The number of victims rises to more than 460
DThe unusually long-lived cyclone Freddy killed more than 460 people in south-east Africa. In Malawi alone, “more than 500,000 people” were affected by the aftermath of the storm UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Aid (OCHA) on Friday. The “record-breaking weather conditions” hit Malawi at the end of the rainy season, “when the rivers and other water bodies were already at high levels,” it said.
The tropical storm brought in the south Malawi in six days as much rain as usual in six months and left a trail of devastation. More than 183,000 people were left homeless by floods and landslides, according to OCHA. More than 300 emergency shelters have been set up.
Malawi’s President Lazarus Chakwera said during a visit to the disaster region that his government expects “the picture of destruction and death to get worse” as more areas become accessible. The army and police continued to search for the dead on Friday.
World Food Program (WFP) local director Paul Turnbull said the country will need “considerable assistance”. Chakwera called for international help. The UN children’s fund Unicef warned that the ongoing cholera outbreak in Malawi could be exacerbated by the aftermath of the cyclone.
“Freddy” had already hit the region at the end of February, but initially only caused minor damage in Malawi. The cyclone then returned with even greater force and more rain in a rarely occurring “loop path” over the Indian Ocean.
A total of 463 people have been killed by “Freddy” so far: 360 in Malawi, 86 in Mozambique and 17 in Madagascar.