people were affected when strong winds and downpours swept through the cities of Inhambane and Maxixe, as well the districts of Morrumbene, Massinga, Jangano, Inharrime, Panda, Vilankulo, Funhalonso, Mabote and Homoine.
Dineo’s trail of destruction has left seven people dead and scores injured. Disaster management spokesperson Antonio Beleza yesterday said one bridge and 24km of roads had been damaged.
“Government has deployed a team on the ground to assess the damage and the costs. A joint multisectoral government and humanitarian team will be reporting back soon.”
He said government has in the meantime been providing relief to affected people, including tents, water purifiers, soap, mosquito nets and basic foodstuff.
Beleza said government had distributed 512 tons of cereal, 51 tons of sugar, 19 tons of salt, 19 tons of cooking oil and 128 tons of seeds.
“A considerable number of people are already reconstructing their houses. Patients and prisoners were removed to safer areas before the cyclone hit and school classes were suspended,” he said.
Despite warnings from the SA Weather Service, there was little damage reported in Mpumalanga and Limpopo. Mpumalanga cooperative governance and traditional affairs department spokesperson George Mthethwa said 15 mud houses were damaged in Louisville outside Barberton because of persistent rain.
In Limpopo, department spokesperson Motupa Selomo said some damage had been experienced in the Vhembe district, but he could not provide details.
The Zimbabwean government was bracing itself for the cyclone and announced on Friday that it was ready to offer assistance, particularly in southern parts of the country, including Masvingo, southern Midlands and parts of Matabeleland. No damage had been reported at the time of going to press last night.
The cyclone hit Zimbabwe on Friday night. Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Saviour Kasukuwere said the Civil Protection Unit had activated its emergency operations centre to ensure effective responses, while civil protection structures at national and subnational levels were on standby to manage any emergencies.
In the latter half of Friday, patches of heavy rain were reported over the western parts of Limpopo, as well as in northern Botswana, as the remnants of the cyclone moved progressively westwards.
By yesterday, patches of heavy rain persisted over the northern parts of Namibia and Botswana.
The risk of flooding was particularly severe along the banks of the lower Limpopo and Olifants rivers because they flow through southern Mozambique towards the floodplain region adjoining XaiXai in the south of the country.
DESTRUCTION TRAIL Tropical cyclone Dineo left a trail of destruction in its path as it hit the northern coast of Mozambique
DETERMINED The anticipated storm brought minimal damage in the Vhembe district in Limpopo by Friday, but those who chose to be outside had to deal with heavy winds