Floods in Antalaha, Madagascar, cause by tropical storm Eloise. Picture: Red Cross
Floods in Antalaha, Madagascar, cause by tropical storm Eloise. Picture: Red Cross

Cyclone spells disaster for KZN

By Zoubair Ayoob Time of article published Jan 23, 2021

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The last thing we need as we battle the coronavirus pandemic is to be hit by a natural disaster.

Yet this is exactly what could happen to the far northern reaches of KwaZulu-Natal, and to the Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces, with Cyclone Eloise expected to make landfall today.

Neighbours Mozambique and eSwatini are expected to bear the brunt of the storm, but heavy flooding can be expected in the affected parts of South Africa too, with heavy rain predicted for Durban.

Pictures from Madagascar show the devastation caused by the storm there, but it is expected to be much stronger by the time it hits Mozambique.

As the headline on our inside feature states, the last time KZN was hit by a cyclone, 37 years ago by Demoina, the province was brought to its knees.

Then, as with Eloise, Demoina formed off Madagascar before heading for the east coast of Africa, gathering strength in the Mozambique channel before making landfall.

At least 60 were killed then and infrastructure damage was immense.

But there were also tales of heroism amid the chaos and kindness to those affected in the aftermath.

Much more of the same will be required if Eloise hits with anything near the strength predicted.

With South Africa in the midst of load shedding, and the storm expected to hit the areas where much of our power is generated - from coal - Eloise could spell disaster.

The Independent on Saturday

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