Dozens killed as Cyclone Freddy slams Malawi and Mozambique
Cyclone Freddy has killed more than 60 people and injured dozens in Malawi and Mozambique as it slammed into Southern Africa for the second time in a month.
Freddy is one of the strongest cyclones ever recorded in the Southern Hemisphere and could be the longest-lasting tropical one, according to the World Meteorological Organization.
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It pummelled central Mozambique on Saturday, ripping roofs off buildings and bringing widespread flooding around the port of Quelimane before moving inland towards Malawi, where it unleashed torrential rains that caused landslides.
In Malawi’s main commercial hub of Blantyre, the central hospital had received at least 60 bodies by early afternoon on Monday, Marion Pechayre, Doctors Without Borders country director, told the news agency Reuters, adding that about 200 injured people were being treated in the hospital.
The injuries were from falling trees, landslides and flash floods, she said. “A lot of [houses] are mud houses with tin roofs, so the roofs fall on people’s heads.”
The Red Cross said at least 66 people in Malawi have been killed, 93 have been injured and 16 were missing.
Police said rescue teams were looking for people in Chilobwe and Ndirande, two of the worst-affected townships in Blantyre.
Later on Monday, the president declared a state-of-disaster in several southern districts including Blantyre.
President Lazarus Chakwera “has noted with grave concern the devastation that Cyclone Freddy is currently bringing to most districts… and declared a state of disaster in the Southern region,” the presidency said a statement.