Storm Freddy is over after six weeks. The probably longest-lasting tropical storm has killed at least 400 people in southern Africa. Mozambique and Malawi have been particularly hard hit. The storm has caused landslides and flooding. At least 180,000 people in Malawi are displaced.
Freddy was born off the coast of Australia in early February, “traveled” 10,000 kilometers across the Indian Ocean and crossed Réunion, Madagascar and Malawi by the end of the month.
After that, Freddy moved away, but last weekend the storm came back on land, which is highly exceptional. Again Malawi and Mozambique were hit, with wind speeds of 200 to 250 kilometers per hour.
Now, a few days later, the devastation is slowly but surely becoming visible. Some places have become inaccessible. The army is deployed to evacuate people.
Both countries are already battling a cholera outbreak, with 3,000 infections in the past week. Flooding increases the risk of cholera because the disease spreads through drinking and groundwater.
Although Freddy is over, the disaster area is still experiencing heavy rain and wind gusts of up to 140 kilometers per hour. The risk of further flooding is therefore still present.
Malawi President Lazarus Chakwera has declared a 14-day period of national mourning.
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