As many as 326 people lost their lives to Tropical Cyclone Freddy that hit Africa’s Malawi region while tens of thousands of people have been displaced from their homes, according to a CNN report acquired from the country’s Department of Disaster Management Affairs. Authorities stated that over 30 people from Chilobwe, one of the hardest-hit areas, have died and dozens remain missing as search and rescue efforts continue.
People could be seen on Monday using shovels, even bare hands, to search for the people in the rubble. Speaking to CNN, Dorothy Wachepa, a mother of four, said she woke up to a deafening noise ‘resembling the sound of an aeroplane.’ She said, “It was around 12 and I heard the sound accompanied by shouting from people upland.” What followed was a torrent of muddy water, accompanied by rocks and trees, sliding down the mountain. All her possessions were washed away.
“Everything is gone. I was doing a small-scale business selling vegetables because my husband died in 2014. I’ve been supporting the children from the little that I have,” she added, reported CNN.
PM Modi condoles the lives lost
Earlier, on Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his condolences over the loss of lives in Malawi, Mozambique and Madagascar from Cyclone Freddy. He said India stands with the people of the affected countries in tough times. On Tuesday, the Malawi Ministry of Natural Resources and Climate Change said the cyclone was ‘weakening but will continue to cause torrential rains associated with windy conditions in most parts of Southern Malawi districts’.
“The threat of heavy flooding and damaging winds remains very high,” the weather report said. In Mozambique, at least 10 people were killed and 13 injured in the Zambezia province, CNN reported, citing state broadcaster Radio Mozambique. Cyclone Freddy has broken records for the longest-lasting storm of its kind after making landfall in Mozambique for a second time, more than two weeks after the first.
Water-borne diseases expected to rise
Days after the cyclone dissipated over the land, the weather monitoring centers warned that countries are still vulnerable to flooding and landslides. Hundreds of people have been moved to camps but food and clean water is still scarce, said Andrew Mavala, executive director of the Malawi Network for Older Persons, with dozens of older people who don’t know how they’ll recover.
In Malawi and Mozambique, where cholera outbreaks were already ongoing when Cyclone Freddy ripped through, deaths from the disease and other water-borne illnesses are also expected to rise.
(With inputs from ANI)
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