Tropical Cyclone Freddy left at least 99 dead since landfall in southern Malawi on Sundayafter hitting Madagascar and Mozambique in recent weeks, Malawian authorities confirmed.
At a press conference in Blantyre (south), the commercial capital and second city in the country, the commissioner of the Department of Disaster Management Affairs, Charles Kalemba, confirmed that number, of which 85 deaths were registered in that city.
Besides, in Blantyre alone, 134 serious injuries have been recordedsaid Kalemba, quoted by local media.
According to the commissioner, some 4,000 homes have been affectedwhich is equivalent to more than 10,000 people.
These data are higher than those previously provided by the country’s Red Cross.
“66 people have died in Malawi, 93 injured and 16 people are missing due to tropical cyclone Freddy,” the Red Cross had stated a few hours earlier on its Twitter social network account.
The institution added that it is carrying out “search and rescue, first aid and hospital evacuation” tasks.
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Malawi President Lazarus Chakwera, who is on a trip abroad but will return to the country on Tuesdaydeclared a “state of disaster” in the Southern Region given the “devastation” that Freddy has caused in the area.
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Climate Change warned that the cyclone “will continue to cause torrential rains associated with gusty and strong winds” in areas of southern Malawi.
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Scheduled flights at the airport in Blantyre, the country’s commercial capital and second-largest city, were canceled and schools closed after flooding caused by overflowing rivers affected residential areas, leaving roads blocked and houses washed away.
According to the Department of Disaster Management Affairs, the cyclone could leave accumulated rainfall of between 400 and 500 millimeters in the south of the country within 72 hours, before losing strength on Wednesday.
In addition to Blantyre, flooding is expected in Nsanje, Chikwawa, Thyolo, Mwanza, Mulanje, Phalombe and Zomba districts.
Freddy is already one of the most durable cyclones and that it has carried out a longer trajectory in recent decades, traveling more than 10,000 kilometers since it formed in northern Australia on February 4 and crossed the entire Indian Ocean to southern Africa.
The cyclone made its first impact on February 21 on the eastern coast of Madagascarwhere nearly 300,000 people have been affected and a total of 17 have died after Freddy returned to the island on Sunday March 5, the United Nations estimated.
On February 24, the cyclone reached Mozambique, where ten people died, to which another died when he returned to the country at the end of last week, according to international media reports.
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Likewise, more than 170,000 people in southern and central Mozambique were affected by its passage.
As reported by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO)Freddy could have broken the record for the duration of Hurricane-Typhoon Johnwhich lasted 31 days in 1994, although the organization’s experts will not confirm this record until the cyclone has dissipated.
The spokesperson for this UN agency, Clare Nullis, assured last Friday that, although the impact of the cyclone in Madagascar and Mozambique has been “considerable”, the number of deaths it has left has been limited by the accuracy of the predictions. early weather.
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