Tropical Storm Freddy, one of the most powerful storms to have ever hit the southern hemisphere, killed 190 people in Malawi after ripping through southern Africa for the second time in a month, Malawi’s disaster management agency said on Tuesday.
The commercial hub of Blantyre was the hardest hit district and severe flooding and rains devastated roads and bridges, hampering relief operations.
Freddy has also left its trail of destruction in Mozambique after it made landfall for the second time over the weekend.
#Malawi is again being battered by a cyclone/tropical storm. This time it’s #Freddy. People are losing lives, homes, crops and more. Malawi is losing its infrastructure and picking up the cost of the #ClimateCrisis. Harrowing footage from Chiramba. Donate: https://t.co/KSDTMweoXl pic.twitter.com/aVSiG1PIVu
— Chris Bunn (@Chris_Bunn) March 13, 2023
The death toll in Malawi has jumped to 190 from 99 reported on Monday, the Department of Disaster Management Affairs reported. As heavy rains continue to batter the country, 584 people have been injured and 37 are still missing, it added in the statement.
Families in Blantyre were counting the cost of the storm as they waited to collect the dead bodies of relatives from the Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital mortuary. The flooding and rains have hit rescue operations and made it difficult to relieve those affected, aid agencies said.
“It’s a challenging operation in the sense that there have been incidents of mudslides and so people are getting stuck in those mud accumulations,” said Estere Tsoka, an emergency specialist at UN children’s agency UNICEF in Malawi.
Death toll from Tropical Storm Freddy rises to 190 people – Malawi department of disaster management pic.twitter.com/Qp5iOHdkhA
— TRT World Now (@TRTWorldNow) March 14, 2023
Freddy pummeled central Mozambique on Saturday, snatching roofs off buildings and causing widespread flooding around the port of Quelimane, before moving further inland towards Malawi with torrential rains causing landslides.
The full extent of damage and loss of life in Mozambique isn’t yet clear.