Cyclone Freddy hits again, kills 109 in Malawi and Mozambique

Tuesday March 14 2023
Cyclone Freddy in Quelimane, Mozambique

People walk along a street damaged by the impact of Cyclone Freddy on March 12, 2023 in the city of Quelimane, Mozambique. PHOTO | ALFREDO ZUNIGA | UNICEF VIA AFP


Tropical Cyclone Freddy — one of the strongest cyclones ever recorded in the Southern Hemisphere — on Monday hit southern Africa for the second time, killing 99 people in Malawi and 10 in Mozambique.

“In total, 99 deaths have been recorded with 16 people reported missing and 39 camps set,” Malawi’s Department of Disaster Management Affairs (Dodoma) said late Monday.

According to Dodoma’s Commissioner for Disaster Charles Kalemba, the reports further indicated that 300 households (approximately 1,350 people) had been affected, out of which 46 households (approximately 207 people) were displaced and sought refuge at Manja Camp and Naotcha Primary School.

Read: SA floods leave families homeless

Freddy is bringing torrential rains associated with gusty winds in most parts of southern Malawi districts.

The wind intensity is expected to increase, reaching 95 km per hour in some areas.


Rainfall to persist

Rainfall exceeding 150mm is predicted to persist mainly over southern Malawi.

As a precautionary measure, Malawi’s ministry of education temporarily suspended physical learning in the affected districts on Monday and Tuesday.


A general view of a collapsed road caused by flooding waters due to heavy rains following cyclone Freddy in Blantyre, Malawi, on March 13, 2013. PHOTO | AMOS GUMULIRA | AFP

Malawi’s President Lazarus Chakwera also said that he noted with grave concern the devastation that Cyclone Freddy was currently bringing to most districts in the country’s southern region and declared a state of disaster in the region.

According to local authorities in Mozambique, more than 250,000 people have been affected by the cyclone in the city of Quelimane alone.

“Mozambique port town of Quelimane, which was struck hard by the cyclone, has counted so far at least ten dead and hundreds injured”, its head Manuel de Araújo said on Monday.

In both Malawi and Mozambique, humanitarian agencies have appealed for urgent additional resources to respond to the emergencies.

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the UN and its humanitarian partners are working closely with both governments to respond to Freddy and a cholera outbreak.

Read: Malawi facing deadliest cholera outbreak

“The storm continues to break records as the longest-lasting tropical weather system in the Southern Hemisphere,” OCHA said on Monday.