Cyclone Freddy has dissipated over land in Mozambique and Malawi since late last week after killing hundreds and displacing thousands, a regional monitoring center said late Wednesday, although the risk of flooding in both countries remains.
The cyclone has killed at least 225 people in Malawi’s southern region, including the country’s financial hub Blantyre, according to local officials. Another 88,000 people are displaced. In neighboring Mozambique, officials say at least 20 people have died since the storm made landfall in the port city of Quelimane on Saturday night. With about 1,300 square kilometers still under water, more than 45,000 people are still hiding in shelters, according to the European Union’s Copernicus satellite system.
“There have been many casualties – either injured, missing, or dead, and the number will rise in the coming days,” said Guilherme Botelho, emergency project coordinator for Blantyre for Doctors Without Borders. Malawi, which is battling a cholera outbreak, is at risk of a resurgence of the disease, Botelho said, “especially since vaccine coverage in Blantyre is very poor.”
Cyclone Freddy rips through southern Africa killing hundreds, death toll expected to rise
The aid organization has suspended its outreach programs to protect its staff from flash floods and landslides, but is supporting cyclone relief efforts at a local hospital.
The UN weather monitoring center in Réunion said Freddy was initially forecast to move back out to sea on Wednesday, but has since weakened and is no longer classified as a tropical cyclone.
But even as the cyclone dissipates, “the emergency will not be over for many communities, as rain from higher reaches continues to flood low-lying areas in the coming days,” said Lucy Mwangi, country director for Malawi at aid organization Concern Worldwide “
“Even rich countries that are advanced democracies will be no match for the level of destruction this cyclone caused,” said Kim Yi-deon, a political scientist at the University of California Riverside. Freddy has accumulated more energy in its journey across the Indian Ocean than in the entire US hurricane season.
Yee Dion said the scale of the damage came despite Malawi’s disaster agency preparing and planning “for the challenges that come with our contemporary climate crisis”.
Scientists say climate change caused by most industrialized countries pumping greenhouse gases into the air has made cyclone activity more intense and more frequent. The recently ended La Nina, which affected weather across the world, also increased cyclonic activity in the region.
Lynn Chiripambari, who leads Oxfam’s Southern Africa humanitarian programme, said African countries, which contribute only about 4% of planet-warming emissions, “are once again paying the biggest price for climate change, including their own lives are also included.”
Cyclone Freddy has ravaged southern Africa since late February, ravaging Mozambique as well as Madagascar and the islands of Reunion last month.
Cyclone Freddy kills at least 44 in Mozambique, Malawi in southern Africa
“Freddie is quite an extraordinary weather event,” Anne-Claire Fontan, a tropical cyclone scientific officer at the World Meteorological Organization, told The Associated Press. “Its longevity, the distance it has covered, the number of times it has accelerated and the amount of energy it has accumulated over time is extraordinary,” he said.
He added that its second landfall in Mozambique “is explained by the presence of two competing steering effects. It is not rare.”
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Freddy first developed near Australia in early February. The UN weather agency has set up an expert panel to determine whether it has broken the record for longest-lasting cyclone in recorded history, set by 31-day Hurricane John in 1994. Was.
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