Cyclone Freddy: Death Toll Rises to 326 in Malawi

BLANTYRE: Over 300 people are said to have lost their lives in the catastrophic damage caused by Tropical Cyclone Freddy in South Africa’s Malawi. According to the Department of Disaster Management Affairs, 326 people have died including 30 from Chilobwe while dozens remain missing as the cyclone left survivors trapped. As per media reports, at least 10 people died in Mozambique and 13 others were killed in Zambezia province as per media reports.

The Malawi Ministry of Natural Resources and Climate Change said the cyclone was “weakening but will continue to cause torrential rains associated with windy conditions in most parts of Southern Malawi districts”.

Rescuers were seen unearthing more bodies as the chances of finding survivors faded away after the cyclone followed a highly unusual course by returning to lash southern Africa’s mainland a second time. Earlier this week, rescuers were seen using shovels while searching for the people in the rubble.

At least 183,159 people have been displaced and 40,702 houses have been damaged. Malawi’s President Lazarus Chakwera renewed his appeal for global aid as rescuers continued to seek survivors on Thursday. More than 300 emergency shelters have been set up for survivors while emergency guards have been deployed to deal with crises. Two weeks of national mourning and a state of emergency have been decreed in the country.

The cyclone first struck southern Africa in late February, striking Madagascar and Mozambique but causing only limited damage in landlocked Malawi. After moving back to the Indian Ocean, it withdrew more power from the warm waters before making a rare course reversal to slam into the mainlanf for the second time.

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