In Malawi and Mozambique, the longest-lasting tropical cyclone on record has left a trail of destruction and continues to cause extensive damage and loss of lives from torrential rains and strong winds. Cyclone Freddy hit Mozambique a second time on Saturday night and has before devastated parts of Malawi, killed at least 292 people in both countries, and left tens of thousands homeless. Dozens of people are reported missing.
Very heavy rainfall associated with the passage Freddy - after its second landfall on Saturday night - across central-northern Mozambique and southern Malawi caused severe floods and mudslides that resulted in casualties and widespread damage.
In Malawi, 225 people were reportedly killed, while 84,000 people have been displaced. The President of Malawi has declared a State of Disaster for the Southern Region. The disaster declaration is a part of an appeal for national and international assistance for the victims of the cyclone. Tropical Cyclone Freddy has created an unprecedented crisis in Malawi, a country that is already suffering from the worst cholera outbreak in its history.
The storm made its second landfall in Mozambique over the weekend, claiming the lives of at least 67 people, leaving more than 41,000 people homeless and affecting overall at least 220,000 people.
Cyclone Freddy is the most powerful and longest-lasting storms ever recorded in the southern hemisphere, according to preliminary data from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The WMO has set up an expert committee to evaluate whether Tropical Cyclone Freddy has broken the record. The storm has already set a record for accumulated energy, intensifying seven times since first making landfall on February 21 in Madagascar.
In Madagascar, at least 17 people died due to Tropical Cyclone Freddy and some 73,000 people have been forced to leave their homes, while nearly 300,000 people have been affected by the extreme weather event.
Although Cyclone Freddy has weakened to a low-pressure system in neighboring Malawi, more rains are expected in Mozambique in the next two days. Over the next 48 hours, very heavy rainfall is forecast over southern Malawi and central-northern Mozambique, heightening the risk of further floods and landslides.
As of today, Tropical Cyclone Freddy is dissipating and it is moving as a low-pressure area between central-northern Mozambique and the Mozambique Channel.
The full extent of the impact of the cyclone will be known when a full assessment is conducted. Mozambique in the past twenty years has been hit by seven high intensity tropical cyclones that left a trail of death and destruction. While the full humanitarian impact of the cyclone will only be known in the coming days, it is feared the immediate humanitarian impact and longer-term economic implications for Mozambique are enormous.
The country is one of the world’s poorest and least developed states. Mozambique is also considered one of the countries worldwide most likely to suffer severely from extreme weather events caused by climate change. People in the southeastern African state are living with the dual impacts of high climate risk and poverty.
Malawi, one of the world’s least developed states, is currently experiencing the deadliest cholera outbreak in the country’s history. The country is faced with a variety of natural disasters, including cyclones, cyclical drought, earthquakes, flooding, and severe storms.
Madagascar, among the world’s poorest states, faces several humanitarian challenges. The country is increasingly vulnerable to a variety of natural hazards, including tropical cyclones, drought, and flooding. In 2021, the country experienced its worst drought in 40 years.