Geneva — The Mozambican city of Beira and the region around it are bracing for the impact of tropical storm Eloise, expected to make landfall soon.
"Even if Eloise doesn't make landfall directly on Beira, there is a very high probability that Beira is going to be hit by these very high winds and heavy rainfall," World Meteorological Organization spokesperson Clare Nullis told UN correspondents in Geneva Friday.
"And there will obviously be flooding just because of the size of this storm," she added. "Beira, as you recall, was hit by Tropical Cyclone Idai back in March 2019. And is still recovering from that."
Eloise was 400 kilometers (240 miles) northeast of Beira at midday on Friday.
The WMO said it is forecast that Eloise will make landfall near Beira, between the Zambezi and Save River deltas.
"Given that Eloise is a large system, there is a high probability (above 90%) that Beira will be affected or grazed by the radius of maximum winds, according to WMO's Regional Specialized Meteorological Centre La Réunion (MeteoFrance)," said the WMO.
"Eloise poses a serious threat to Mozambique's coast and is a dangerous cyclone," according to RSMC La Reunion. "High winds, heavy rainfall, and dangerous sea conditions are to be expected. There is a major risk of coastal flooding."
International Organization for Migration (IOM) spokesman Paul Dillon said many in Beira have already been displaced by recent heavy rains and the impact of Tropical Storm Chalane, which hit Sofala Province on December 30.
"We are at this moment moving them to a safer location and removing the tents where they are living, so we have stock available for the most vulnerable after the cyclone passes."
Dillon said that around 100,000 people impacted by Cyclone Idai in 2019 remain in resettlement sites that have been battered by the rain.
"The Port of Beira is to close tomorrow (Saturday) for a period of 40 hours in expectation of a cycle afternoon of January 22 until the morning of the 24th). It is one of two main entry point for goods into the area," and into the hinterland in Zimbabwe.
Eloise is projected to move inland on Friday and Saturday, bringing heavy rain to Zimbabwe and parts of northern South Africa, according to the AIM news agency.