Roads were turned into rivers, and airstrips became lakes, while keeping dry was near impossible. Peace Park Foundation’s team in Zinave National Park battled Tropical Storm Freddy for more than a month earlier this year, keeping people and property safe as best they could.
PeaceParks.TV has chronicled the impact on the parks we support and local communities of this devastating tropical storm.
Cyclone Freddy first lashed Madagascar in February and maintained a course towards Zinave National Park in Mozambique. Teams on the ground prepared for Freddy’s unwelcome arrival by securing extra food and equipment, including first-aid kits, stretchers, life jackets, small hand-held radios, spotlights, ropes, and axes. Even when the storm hit, they continued their daily fence patrols to monitor any damage to the fence from fallen trees or flooding and conducted rigorous checks to ensure that the park’s infrastructure, such as the hangar and its aircraft, were secured.
The team maintained support efforts – during what experts believe could be the longest-lasting tropical storm ever recorded – by land and air to get rations to the worst affected areas, but rising water levels and saturated land made this much more challenging than anticipated. Getting in and out of Zinave was possible, but accessing Banhine National Park was extremely difficult, so rations had to be flown in by helicopter to support the team.
The heavy rains of tropical storm Freddy cut park staff off from outside help, leaving mechanics unable to access Zinave National Park to repair and maintain 4x4s and other critical equipment. The 4x4s were in serious need of repairs too, as they took a serious beating navigating the poor road conditions. Despite the obstacles, Peace Parks staff used their ingenuity and initiative to do the running repairs themselves until further assistance could be brought in.
More than 57,000 Mozambicans have been affected by Tropical Storm Freddy, and the impact on Zinave and Banhine National Parks and surrounding communities is still being felt in its aftermath. You can help our courageous team battle the aftereffects of Freddy by sharing this video update on Facebook with your message of support to the teams on the ground.