Cyclone Freddy kills more than 200 in southern Africa
Xinhua 15 Mar 2023, 19:55 GMT+10
Tropical Cyclone Freddy has continued to cause devastation in the southern African region as the death toll from disasters such as flash floods and mudslides continues to rise.
BLANTYRE/MAPUTO, March 15 (Xinhua) -- Tropical Cyclone Freddy has continued to cause devastation in the southern African region as the death toll from disasters such as flash floods and mudslides continues to rise.
In Malawi, where the impact of the cyclone looks the most severe, the death toll has risen to 190 as more bodies were recovered Tuesday following the damages caused by tropical cyclone Freddy, which has now affected 12 districts and cities in the southern African nation, according to the country's Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA).
The DoDMA made the announcement in its Tuesday afternoon update, with commissioner Charles Kalemba saying 158 people have died in Blantyre, the country's commercial city, alone.
The tropical cyclone started to impact Malawi Monday after it entered the province of Zambezia in Mozambique Friday, causing flooding, mudslides and strong winds damages in Malawi's 12 districts and cities.
According to the DoDMA, nationwide, 584 people have been injured and 37 people reported missing, including three soldiers on a rescue team after their boat hit a tree and capsized. The updated report also said about 58,946 people have been affected, with approximately 19,371 of them displaced.
Fifty-seven camps have been set up to accommodate the displaced as rescue operations continue in the affected areas. Meanwhile, the government has extended the suspension of schools in the affected districts to March 17.
President Lazarus Chakwera cut short his visit to South Africa where he transited from the 5th UN Conference on the Least Developed Countries in Doha, Qatar, and returned to Malawi Tuesday. Upon arrival at the Kamuzu International Airport, the Malawi leader described Cyclone Freddy's impact as "saddening" and said he would visit the affected areas and people.
Teams comprising staff from the Malawi Defense Force, Malawi Police Service, Marine Department and Malawi Red Cross Society have been deployed to carry out rescue operations in the affected districts.
In Mozambique, Malawi's neighbor, at least 10 people have also been killed and 13 others injured during the second-time passage of tropical cyclone Freddy through central Mozambique over the weekend, said an official from the National Institute of Disaster Risk Management and Reduction (INGD) Tuesday.
Speaking to the press in Quelimane, the capital of central Mozambique's Zambezia Province, the INGD delegate Nelson Ludovico said that more than 22,000 people have been received in 35 temporary shelters and the total number of those affected could be much higher.
"We have 832 houses that were completely destroyed, and 1,050 houses damaged. We have 14 health units, partially or totally destroyed and we have nine impassable road sections," said Ludovico.
According to a report by Mozambique's state news agency AIM, the national electricity company EDM said Monday that the number of people deprived of electricity in Zambezia, Manica and Sofala provinces has risen to 116,000.
The EDM has teams working on the ground to restore the electricity supply, but the major obstacle faced by them is the flooding caused by cyclone Freddy, which has made parts of Quelimane inaccessible, said the AIM report.
Cyclone Freddy tore through Mozambique from Inhambane province on Feb. 24 for the first time, causing days of bad weather and leaving 10 people killed.
Local forecasts said earlier that cyclone Freddy returned and entered the province of Zambezia Friday, and could continue to affect the region with heavy rains until Wednesday.
In Madagascar, tropical cyclone Freddy, one of the longest-tracked tropical systems of all time, has also caused casualties since February as tens of thousands are displaced.