One of the strongest cyclones ever recorded in the Southern Hemisphere hits Southern Africa for the second time bringing torrential rains and strong winds. Freddy could be the longest-lasting tropical cyclone, according to the World Meteorological Organization.
As of 18th March, 2023, 86,604 households have been displaced total 362,928 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) who are currently residing in 506 camps set up for those who have lost their homes and belongings, while 445 people have died, 282 are missing, and 918 have sustained various injuries. Public infrastructure such as schools, health facilities, and district and main roads have been damaged in all affected districts.
Malawi’s government has declared a “state of disaster” in the southern region of the country including Blantyre, Malawi’s commercial capital.
The country’s President, Lazarus Chakwera, “has noted with grave concern the devastation that Cyclone Freddy is currently bringing to most districts in Malawi’s Southern region,” a government press release said.
“Accordingly, government is already responding to the emergencies, rendering urgent assistance to all affected districts, and appealing for local and international support for all the families affected by this disaster,” the statement continued.
MALAWI RECEIVES YEAR' RAINS IN A DAY
The Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services says Malawi has received 200 millimeters of rainfall over the past 24 hours, enough for one year in a normal set-up.
MET Director, Lucy Mtilatila, told MBC (National broadcasting platform) that this is the first time in many years for the Southern Region to receive such volumes of water in 24 hours.
Very Intense Tropical Cyclone Freddy is an extremely long-lived, powerful, and destructive tropical cyclone which became the longest-lived tropical cyclone on record, surpassing Hurricane John'srecord of 31 days in 1994. It also has the highest accumulated cyclone energy (ACE) of any tropical cyclone, surpassing Hurricane Ioke's record of 82 and affected the Mascarene Islands, Madagascar, Mozambique and Malawi.
Experts says climate change is making tropical storms around the world wetter, windier and more intense.
PREVIOUS CHOLERA OUTBREAK IN MALAWI
Prior to Freddy's arrival in Malawi, the country had been experiencing its worst Cholera outbreak in history. Freddy's effects rose fears in the public that it'd worsen.
The cyclone has forced the Malawian government to suspend schools in 10 districts in its southern region “as a precautionary measure.”
Freddy is expected weaken and to exit back to sea on Wednesday, according to Météo-France.
Our thoughts are with all people in worst affected areas. Sending love to our fellow trustee, friends, volunteers and their families in Blantyre and surrounding areas.
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Lumi Education team