You are currently viewing Mozambique: Malawi and Mozambique Search for Survivors After Killer Cyclone Freddy

Mozambique: Malawi and Mozambique Search for Survivors After Killer Cyclone Freddy

Cyclone Freddy continued to wreak havoc in Malawi and Mozambique on Tuesday, with powerful wind and torrential rain. More than 100 people have been killed in what is shaping up to be the longest-lasting tropical storm on record, authorities said Monday.

Freddy, barrelled through southern Africa at the weekend for the second time within a few weeks, making a comeback after a first hit in late February.

Malawi bore the brunt, counting at least 99 deaths after mudslides washed away houses and sleeping occupants on Sunday night. Malawi’s commercial capital Blantyre recorded 85 deaths.

“We expect the number to rise,” Charles Kalemba, a commissioner at the Department of Disaster Management Affairs, told a press conference.

Another 134 people were injured and 16 are reported missing.

Residents used their bare hands to dig through the mud hoping to find survivors.

“The people are overwhelmed. The situation is very difficult,” said ambulance driver Honest Chirwa, adding rescuers lacked adequate equipment.

More than 11,000 people were affected by the storm, said the United Nations.

Fear of cholera

The impact of the cyclone has piled more woes on a country grappling with the deadliest cholera outbreak in its history, which has killed over 1,600 people since last year.

“Severe weather events such as these are likely to exacerbate the spread of waterborne diseases like cholera,” the UN children’s agency UNICEF warned.

President Lazarus Chakwera, currently in Doha attending a Least Developed Countries meeting, declared a “state of disaster in the Southern region” of the nation.

The government was responding to the crisis while appealing for local and international aid for affected families, his office said.

Malawi has ordered schools in ten southern districts to remain closed until Wednesday, with rains and winds expected to keep battering the nation’s south.

Second landfall

National carrier Malawi Airlines said all flights to Blantyre have been cancelled until further notice after an inbound plane ran into the bad weather and was forced back to the capital Lilongwe.

The country’s energy utility also warned that electricity generation would be unstable, as it would have to temporarily shut down hydropower stations to prevent muddy water from damaging turbines.