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Mozambique. A record cyclone made landfall. Hundreds of houses destroyed, floods flooded cities

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Tropical Cyclone Freddy caused severe damage in Mozambique. The storm caused numerous power outages and communication problems. The record-breaking cyclone is now heading towards Malawi, where final preparations are underway before the element hits.

Cyclone Freddy hit Mozambique on Saturday. As reported by state television, on the road storm Hundreds of residents had to be evacuated. At least one person died when their house collapsed under the force of the element.

No electricity or communication

The cyclone caused numerous material losses. In the Marromeu district, more than 650 houses were destroyed, while in the province of Sofala there was extensive flooding affecting 3,000 people. The storm also downed high-voltage power lines – the national electricity company Electricidade de Moçambique said faults in some cities had not been repaired until Sunday afternoon.

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– There was a very strong wind at night. There’s a lot of damage, trees down, roofs blown off,” UNICEF’s Guy Taylor said. “This is a large-scale disaster and we may need additional support.

After crossing Mozambique, Freddy heads to Malawi. The country’s department of meteorological resources and climate change said authorities were preparing for the storm on Sunday evening. Forecasts indicate that after passing through Malawi, the element will continue to move inland, slowly weakening. The storm is expected to dissipate overnight Monday into Tuesday.

Cyclone Freddy hit MozambiqueReuters/UNICEF Mozambique/2023/Alfredo Zuniga

Cyclone Freddy hit MozambiqueReuters/UNICEF Mozambique/2023/Alfredo Zuniga

Wreaks havoc

Freddy is one of the strongest storms ever recorded in the Southern Hemisphere. The phenomenon made landfall on Saturday late evening local time and immediately spewed out masses of rain.

– No shops or businesses are working. Everything is closed,” reported Vania Massinque from Quelimane in the province of Zambezia. – I see that some houses have their roofs removed, their windows are broken and the streets are flooded. It’s really terrifying,’ she said.

Interestingly, this is the second time a cyclone has hit Mozambique. An earlier event was reported on February 24.

Cyclone Freddy hit MozambiqueReuters/UNICEF Mozambique/2023/Alfredo Zuniga

>>> More about Cyclone Freddy’s journey: An impressive rally. The record from almost 30 years ago may be broken

Projected track of Cyclone FreddyJTWC

Long and strong

According to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), Freddy has been spinning for 35 days. The element broke the record for the longest-lasting tropical cyclone in history. The previous record holder from 1994 was supposed to hold for 31 days. There are many indications that Freddy has not yet said the last word. Because it moves very slowly, meteorologists do not rule out that it will gain strength if it only changes its route and is over the water again. According to the US National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration (NOAA), it is possible that Freddy will break another dangerous record – the highest accumulated cyclone energy in the southern hemisphere.

Scientists are sure that climate change is responsible for the intensification of hurricanes and tropical cyclones. As the average global temperature – and thus the water surface – increases, these phenomena become wetter and stronger.

It is estimated that over 171,000 people have already been affected by the consequences of Cyclone Freddy in Mozambique alone. More than half a million people are still at risk. During its 34-day journey, the cyclone has already claimed 27 lives – 10 from Mozambique and 17 from Madagascar.

Tropical cyclone Freddy in a satellite image on March 11, 2023earthdata.nasa.gov

Main photo source: Reuters/UNICEF Mozambique/2023/Alfredo Zuniga

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