Thursday, March 21, 2019

Appeals Launched to Save the Dispossessed After Port City Flooded by Tropical Storm

Two Continents Hit Hard by Deteriorating Seasonal Weather Conditions
Shipping News Feature
SOUTHERN AFRICA – AUSTRALIA – Storm news dominates the lower half of the globe this week with the latest reports of an extreme weather 'red' alert for tropical cyclone Trevor, due to hit the Queensland ports of Weipa and Amrun, closing both, whilst on the opposite coast Western Australia braced itself for the arrival of Trevor's sibling Veronica, due to hit the ports of Dampier and Port Hedland.

All this however is nothing to the fate which has befallen Beira, a key supply point for freight and shipping services in Mozambique in what some have called the worst ever natural disaster in the Southern Hemisphere.

The Port of Beira has long been a vital link in the logistics supply chain which joins the Indian Ocean to the landlocked nations of Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi. Now that cyclone Idai has passed the area in the hinterland of the port is no longer dry land, but two vast inland seas, several metres deep and one alone reportedly covering in excess of 3,000 square kilometres.

The floods have ravaged three countries, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi, killing an unknown number so far, at least 1,000 it seems, but dispossessing tens of thousands and threatening the welfare of up to 2.3 million people. The threat from disease lurks as ever on the dark continent, and the race is on to try and save so many from the floodwaters and their after effects.

Military helicopters flying in from South Africa are busy trying to rescue the helpless from roofs, sports stadia, even the branches of trees, and estimates say over 15,000 are still stranded in Mozambique awaiting assistance. The 100+ miles an hour winds hit the country last Thursday and the resultant floods have swept away houses, roads and wrecked infrastructure including water and electricity supplies.

Unless aid agencies can mitigate the disaster thousands more could die, with Beira having only two days water available causing people to turn to unchlorinated well and flood water with its risk of contamination. 80,000 people have been left homeless in Malawi and the flood waters from there and Zimbabwe where hundreds are thought to have perished, are what rushed downstream into Mozambique causing such devastation.

Charities are launching appeals to try and resolve the situation as efficiently as possible.