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Record-breaking Tropical Cyclone “Freddy” left at least 582 people dead, hundreds missing

Record-breaking Tropical Cyclone Freddy left at least 582 people dead, hundreds missing

Tropical Cyclone “Freddy” has left at least 582 people dead and hundreds missing in Malawi, Mozambique, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, and Mauritius. The worst affected was Malawi where Freddy caused catastrophic floods, leaving at least 476 people dead and 349 missing, as of March 20, 2023.

Very Intense Tropical Cyclone Freddy has made history as the longest-lasting and highest-ACE-producing tropical cyclone ever recorded worldwide. The storm traversed the southern Indian Ocean for over five weeks between February and March 2023, leaving a trail of destruction in its path.

Freddy was the fourth named storm of the 2022/23 Australian region cyclone season, and the second very intense tropical cyclone of the 2022/23 South-West Indian Ocean cyclone season.

tc freddy track
Tropical Cyclone “Freddy” track — February 5 – March 4, 2023. Credit: Tomer Burg/troPYcal
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According to the Department of Disaster Management Affairs of Malawi (DoDMA), as of March 19, the floods caused by Tropical Cyclone “Freddy” have caused 476 fatalities, with 349 people still missing, 918 people injured, and nearly 491 000 people displaced across the Southern Region. A number of these displaced people are being housed in 533 accommodation centers.

86 fatalities were reported in Mozambique, 17 in Madagascar, 2 in Zimbabwe, and 1 in Mauritius, as of March 20.

At the time of the storm, Mozambique and Malawi were already grappling with a widespread Cholera outbreak, which was exacerbated by severe flooding.

The situation in Malawi is expected to worsen in the coming days, with the weather forecast indicating that heavy rainfall with locally very heavy rainfall is expected over the whole country within the next 24 hours. This will likely lead to further flooding and landslides, exacerbating the already dire situation.

The Malawian government has issued a warning to residents in affected areas to take necessary precautions and follow instructions from local authorities to ensure their safety. The government has also requested assistance from international organizations and partners to help mitigate the impacts of the disaster.

The Mozambique National Institute for Disaster Management said the fallout from the storm’s second landfall in the country was worse than expected.

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1 Malawi – Tropical cyclone FREDDY, update – DG ECHO – March 20, 2023

2 Over 480 fatalities, 349 missing in Malawi and Mozambique after floods caused by Tropical Cyclone “Freddy” – The Watchers – March 14, 2023

Featured image credit: Al Jazeera (stillshot)


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