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Malawian Cyclone Victims Receive Support in Mozambique

Maputo — More than 900 Malawian families, victims of tropical cyclone Freddy, have taken refuge in Chissaua locality, in Mecanhelas district, in the northern Mozambican province of Niassa, where they are receiving support from the Mozambican government in an accommodation centre.

According to Jose Manuel, spokesperson of the Council of State Representation Services in Niassa, the province has offered shelter to 937 Malawian families, containing 2,459 individuals. He said that all conditions for the necessary humanitarian support have been created.

Cited by the German agency DW, the Permanent Secretary of Mecanhelas district, Leonardo Cefo, said that the district government is accompanying these families, giving them assistance, particularly foodstuffs (rice, beans, vegetable oil, sugar and salt).

“Water treatment kits have also been distributed’, he added. “Right now, more support is expected for these families. The situation is somewhat normalized with this support that the Mozambican government has given, because these citizens have not yet received support from their own country’.

The Mozambican and Malawian governments are working together to minimise the destructive impact of Cyclone Freddy. The storm hit Mozambique twice – the second strike, which flooded much of Zambezia province, was particularly devastating. But it was Malawi that bore the brunt of the cyclone, with an estimated death toll of at least 676, and possibly many more, since the hopes of finding more survivors in the flooded areas are remote.

The Niassa Council of State Representation Services also said that the cyclone affected about 16,000 people in the province, particularly in Cuamba, Lago, Mandimba and Mecanhelas districts. The provincial authorities are mobilising resources in an attempt to persuade victims not to return to flood-prone areas.

Jose Manuel said there were 47 known deaths in Niassa. 15 of these victims had drowned, ten died when their houses collapsed on top of them, and two died in fires. The other 20 died in the cholera epidemic that struck Niassa.

Manuel said the cyclone destroyed 4,266 houses and flooded a further 3,135. Freddy also affected 122 classrooms in Niassa, six health units, and about 1,300 kilometres of roads.

The cyclone knocked down 27 electricity pylons and swamped over 954 hectares of crops.

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