Cyclone Freddy, one of the most powerful storms ever recorded in the southern hemisphere, has killed at least 190 people in Malawi, the country’s government said on Tuesday. The total death toll from the storm, which swept through southern Africa for the second time in a month, is estimated at at least 220, with the final tally unlikely.
On Monday, the Malawi Disaster Management Department reportedthat Tropical Cyclone Freddy killed at least 99 people. Tuesday’s tally nearly doubled to at least 190. 584 people were injured and 37 people are still missing.
The total death toll since Freddy first made landfall in February is estimated at more than 220 in Malawi, Mozambique and Madagascar.
Mudslides make it difficult to help
In Blantyre – a city particularly affected by the element – helping the injured and searching for the missing is very difficult due to persistent torrential rain, causing mudslides. – It’s a difficult operation. People are stuck in these mudflows,” said Estere Tsoka, an emergency specialist at the local UNICEF office. “People are trying to find a place to hide for a while,” she added.
There are moments that give hope. The child was up to his head in mud. It was calling for help. Although the water current was very strong, we managed to cross it and save the girl. It was very hard, but we managed to pull her out – said one of the participants in the rescue operation, Aaron Ntambo.
Another man, Robert Campbell, reported: “We heard the voice of a crying child: ‘Please, save me, please, save me.'” When we opened the door, we were flooded with mud. There was mud everywhere.
Tens of thousands of people homeless
Just before attacking Malawi, Freddy struck Mozambique on Saturday, wreaking havoc, ripping roofs off buildings and causing widespread flooding around the port of Quelimane. The full extent of the damage and death toll in the country is still unclear.
Alcidio Benjamim, head of the humanitarian organization ForAfrika in Mozambique, told Reuters that the provinces of Sofala and Zambezia were particularly hard hit. He said 22,000 people – about 4,000 families – sought temporary shelter in the latter province on Monday. – We expect (these) numbers to increase as access to certain areas is cut off due to flooding. Some vehicles cannot pass, he explained.
This is the second time the cyclone has hit Mozambique, having previously hit the area on February 24.
Reuters, Al Jazeera, tvnmeteo.pl
Main photo source: Malawi Red Cross Society/Twitter