In Malawi, at least 40 people have been killed by tropical storm Freddy, which raged over the country last weekend, Reuters news agency reports. At least one person was killed in neighboring Mozambique. The AP news agency speaks of 44 deaths in both countries. Malawi police expect the death toll to rise.
Freddy made landfall in southern Africa via Mozambique for the second time last weekend. The storm is accompanied by heavy rainfall and devastating wind gusts. Wind speeds of 155 kilometers per hour have been measured at sea. In Mozambique, the storm disrupted transport and telecommunications services.
The Mozambique Disaster Relief Service had housed thousands of people in bomb shelters. When the tropical storm first made landfall late last month, it killed 27 people in Mozambique and the neighboring island state of Madagascar.
Aid organizations are concerned about the consequences of Freddy for the population. Malawi is still recovering from previous tropical storms, Ana and Gombe, that hit the country just over a year ago.
The region is also facing an “extremely worrying” outbreak of cholera, a bacterial-caused diarrheal disease, according to UNICEF. That outbreak is caused by poor water and sanitation, ongoing conflicts and the weak health system. The extreme weather conditions have further worsened the situation, says UNICEF.
Freddy probably breaks the record for the longest lasting tropical storm ever recorded. The storm has now lasted for 36 days. The previous record, according to the UN World Meteorological Organization, was a 31-day storm in 1994.
Storms are getting stronger due to climate change. They get their energy from the heat of the seawater, which is warming due to climate change.
- Cholera death toll in Malawi rises above 1,000
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