The death toll rises, locals collect pieces after Cyclone Freddy

BLANTYRE, Malawi (AP) — Authorities are still grappling with the extent of the destruction caused by Cyclone Freddy in Malawi and Mozambique since late Saturday, with over 370 people confirmed dead and several hundred still missing and tens of thousands were displaced.

On Friday, Malawian authorities said Freddy had killed at least 326 people, with 200 still missing. There are hundreds of evacuation centers for survivors across the country. Malawi’s President Lazarus Chakwera declared a 14-day national mourning on Thursday.

In Mozambique, authorities said at least 53 people have been killed and 50,000 others displaced since Saturday. The death toll is expected to continue rising in both countries.

Cyclone Freddy scattered across the country late Wednesday after making a second landfall in Mozambique and then Malawi over the weekend, wreaking havoc in several regions including Malawi’s financial capital Blantyre.

“Many areas are inaccessible, restricting the movement of assessment and humanitarian teams and life-saving supplies,” said Paul Turnbull, director of the World Food Program in Malawi. “The true extent of the damage will only be revealed after the assessment is complete.”

Both nations were already facing cholera outbreaks prior to the cyclone’s arrival, and there are fears the flooding could exacerbate the spread of waterborne diseases. Mozambique also struggled with Freddy’s first beatings and flooding earlier in the year.

Scientists speak of man-made climate change has worsened cyclone activitymaking them wetter, more intense and more frequent.

Cyclone Freddy has devastated southern Africa since the end of Februarywhen it hit Mozambique Madagascar and Reunion. it then dragged back to the mainland after regaining strength over the Mozambique Channel.

Freddy first developed near Australia in early February, and the World Meteorological Organization has convened an expert panel to determine if it has broken the record for the longest-ever cyclone.


Alexandre Nhampossa and Tom Gould contributed to this report from Maputo, Mozambique. Kabukuru reported from Mombasa, Kenya.


The Associated Press’s climate and environmental reporting is supported by several private foundations. Learn more about AP’s climate initiative Here. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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