Village Water projects halt as fierce cyclone sweeps across Mozambique

January 28th, 2021

Tropical Cyclone Eloise has hit Mozambique, bringing heavy rain and dangerous winds in excess of 80 miles per hour.

According to OCHA (Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) preliminary reports show several deaths while upward of 7000 people have been displaced and 5000 homes destroyedi, numbers which are expected to rise as 100,000s of people have been evacuated in the worst hit areas. 

Almost 137,000 hectares of crops have been flooded. The full extent of the damage will be significant and made worse as many people are still recovering from the losses and trauma caused by Cyclone Idai in 2019 where 3 million people were affected in Mozambique, Malawi, Zimbabwe and Botswana. 

Houses and field completely flooded in Buzi District

Flooding in Buzi in the direct path of the cyclone

I feel very saddened because most of the families and individual who have been affected are underprivileged, the same families that were affected by Cyclone Idai last year which they never fully recovered from.

 Rufaro, WATSAN Mozambique 

Our partners on the ground

While the cyclone has gradually weakened, heavy rains continue to hamper our partners in Chimoio district, who have already endured a wet season over the last several weeks. 

Roads to Thima and Dambaguru communities

WATSAN hygiene and sanitation training and pump rehabilitation teams have completely stopped work due to heavily damaged and muddy roads. Bridges have been washed away while power lines, taken down by the wind, have caused prolonged power cuts as providers struggle to get out for repairs. Beneficiary homes, typically made of mud and poles, have been damaged and need rebuilding. 

Victims are trying by all means to retrieve the materials which were wiped away… Houses which were destroyed by the cyclone are still in a bad state as they do not have enough funds to repair them while still anticipating another cyclone in the coming days. 


Many families spend the night of Saturday 23 January standing under the rainfall with their children. Their harvest, which could sustain them till the next harvest, was destroyed as well as their properties (blankets, clothes, chairs, kitchen utensils, domestic animals).


The Mozambique government has established accommodation centres in Manica and Sofala districts but so far:

…there is limited support from organizations and government. Only the local people with limited resources are supporting each other and rescuing others who are still affected by the cyclone… 

There are no proper hygiene and sanitation facilities in the evacuation centres, the possibility of having other outbreaks of diseases like COVID caused by poor H&S conditions is high. There is a great shortage of boats and people are struggling. The meteorological department predicts more rains with further flooding as the major dams are overflowing and  most of the rivers are already bursting.  

Fortunately, WATSAN team members did not face any significant losses or damages. The common problem was that rooftops were blown away.”


WATSAN, never one to accept adversity, is looking at using motorcycles as an alternative way to reach communities. Ongoing projects are at risk of delay as teams cannot get out to villages as usual. Motorbikes will help overcome these conditions, and maintain contact until the flooding ceases and roads restored.

Mutisse explains

To help us reach inaccesible communities, we are appealing for £2,744 , the cost of a motorcycle for our partners WATSAN.

(i) Source: OCHE report