After making landfall and causing severe damage in Madagascar last week, cyclone Freddy moved onto Zinave National Park in Mozambique. With the eye of the storm passing over the park’s headquarters and strong winds and up to 500mm of rain expected, the teams prepared as best they could for the wrath of Freddy.

Preparations in Zinave

Zinave’s Counter-Poaching team ensured the park’s staff and rangers were kept as safe as possible by securing extra food and equipment. This included first-aid kits, stretchers should there be any injuries, life jackets, small hand-held radios should communication be affected, spotlights, ropes and axes.

Having equipment like this on standby is extremely important as it will help rangers to assist the communities surrounding the park as quickly as possible

The eye of the storm

By early afternoon, the first rain had passed, and the team sighed in relief, thinking the worst was over. It turned out, however, that it was actually the calm before the storm. By late afternoon, Tiaan Kleinhans, Zinave’s Counter-Poaching Coordinator, reported that it was “absolutely pouring with rain!” Measurements indicated that more than 10mm of rain had poured down in less than 10minutes. Rangers on patrol quickly returned to base, soaked to the bone.

Within 30 minutes, streams were flowing around the control room, and the water levels started rising throughout the park.

Keeping a watchful eye

The next morning, Tiaan and the team headed out along the patrol routes to check for possible damage to the fences. He reported that the main road leading in and out of Zinave had turned into a river, making driving nearly impossible. As far as the eye could see, it was just water in every direction.

When the rain cleared, the team took to the skies to get an aerial view of the river and what a remarkable sight it was! It had burst its banks, and water was pushing down into the plains.

So far, no human or wildlife injuries have been reported, and the team remains vigilant to keep it that way.

Keep following Peace Parks TV for more updates on this developing story.