Maputo — As forecast, Cyclone Eloise hit the central Mozambican city of Beira early on Saturday morning, with winds of 140 kilometres an hour and gusts of up to 160 kilometres an hour, according to the independent television station, STV.
The cyclone flooded much of the city, and left it without electricity, while mobile phone communication is difficult, if not impossible.
Trees were uprooted, and the roofs were blown off many houses. Among the buildings seriously damaged was the Ponta Gea Health Centre. Its roof was destroyed, even though it had been rehabilitated just six months ago.
Hundreds of Beira residents were evacuated from the most flood prone neighbourhoods, such as Praia Nova, and spent the night in schools.
So far there are no reports of any deaths, and the damage is much less than that caused by the previous major storm that hit Beira, Cyclone Idai, in March 2019.
Teams from the publicly owned electricity company, EDM, are on the ground surveying the damage to the pylons and the transmission lines.
Before reaching Beira, Eloise brushed past Zambezia province, and the heavy rains caused serious damage to buildings in the provincial capital, Quelimane, and the coastal districts of Chinde and Inhassunge, as well as Luabo and Mopeia in the Zambezi valley.
At least 25 classrooms were damaged, which will affect hundreds of Zambezia pupils who should sit examinations as from next Monday. The provincial director of education, Joaquim Casal, guaranteed that alternative places will be found for the exams.
Eloise has now moved inland, and by Saturday evening it is forecast to enter eastern Zimbabwe. By then it will be a much weaker storm, since cyclones lose strength over land. By Sunday morning, the cyclone will have dissipated.