Blantyre, Malawi — relentlessMore than 100 people were killed in a second attack in southern Africa on Saturday night, officials in the hard-hit countries of Malawi and Mozambique confirmed. The Red Cross on Monday put the overall death toll from the weeks-long storm at nearly 100, with several deaths reported on the island of Madagascar.
CBS News’ Sarah Carter said a state of disaster had been declared in Malawi, with officials saying at least 99 people had been confirmed dead since the cyclone first made landfall on Tuesday. Police spokesman Peter Kalaya said rescue teams were completely overwhelmed and residents of the affected area were forced to dig through the mud with their bare hands to find survivors.
At least 85 people were confirmed dead in Blantyre, Malawi’s largest commercial city, and schools across the country remained closed until at least Wednesday. Malawi fatalities include five members of a single family who died in Blantyre’s Ndilande township after Freddie’s destructive winds and heavy rains destroyed their homes, according to police reports. A 3-year-old child “trapped in the rubble” was also among the victims, and his parents are missing, officials said.
“We expect this number to rise further as we continue to compile national reports from police stations in the southwest, southeast and east covering the affected areas,” Karaya said.
The cyclone hit Mozambique and Malawi over the weekend and into Monday. it’s the second time– has been wreaking havoc in southern Africa since late February – has landed on mainland Africa.
The cyclone strengthened the record seven times and has the highest cumulative cyclone energy (ACE) ever recorded. Throughout his lifetime, Freddie recorded more energy than a typical US hurricane his entire season.
Freddy first occurred near Australia in early February and traveled across the South Indian Ocean. It will be the longest tropical cyclone ever recorded. The United Nations Meteorological Agency has convened a panel of experts to determine whether Hurricane John has broken his 31-day record set in 1994.
Freddy landed at the port of Quelimane, Mozambique on Saturday, and there have been reports of damage to homes and farmland, though the extent of the destruction is not yet clear. Infrastructure continues to be cut off, hampering rescue and other humanitarian efforts.
The regional tropical cyclone monitoring center of the French meteorological agency Meteor France in Réunion warned Monday that “the heaviest rains will continue for the next 48 hours” as Freddy continues to barrel. It has been identified by the Monitor as being particularly vulnerable to “flooding and landslides in mountainous areas”.
Much of the damage experienced in Malawi is in homes built in areas prohibited by law, such as mountainous terrain and near rivers, battling landslides, unprecedented flooding and breaching river embankments. The cyclone forced the government of Malawi to suspend schools in 10 districts of the southern region “as a precaution”.
According to Météo-France, Freddie has been weakened and is expected to return to the sea on Wednesday.
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/cyclone-freddy-path-malawi-mozambique-deaths-storm-africa/ Cyclone Freddy Destructive Path: Record-Breaking Storms Hit Africa Twice, Killing Over 100 People