The number of people killed by Cyclone Freddy in South East Africa is increasing. More than 500 people have been confirmed dead so far, including more than 400 in Malawi alone. More than half a million people were affected by the flood, according to a UN report, and the extensive flooding “restricts the movement of assessment and humanitarian teams and life-saving supplies.” UNICEF spokeswoman Fungma Fudong warned that the cyclone could worsen Malawi’s cholera outbreak.
Police and soldiers in Malawi searched the mud and rocks for the next day on Saturday for potential victims of Cyclone Freddy. Lieutenant Colonel Dickens Kamisa, who was involved in the search, told Reuters that local authorities had identified around eight areas where the mud deposits should be searched. Sniffer dogs were involved in the search. Many people remain missing.
The element that swept through southeast Africa last week killed more than 500 people in three countries. There have been 438 confirmed deaths in Malawi, at least 76 in Mozambique and around 27 in Madagascar, government figures show.
More than half a million people were affected
The number of victims is much higher. as reported in a report by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the cyclone “affected more than 500,000 people”. It added that more than 183,100 people had been displaced.
The same report states that many areas have become inaccessible, “limiting the movement of assessment and humanitarian teams and life-saving supplies.”
UNICEF spokeswoman Fungma Fudong said more than 280,000 children in Malawi are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance and the situation could get even more dire. “There is a risk that the current cholera epidemic will worsen, and children will be most vulnerable to this crisis,” she stressed.
President: We expect the picture of destruction and death to worsen
“We expect the picture of damage and death to worsen as more areas become available over time,” said President Lazarus Chakwera, who is on a three-day visit to the affected areas.
Malawi’s government has declared a state of emergency in the 10 southern districts hardest hit by the cyclone. A 14-day national mourning has been declared.
It moved for 35 days, hit Mozambique twice
Cyclone Freddy formed off the coast of Australia on February 6, then traveled 10,000 kilometers from east to west in the Indian Ocean to Madagascar before hitting Mozambique.
After that, it returned to the Mozambique Channel, and a week ago it made landfall again, once again in Mozambique, where it tore roofs off buildings and caused extensive flooding around the port of Quelimane. On Saturday, it headed inland towards Malawi, bringing with it heavy rainfall that caused flooding and landslides. Houses, roads and bridges were damaged.
In total, Freddy traveled over the Indian Ocean and South Africa for 36 days.
PAP, Reuters, tvnmeteo.pl
Main photo source: Reuters