Death toll due to Cyclone Freddy rises


The number of people who have lost their lives due to Cyclone Freddy has risen from 326 to 438 in the country, The Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA) confirms.

According to the press release by the DoDMA, the department has received rapid assessment reports from 14 Districts affected councils namely, Balaka, Blantyre City, Blantyre District, Chikwawa, Chiradzulu, Machinga, Mangochi, Mulanje, Neno, Nsanje, Phalombe, Thyolo, Zomba City, and Zomba District.

Cumulatively, TCF-induced flooding, strong winds and mudslides have displaced 79,602, households (approximately 345,183 people) with 505 camps set to accommodate the displaced. The death toll has risen from 326 to 438; with 918 injured and 282 reported missing.

The department, humanitarian partners and councils continue to facilitate the provision of relief assistance to affected and displaced households, with search and rescue operations led by the Malawi Defence Force (MDF), the Malawi Police Service (MPS), the Department of Marine, the Malawi Red Cross Society (MRCS) and communities; underway.

The MPS has deployed sniffer dogs for search and rescue; and so far, they have recovered nine bodies in Chilobwe, Blantyre District.

The national interagency assessment team is on the ground to support affected councils with assessments to establish the total number of affected people and their immediate needs.

Following the declaration of state of disaster by His Excellency the President, Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera; foreign missions, governments, local and international organizations, companies and individuals of goodwill are providing various support towards TCF response operations.

Cyclone Freddy developed over the Indian Ocean more than a month ago, it dissipated this week, after making landfall a second time in southern Africa. It caused deaths across Madagascar, Mozambique, and Malawi.

The devastation was caused by severe flooding and landslides, which swept away roads and buried homes in mud. Power outages in Mozambique have affected small villages since last weekend, hindering rescue efforts as people await food and medical assistance.
Before Freddy, Malawi was experiencing its deadliest cholera outbreak, and it is feared flood waters could exacerbate the situation and reduce access to safe water and sanitation.

The World Meteorological Organization is setting up a committee to evaluate if Freddy has broken the record for the longest-lasting tropical cyclone. The index used to measure the energy released by a tropical cyclone, known as accumulated cyclone energy, estimates Freddy had the equivalent energy of an entire North American hurricane season.

In California, the relentless conveyor belt of “atmospheric rivers” has continued to bring deluges of rainfall. It was the 11th such event this year and resulted in further flooding and mudslides that left 100,000 people without power by Thursday.

A state of emergency was declared in 43 of California’s 58 counties, with 11 deaths reported. One positive aspect of the continuous heavy rainfall is that longstanding water restrictions caused by drought have been partially lifted.

In Peru, a state of emergency was declared as Cyclone Yaku caused widespread flooding. Torrential rains on Wednesday inundated several northern regions, killing at least six people, according to the emergency services. The cyclone is the latest in a series of heavy rainfall events this rainy season, which has caused 58 deaths in floods and landslides.

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