More than 100 people have been killed in Malawi and Mozambique following Tropical Storm Freddy hitting southern Africa, for the second time in a month.
On Sunday, March 12, the storm struck Mozambique as a cyclone — for the second time in less than a month after battering the island nation of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean, causing severe destruction.
The continuing rain and strong winds have hindered overstretched emergency teams in the country’s central and southern regions, which are worst affected, Chipiliro Kalaya said.
“We have rivers overflowing, we have people being carried away by running waters, we have buildings collapsing,” police spokesman Peter Kalaya told BBC Focus on Africa radio.
Victims who were taken to a hospital in Blantyre had sustained injuries caused by falling trees, landslides, and flash floods, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) country director Marion Pechayre told Reuters News Agency.
“A lot of homes are mud houses with tin roofs, so the roofs fall on people’s heads,” she is quoted as saying.
According to the World Meteorological Organization, Freddy is the strongest tropical cyclone on record and could also be a long-lasting storm.
It has been difficult to determine the extent of the damage caused in Mozambique and the number of deaths as power supply and phone signals were cut off in some parts of the affected areas.
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The timing of the storm could intensify Malawi’s cholera outbreak, the United Nations (UN) and other agencies have warned, as the country battles one of its worst Public Health crises.
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Experts say climate change is making tropical storms around the world wetter, windier, and more intense.
Freddy had broken records for the strength it has accumulated over the 8,000-km (5,000-mile) path it travelled across the Indian Ocean from north-western Australia.
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